Expectations, resistance, and unfreezing

I have a confession to make. I have a love/hate relationship with fiction, especially recently.

I’ve had a story/character kicking around for a few years, have talked about it here, with others, part NaNoWriMo, trying to flesh out (and finish) this story. I declared 2014 the year I either finished the damn story or put it to rest.

I’m realizing that it’s not as easy as that, though.

I meet weekly with M. Fenn for writing dates, and rarely anymore do I write fiction. I want to. But I don’t. Fiction is not my easy go-to place. I feel out of place and uncertain in that world.

This past week, Beth wrote a post at her blog about fiction writing. And it hit something for me. It made me start thinking about fiction writing again. It made my fingers itch for words. Yet, there is still resistance.

Like I said, love/hate.

I’m also in the midst of a final paper. Basically, it’s about my career journey, how I found my way to my program, using some of the theory we’ve learned in class to frame it. And I realize that, in so many ways, this is the kind of writing that sets me on fire. It’s the writing that I’ve done for most of my life as a journal-keeper. The stories I’ve told were my own, as a way to make sense of my world. Throw in framing it through my academic lenses sometimes? Mmm, that often makes it feel more like home.

2014-01-19 20.30.31

I’m still thinking about how I want to deal with this, if at all. But, I find myself writing in my journal that I do want to show up on the page. I want to see what is there. Whether that is fiction or not, I don’t know. (I also recognize that I’ve been saying this a lot over the past year or two. Is there a difference this time? Who knows?)

But I realize that labeling the type of writing I want to do (fiction, brilliant, seen, good, non-fiction), the expectations those labels put on me means there’s more pressure to Get It Right. And the stories inside get stuck.

I’m tired of it. I miss the words, because it feels like it’s been a long time.

Heavy expectation do not allow me playfulness that any act of expression requires. I’m still thinking about how to lighten up, how to show up and allow myself the freedom to look a fool on the page.

Do you experience heavy expectation frozenness? If so, how do you (or might you) bring playfulness into your work?

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