I don’t remember the last time I sat around moping because it was Valentine’s Day. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say it was probably the last time someone made me help pick out flowers or a present for someone else and said something like, “Now which do you like best? If it were you getting this, what would you want?” because you know it’s got that underlying implication: “Wow, that sucks that no one is doing anything for you because no one loves you, but would you just mind pretending for a few minutes?” You know, basically rubbing salt in a wound (perhaps after peeling back most of your skin) before slowly dipping you into acid. BUT… even that hasn’t really happened in a while (the assistant shopper part… not the salt and acid thing).
Last week I was sitting at my computer. It was somewhere around 2 a.m., and I’d been looking at that stupid blinking cursor for about an hour, but I just couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to be writing. I was starting to get really tired and I asked myself, “Why does this have to be so hard sometimes?” Even as I asked it, I knew the answer. Nothing worth having is ever easy and sometimes it takes a LONG time. And then, in a feat of meta-awesomeness, I directed my thoughts at my own brain.
“And you. Why do you pull me in with all of these great ideas and make me feel like I’ve got something to work with before inexplicably turning on me and making me feel like I can’t do anything to please you?”
This went on for a little while longer whilst I wrote absolutely nothing. Just before I fell asleep, I scribbled “writing is a relationship” on a Post-It note and left it next to my computer. I fell asleep wondering what people would do if I changed my Facebook relationship status to say that I’m “in a relationship and it’s complicated.” They’d obviously ask, “With whom?” …because they all use proper grammar. “With writing,” I’d reply. Naturally, they would all assume that I’d really lost it this time. Even more so than when I created a Facebook account for my dogs.
I told you last week that I’d be back with new posts about writing. Lucky for you, I make good on my promises. I have this post to write now, and another one already working its way to the front of my brain. Look for it in a day or so.
A while back, I got all excited because I finished my novel. To be more exact, I finished the first draft of it. I had and continue to have the best of intentions regarding the editing process, but despite my initial enthusiasm and the purple editing pens that I love, I have a hard time getting myself to actually actively edit. I’ll go on editing sprints that span a few days, and then nothing for weeks. I just haven’t been able to find my stride with it. I had it printed and bound because I can’t edit directly on a computer screen. I need to flip back and forth between physical pages and put sticky notes all through it. I like being able to see what I’m changing. It’s helping me develop an eye for my own work, which is something I’ve always struggled with. It’s helping me gain more confidence in myself as a writer. It’s helping me understand Craft (with a capital C).
It’s making me hate my novel.
Recently, I was talking to a friend about this. He told me that he and other writers he’s talked to experience this. As they revise, they hate it less. I’m hoping this happens for me, because I’m starting to fear that I’m going to abandon my beloved novel. As soon as I write that, I know I won’t do it because I don’t typically quit that easily. I will whine and complain and bitch and moan about it to anyone who will listen. I’ll shed tears. And then I’ll stand up with Beyonce and keep on survivin’. Continue reading →
I used to take it pretty seriously, too, and while I’ve never been absolutely phenomenal at it, I’ve always been a decent writer at the very least. My whole life (okay, since I was two or three years old, but before I was even in pre-school) I have wanted to teach. The only other occupation that I even considered was one in writing, and I knew that it couldn’t be my only occupation. In addition to my teaching career, I had big plans to write a novel. But as Phil Collins would say, something happened on the way to Heaven. Continue reading →