Does Fear = Lack of Focus?

Her mouth dropped open. She stared at him for several minutes before asking….Rrrow?

I ignore Ralphie weaving around my legs, angling to steal my attention from the scene I’ve been trying to write for half an hour. I realize I’m courting disaster. By not playing with him until he’s so exhausted he would ignore a live bird in the living room, I know what is about to happen.

…before asking…YOWwwww! Hissssssss!

“Ralphie!”  He trots over to me, tail in the air, happy to have my attention.  Rrrow?  “Stop picking on Emma, honey. Go find something else to do.”


…before asking…Grrrrrr!  Hisssss!  Ozzy takes a swing and Ralphie drops to the ground, baring his belly. Ozzy walks away with a look at me like, you either play with him or I’m gonna take care of business and you aren’t gonna like it.


I sigh.

Six hundred words is all I get written before I have to get Ralphie’s butterfly-on-a-stick so every other living being in the house can have peace. In fact, 600 words is all I’ve written in about a week. Certainly some of it is keeping Jack from ripping open his stapled stomach by jumping on the counter. Some of it is Ralphie. But there’s an awful lot of Julie just being VERY easily distracted. My husband watches a lot of auto racing on TV. I like to watch Dale Earnhardt Jr., but he watches races that I don’t know the first thing about. When I’m writing, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the most interesting thing I’ve ever seen. Programs like Mythbusters, for me, are like sitting next to Charlie Brown listening to the phantom teacher “Whaa whaaa, whaaaa, wha whaa.” Until I’m writing. Then I’m completely enamored with the idea of finding out if it’s really possible to “knock your socks off.”

I am a writer but I don’t want to write? Can fear be so powerful that it can pull you from what you love to what you don’t? I imagine Darth Vader…”the fear is strong in this one…” or Yoda…”write it, you must.”

People write historical fiction every day. One of my favorites is Charleston by John Jakes. He introduces us to several generations of the Bell family before, during, and after the Civil War. I was sad when the book ended because I was so attached to Alexandra, she felt like a sister. I would love to pick his brain.  Where did he do his research? How did he organize it? How much creative license is acceptable? How do I create an Alexandra that sticks with readers long after they’ve read my book? How do I balance writing with the rest of my life? How do I stop worrying about all of this and just write the story? Because ultimately, that’s what it’s all about.  Details can be tweaked and corrected, but without a good story, it doesn’t even matter. And that’s where the fear comes from. I can add historical details into my story, but is the base story strong enough to hold the reader? Nevermind worrying about being published; the scariest thing I can imagine is boring a reader.


Word count: 2923


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