Change is Feeling More Comfortable

I am a recovering control freak.

Whew, I feel better now.

Change makes things hard to control, so my motto was: “I don’t do change”.  I even joked about it.  Kinda ridiculous, right?  I mean, what else is more common than change?  It’s the only predictable thing in life.

But I fought it, clawing and scratching every step of the way.

While I don’t still feel that change is a roiling mass of evil, threatening life as I know it,  I haven’t jumped in with those sickeningly perky people who proclaim “change is GOOD!”,  either.

With the need for control and trying to keep life on the straight and narrow, that ugly specter of “Perfect” stuck to me like my own shadow.  Doing things the “right” way (the Perfect way), was the only way to keep things in my nice, neat box.

Yeesh, what a load of garbage!

It was a recipe for disaster, which is what my life became.  I’ve written about how I broke out of that debilitating mindset.  So I won’t repeat myself.

So I eased up on my deathgrip of control and realized change wasn’t poisonous.  Strangely enough, it seemed easier to accept change in the big things in my life:  Deciding to write.  Changing family traditions at holiday time.  Accepting that my kids are old enough to do more stuff on their own.  Opening up my writing to the public (aka “standing naked on my front lawn”).  Deciding to set aside writing my current novel and begin a new one.  Yeah.  That last one is what prompted this post.

Well, folks, change is happening – right here, right now.

Some of my fellow Sideways classmates have been following along as I wrote the first draft of my first novel.  While many of you wrote short stories, novels, etc. while taking the class, finished, and went on to revising, I’ve been struggling with getting even halfway through my story.   So I’m starting over.

The setting is the same world as my previous novel, but the events take place centuries earlier in time.  One reason for starting over is that, as I wrote my first novel, I realized the background events made a better story.  Most of my pre-planning is now complete and my understanding of the Sideways lessons has improved.  I was amazed at how much better I knew my story and characters this time around.  (I could never connect with my main character the way I needed in order to tell her story – I liked my minor characters more.)

I’m working on plot cards right now, so fairly soon I’ll begin the actual writing.  I’ve made the decision not to post my scenes this time around.  While occasionally a comment on my first draft would surprise me, for the most part I knew the problems with it.  Posting also became time-consuming because no matter how hard I tried not to, I couldn’t keep myself from doing a little polishing.  (Perfect reared its ugly head, of course.)  So – thank you!!! – to all those folks who supported me the first time around.

I’m taking that plunge into the unknown again.

This time it doesn’t seem quite so scary.


10 comments on “Change is Feeling More Comfortable

  1. Texanne says:

    This sounds like a wonderful breakthrough, finding out what part of your story really excites you and which characters are simpatico. And I totally understand about not posting scenes in first draft. We all tried that, didn’t we? And wore ourselves out, both as writers and as unofficial critique partners!

    Best wishes with the new work. Be sure to keep us posted at the forums, too! That’s the fastest way to keep everyone up to date, to get support, huzzahs, and advice. Woohoo!


    • ekcarmel says:

      What a relief. I thought I was the only one having a hard time gettin’ with the “posting my first draft” program. It works for Holly, but I certainly don’t have her experience to pull it off well.

      Yes, I need to get over to the Sideways forums. I’ve been neglecting them lately.

      *giggle* I LOVE the word “huzzah” – it’s one of my favorites!


  2. Diane says:

    Good luck with it.
    I have one novel (my first) that needs a whole lot of love and attention to get it anywhere near as good as the rest I wrote (not saying they are good, just the best I can do now), I told myself after I revise the rest, I can take the time to rewrite that first story using scenes as Holly taught, and conflict, and description, etc. 🙂


    • ekcarmel says:


      Sounds like you have enough to keep you busy for a while. And it’s good that you can see the improvement over time. I’ll be happy when I can get to that point.

      Good luck, yourself!


  3. Kerryn says:

    Hello from another recovering control freak. I was okay with change so long as I was the one initiating the change, aka in control of the change. Otherwise I continued to live in my world which was more than a little deluded where I was sure I could do everything I wanted to because I was in control. Ahem. Congrats on being to break free and embrace change, or at least shake it’s hand.

    That’s really exciting that you’ve found the way with your novel and could make the plunge to set one aside to drop back in time. I know how hard it can be to set aside a project that you’ve invested so much time in.


  4. ekcarmel says:

    Lol – I feel like we should have a 12-step program! Seriously, isn’t it amazing what we can convince ourselves of? The human brain is so scary and twisty. But then, that should work for us writers, right?

    I think if I had started a new story with a completely new culture and world, I would have felt like a failure. At least this way I can still use most of that worldbuilding I created. Plus, I might be able to go back to that first story line later and fix it up. It’s not like I got very far along. 😉


  5. Change is! Most people are afraid of the unfamiliar–change. We’re changing as I write–more wrinkles on the sly. Born as babies–change slowly into adults with many issues, afflictions, and addictions–without notice–where is the baby?

    I, too, am afraid of change, but it slapped me in the face. I realized it wasn’t change that I feared, but fear. I was miserable in a comfort zone with no comfort.

    Can you imagine living in a world without change? No computers! No Internet!
    Ouch! I can’t live without it. You’re right. It doesn’t matter what we call it as long as we face it.

    Thank you,

    Vivian Dixon Sober


    • ekcarmel says:

      It’s a vicious circle. Fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of fear itself. And you are right – that’s no way to live.

      Thanks for stopping by, Vivian.


  6. I had a similar experience with my first novel. If it is any comfort, I have to tell you that scrapping the first attempt and rewriting the piece saved the novel.

    I took a year off between my attempts. During that time, I wrote a second first draft in a genre very different from that of my first novel. The first was a post-apocalyptic dystopian setting. The second novel turned out to be a physiological thriller. Once that second novel was drafted, I studied a little poetry. (A new passion of mine.) The distance helped me to turn that first novel into a better work of fiction. Sometimes distance is exactly what we need to let the novel develop in the back of our minds.


    • ekcarmel says:

      Thanks, darksculptures, for stopping by. Any insight from other writers is immensely welcome.

      I believe that many of the writing rules and philosophies out there are good, however, I’ve discovered they need to be tempered by the writer’s needs and abilities and circumstances. Every time in my life where I’ve tried to follow a rigid way of doing something, it doesn’t always turn out well. So, I’m going into this novel with a lighter hand and with more of a sense of, oh, “exploration” may be a good word for it.

      And I’m really looking forward to it.


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