Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Am writing...erg....blergh...death

Writing this book is the most fun I have ever had, the hardest challenge I have ever taken. Some days I feel so exhilarated I cannot believe that I have bought into the high of this word-dripped drug. The other days I feel like I want to rip myself away from it, even if it severs vital artery and  I bleed to death.

Writing a book is hard. Writing a book is harder when you also have a career and are judging two literary contests and are committed to a lot of free-lance stuff.

Writing a book is hard when you are a book reviewer who reads carefully and speaks to books with authenticity. I am known for being a little outspoken on the book front and I have high standards. So, imagine, bloggies, the standards I place on myself: we be talking Empire State height.    And I try to avoid every pitfall I have ever hated in a book which means that my book gets so many re-writes in hopes of avoiding a black chasm of cliche doom that I cannot remember what is a cliche anymore and what is not.

Writing a book is an ebb and flow. One moment you are euphorically slipping down a rainbow of love for your characters and plot and the one time you spun in that sentence you don't remember writing and you respond:  I be clever, yo!   The next moment you are laying face down on your bed certain that you have 92 000 words of pure and utter trash ( there were 96 000 words of pure and utter trash; but you just JUST on your work lunch break snipped 4000.  You hurt when you did it... so you added them to the Deleted Scenes folder where all the lovely ideas-in-embryo go to languish in limbo, word purgatory, cutting room floor ).

I am on probably the 87 billionth draft of this book.  I am never satisfied with it and I love it and hate it and want to hug it and beat it up.  It ain't peachy.

If this book never gets published, I would still be devoting every single second to it, waking at 4:30 to scribble and second-guessing every second line, working my brain into a flurried frenzy so that I cannot remember what day it is but I have memorized that entire re-written paragraph in chapter III.

Writing a book is an obsessive pursuit.  You have to be willing to fall into it and it will, will, will consume you. Especially if, as for me, the book you are writing is the one true love of your life. These characters are my friends. More than friends. They are little Rachel niblits being flung into the wide world where they will be weighed and measured and evaluated and yes---even rejected.

And if you are not a writer you cannot understand. If you are an un-contracted author you wonder about the tangibility of it.  You worry that people will think it just a hobby. You worry that they judge the every waking hour and midnight scribble sessions and weekend-long revision jaunts just because you don't have a publication date or a  publisher.   If you are not a writer you cannot understand the mental platitude in which you reside. You only want to think about your book, muse about the book, create the book and talk about the book.  Rather like you are in a new relationship and you wait for a conversation interval to squeeze in your new beloved's name. No matter how inane or magnanimous, there is nothing but the book. The book is a living organism and in it are all the cells and veins and valves that pulse and beat and thrive. Book world is the best world.

But you hate it because what if book world is no good?

Agents say that the process on the road to submission is getting the book to the point where it is the best it can be.   My best on this book seems like a big, scaly cliff that one moment I haven't the momentum to climb while the next I have sewn two kites together and flung myself over it buoyantly and why hasn't someone sculpted a bronze statue of me yet?

I snatch out and put back in, I re-arrange and would bite my nails to the quick if they weren't painted in pretty shellac and I worry and worry and insufferably worry.

The hardest is the rather ironic juxtaposition of wanting to have more self-confidence while being scared of confidence.  As long as I have the self-confidence of a gnat, no rejection can really hurt me.  How far can I fall? I won't be ashamed. I never believed in that great of a thing for myself to begin with and I have realistic expectations. But, to be a writer is to be strong enough in your conviction to place the words on a platter and serve them plated well and with refined presentation.  You believe that they will reach the right, ripe palate.

And it is the cliche-est of the cliches, but some people liken it to family and I get it.  This is my book family and what if they are at their first elementary school track even and break the pole before they even get over the high jump bar?  What if all my ideas are void and the words I position in them the worst words possible: not, as Ms. Isnor McVeigh told me in grade 12 English The best words in the best order.

What if no one loves them ? My book people?  It is impossible not to take it personally as these book people are me.

The only thing is confusing, degrading, sickening, heartlessly soul-sucking, achy and blergh. BLERGH.

There is no winning to this.

And honestly, the back tension is killer. Right? right.

1 comment:

Melissa Jagears said...

So glad you read my book so I have you on my FB. You make me smile.

And I SO agree on keeping the confidence of a gnat, that is me. If I think rather dismally of myself, I won't be upset if everyone thinks I'm the worst writer in the world, and if they don't? I'm pleasantly surprised.

And I was just complaining to EVERYBODY that asked that this book #3 is DRECK, Pure and simple. I'm going to so fall flat on my face in front of the world because they bought this book, I have to give it to them and it is the worst thing I've ever written, I just want to get to *insert one of many other book ideas calling to me from the ether* and I don't want to write the ending planned, it's going to be horrible....

So, decided to replot sunbeams of brilliance shooting on paper once I drop a plot twist.....could it save my drivel????

I skim read book from beginning....this isn't. so. terrible. after. all, I mean, I smiled at that sentence, and did I actually write that in rough draft phase????

Today, I am good writer. *caveman grunt*

It's worse than PMS moodswings, I tell ya.