Monday, June 28, 2010

Thoughts For Thought


I've been reading several writing themed blogs of late and a couple have peaked my interest enough that I've formed a blog about them. It's not going to be a happy-go-lucky blog (wait...have I ever written one of those?). It just is what it is.

The first blog is about the commitment it takes to be a writer. The willingness and ability to immerse oneself into one's work, the ability to believe in it and one's abilities to write it properly. You pour blood and sweat and tears into it. You open your vein, right? You just pour yourself onto the page.

Writing is a very egotistical thing. And yet, it's a business where you have to be able to stand unflinchingly in the face of criticism and rejection. I have one big absolute red letter failure on my track record where this is concerned and I hate it. I'd like to point out, for the 'what it's worth' column, that it wasn't so much about the criticism (except for that Jane Austen thing) as the, well, lack thereof. Long story that makes me incredibly cranky. If you've tuned into this blog for a while now, you'll know what I'm talking about. If not, you'll, well, it might suck to be you right now. Or maybe I'm overestimating the extent of your concern for whatever I'm blathering on about this time. Wouldn't be the first time.

Let's put it this way: I don't do well with the feeling that I've been ignored by someone who has chosen to make a commitment to me. Ask my contractors. Of course you'd have to get them on the phone first and good luck with that.

Oh hey, look at that. If you check your rear view mirror, you can see the original point I was trying to make.

Which was...which was what? Oh yeah, commitment.

I like to think I am committed. Or maybe I should just be committed. Maybe both. Anyway...

I am committed to my writing. I don't know how many times I've said this in this blog or in life in general but it's the first thing I think about when I get up in the morning and the very last thought in my head before I finally manage to fall asleep at night. I have notebooks upon notebooks devoted to my craft. I have a closet full of swords and daggers because in some of my novels my characters use swords and daggers. I also have a wall full of various holes and gashes but that's completely unrelated.

That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

I'm a method writer. I put myself through the paces. I act out scenes (with an audience of two never all that interested dogs) and spend a lot of time (probably more than is healthy) talking out loud to myself with some sort of bad British accent (because all my fantasy characters, save one, have a British accent, or at least an accent that sounds British).

Plus, I think it means I'm committed to my chosen profession when it's currently making me beyond miserable and yet I still can't bring myself to stop, to chuck it all and throw my energies into being the most perfect precision folder I could be (wait...I'm already the most perfect jeans girl in the world...how does one top that?).

But then again, I could be wrong. It wouldn't be the first time. This probably comes as a major shock to some of you. It certainly was to me. You get used to it after a while.

But once again, I digress. Hmmm...must be Monday.

I even put parts of myself into my characters. This is in reference to another writing blog I read recently which talked about the possibility of living one's life vicariously through our characters. At first I didn't really think so but my characters do have a much more exciting existence than I do (puppy class on Saturdays notwithstanding, of course) and they never have to precision fold anything. So maybe I do.

I know I inadvertently put my own personality (I know at least one of you out there right now is saying to yourself "She calls that personality?" And the answer is Yes. Yes, sadly enough, I do. ) into my characters. There's this one character, Catherine, who appears in Second Nature who, for better or worse, seems to have quite a bit of me in her veins. My excellent friend, Mike (the one with the misfortune of reading every damn draft of everything) made some remark about how Catherine was just like me. It was followed by this remark:

"She can be a real bitch!"

In case you were wondering, I didn't take offense at this. It made me laugh. It still makes me laugh.

What doesn't make me laugh is all the progress I'm not making. Sure, my word count is good but I don't know if those are the right words I wanted to have written. Then there's that whole "what do I do when I'm finished" problem I've been having. I like having a plan. I like having a course of action. Right now all I have is a big bundle of nerves over the possibility that when I do make a decision, it'll be the wrong one and a complex. Let's not forget the complex.

Please, family and friends of mine, concerned citizens and apathetic passers-by, do not interpret my lack of success as laziness. I really am trying to work this out, I really am trying to make this happen. I really want the über-sweet present from my ultra thoughtful brother and sister-in-law a reality. I'm just not getting anywhere with it yet. I'm treading water. A lot of water.

But at least my head's still above the water, right?

I will figure this out. Or maybe I'll just take the swords and daggers out of my closet and hide in there instead. If I don't show up for puppy class this Saturday, you'll know what decision I made...

Just teasing.

Probably.

One last thing before I go: this is something that occurred to me tonight while I was waiting outside in the knee high grass for the dogs to finish doing whatever it was they needed to do (you know, apart from 'what if there's a tick crawling up my leg?'):

If the definition of insanity that people like to bandy around is performing the same action over and over again expecting different results, what does that make me? Me who routinely prints up letters and envelopes and sends them out to perspective publisher and/or agents, always thinking that this one will be the one when that never seems to be the case.

Something to ponder.

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