Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How does one eat an elephant?

The answer: One bite at a time.

That is the way that I feel about most things that seem huge and impossible to do. I just chip away at it until it's more my size.

It's exactly how I will get to finishing Doorways.

How do I slay the Beast? One word at a time.

I will not stay frozen in fear, wondering why I thought up the story in the first place. (Not for longer than a day, in any case.)

I will not disguise that fear by finding some other things to do instead...

And this draft will be finished at the end of April.

I will not be sitting with the rewrite for another year.

I must say that everything feels better now that I have done something to allay the uncertainty. Now, it's time for me to go face the beast for a bit.

In the mean time... Anyone else feel overwhelmed by their WiP's? What do you do to deal with it?


  1. Very nice post and very motivating. Best part for me was
    "How do I slay the Beast? One word at a time."

    Loved it.

  2. I'm always riddled with fear about my MS, and unfortunately it can be hard to shift. The only answer is to work at it, the harder I work at it the better I feel. I must remind myself of that!

  3. Totally! I like do something I call "chunking" -- whether it's with writing or real life! Sometimes you just need to take things one step, or bite, at a time!

  4. I get more worried when I'm not writing or revising, afraid I won't have new ideas. But when I have them, like now, I get frustrated because I can't type fast enough. I finish quickly, and then have to deal with the fear-of-no-new-ideas again. Best of luck, Misha--try not to doubt yourself! You can do it!

  5. I think 'one word at a time' pretty much nails it! That, and wine. :)

  6. Great advice! It's easy to look at all those pages and think how you can fix it, but if you take it a bit at a time, then it's so much easier to handle. I typically try to think in chapters and move on from there.

  7. Hi, just popped over from Brad's site. I have had a WiP for about three years, but life keeps interrupting. I so understand your previous post as well. I wrote and wrote for months, then stopped as I started re doing parts of it in my head, that internal editor shut me right down for the last six months. It did help me refocus on my poetry instead which is my main enjoyment in writing.

  8. NICE! i love this! i have a blogger friend who is just being sure to write 100 words each day (she often goes above that) and it's a great little bite to start with! great revelation misha! :D

  9. Ha! Love this post. Short, sweet, and motivates!

    The real question when eating elephant is red or white wine? I've heard they can be gamey ... :)

  10. Oh I loved this! I definitely need to apply this to my life right now because it definitely feels like I have way too much going on right now.

  11. One chip at a time, that's the best advice. Lots of times I feel like I can't do something - like finish chapter 9 - but if I just write one page at a time it will get done.

  12. My psychology professor loved that saying about eating an elephant. She said it in many classes.

    I love this quote: "How do I slay the Beast? One word at a time." Perfect. I'm going to post that over my work area. It can be applied to so many things...

    My work in progress is definitely in progress...only, it's not making much at the moment. Thanks for the encouragement! As long as I can write even one word, I'm on my way to slaying the beast!


  13. Great post and you have a wonderful blog. I am glad I now know about it.

    I am on the 6th draft of my first book at the moment (crazy, I know). I am busy editing it, a little bit at a time, but I am afraid to say...I try to avoid the whole editing thing at the moment. A sorry excuse for problem solving I know, but I keep finding things to change.

    It was nice meeting you and I will definitely be stopping by regularly.

  14. Lovely post Misha, well done! Look forward to many more. Good luck!

  15. If the wip misbehaves and stops me cold, I go around it and work on the rest until I'm confident enough to tackle the tricksy scene. By the time I get back to it my confidence is restored.

  16. I don't ever wish I'd never come up with the idea in the first place! I love that I came up with the idea, it's just sometimes the idea likes to get really really big all at the same time and I can't just do that. I just try, like you said, to take it a word at a time.

    But still, that's really hard when my head is yelling at me about how I should either already know everything or that I should be working as hard as possible on knowing everything.

  17. Hello fellow crusader, I'm revising a first draft as well. And it feels like it's taking so much longer than it should. And, when will it be done? Eventually!

  18. Panic and avoidance. Heh. Ah, I'm working through it, but when a task seems overwhelming I have a terrible habit of procrastinating. But I'm working on it, and will slay my own beasts eventually. I hope.

  19. You visited my blog today, so you know how much I can relate to this post! One word at a time, I like that! Good luck with it!

  20. one step at a time is the only way to approach a novel just because of the sheer size. It can easily become overwhelming otherwise.

  21. Sometimes. But, I do try to break each writing session into goals and sections. That way it doesn't appear so overwhelming. Plotting helps.

  22. Hi Misha,
    I have never been overwhelmed by my WIP. Of course, I keep my writing pressure free. I'm relaxed and just let it flow, when it feels right. If I ever felt overwhelmed, I would take time out and find other personal positive distractions.
    Maybe I'm lucky, writing is always a pleasure and never a chore.
    May you have a peaceful week and happy writing.
    In kindness and respect, Gary :-)

  23. I was writing the exact same blog post when I clicked over to yours! My story still fires me up so that I look forward to editing everyday, but I feel like it'll never get done. One page at a time, but why do I feel so rushed?

  24. Misha! Simply inspiring! I feel overwhelmed with my WIP, too! I'm in the editing process right now. It intimidates me, but I can only tackle it one sentence at a time. Why not? It will be so much better for it.

    I'm so glad I dropped by! *HUGS*

    ♥.•*¨ Elizabeth ¨*•.♥

  25. Hey! "Eating an Elephant" was one of the topics I had considered for the letter "E" in the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011 . But that's okay because I had already chosen something else.

    How do I contend with my WIP? The same way I eat an elephant. Sometimes I get too full and have to stop eating for awhile until I get hungry again.

    Tossing It Out

  26. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Talha. Thanks for dropping by. :-)

    That's so true Aine.

    That's a smart way to do things Samantha. I tend to want to get everything done yesterday. :-D

    That's a scary fear to have, Sarah. I can't imagine what it would be like to be left without ideas.:-)

    I agree, Jayne. Never forget the wine. ;-)

    Great tip, Cherie. Thanks. :-)

    Thanks for dropping by, Joe. I hate being shut down for that long. Because generally speaking all my writing shuts down.

    I'm glad that you liked it, Amanda. It's a nice complement. :-)

    Lol E.J. Red. Definitely red. ;-P

    Good luck Melissa! :-)

    I agree Patti. Every little bit helps. :-)

    Glad to help, Jen. :-D

    Thanks for the lovely complement Murees. And no, neither the drafts nor the avoidance are crazy. Been there. And I'm sane(ish). ;-)

    Thanks Janete. Welcome to the blog. :-)

    That's an interesting idea, Maria. Maybe I should try it. :-)

    I agree with you there, owl. Those thoughts suck.

    Hi Catherine! Good luck with your writing and thanks for dropping by. :-D

    I go through the same Faith. Good luck! :-)

    Thanks Nicole. Good luck to you too! :-)

    I agree with you there, Lynda. I'm feeling the burn right now. :-)

    Lol Clarissa, actually trying to plot my book will terrify me. O.o

    You're lucky, Gary. Sometimes I feel like my writing is a lot of work. Enjoy. :-)

    I feel that rush too, Deniz, even though I know that sometimes it isn't a good thing. :-)

    Thanks Elizabeth. *Hugs back* good luck with facing your beast. :-)

    Lol you know what they say about great minds... You're right... just because I have an elephant on my plate doesn't mean that I should kill myself trying to eat it. ;-P

  27. When I think about where I am in the story and the long road to where the story needs to go, it can be incredibly overwhelming. But I have to remind myself that I'll get there in time and that the journey is supposed to be fun.


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