Getting There…

I’ve finished the rough draft of Fantasy Book 3 volume 1. This is going to turn into a three to four volume book, which is irritating to me, but necessary, I think. There’s so much that has to happen before I can jump into Book 4. How I’ve set up the storytelling in this world requires an unfortunate, but lengthy middle.

It’s a bit of a relief that I’ve gotten there, finally. It took three years for me to crank out the rough draft of the first third of this installment. The rough draft. Not the acceptable draft, not the one that I’ve gone over for logical mistakes and subtle tweaking to make the story flow smoothly. The rough draft.

My husband points to stress for why I don’t seem to be able to crank out a complete manuscript in a year.  Of course, everyone talks about how I’ve done this or that, how I’ve dealt with this problem or that issue. Real life has demands that must be met.

But it still feels as though I am lacking. Measuring oneself against the “Professional” yardstick is difficult, even at the best of times. Seeing all the ways you come up short can be devastating.

Taking so long to get through this particular book makes me question what skills I think I have. Switching to another genre at this point while sounding like a possible good idea, like a palate cleanser of some kind to brush out the cobwebs and look at things from a fresh viewpoint I worry would be disastrous. I feel like I’ve struggled so hard just to find the many strings and the best way to weave them together to make a vibrant tapestry of story, that I worry that putting them down, even in a “safe place” will mean I’ll never find it again.

I don’t know if you have this problem, but I know when I put something up in “a safe place where I won’t forget it,” I always forget where it is.

Right now I feel very uncertain about writing, generally. I still like it, I still want to do it, but I’m… I dunno. I’m not quite fired up on it. Once again, the reasons for “why” abound, but don’t really prove useful. You can only look at the same thing under the same microscope for so long before you can’t find anything new to examine and take apart.

I hope it’s just a phase.

 

 

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Elusive

I feel like I’ve forgotten how to write.

I mean, obviously, I’m writing this, so the technical skills are there, but the creative side of it seems to be eluding me for some odd reason.  It’s almost like I can’t remember how I used to put stories together in my head and then let them spill out through my fingers.  I swear that once upon a time it felt effortless, or at least there was a process that required some effort, but it was there. I knew how to use it, how to make things fit together and work.

Now it feels almost as though I’m blind and unable to generate ideas at all. I stare at a scene I’ve written and think: “Now what? How do I start another scene?”

It’s weird. And upsetting.

Some would say it’s because I’m stressed. Others because I set my pants on auto-pilot and hope I don’t need to change them partway through. There are the daily demands of being a decent parent, the worries of “what-if” and “when” and “how will I deal with” that have now become a constant background hum in my brain.

But still. Writing is a refuge for me. It’s a way to hide from the ugliness of real life where I get to play and set the rules and where *I*, at least, am not disappointed in how things turned out. It’s supposed to be the one place I can hide from reality. The one place that’s supposed to be… easier, I guess.

Now it eludes me.

And I find this very troubling.

 

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IWSG January 2018

IWSG Badge

What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?

Sadly, not many people ask questions, and when they do, it’s the same questions: What do you write?

I will say there are a number of things that I don’t like people saying about my writing. These things make my eye twitch and my blood pressure scream to crisis levels. Things like:

  1. “I liked it.”      Great. Why?      “I dunno.” ARRRRRGHHHH!!!!!
  2. “You should put my idea in here because I think it’s relevant.”      Your idea is also so tropey and overdone that used shoe-leather looks better. Or you haven’t read the story, so you have no idea what’s going and how your idea is totally irrelevant to the story. Or you want me to write your story, not my story, in which case, go to whichever Hell you find most uncomfortable.
  3. “I don’t like it.”      Great. Why?      “Because you’re not writing it my way.” GAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!
  4. “I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.”     You’ve had a year. Seriously?
  5. “Famous author XXX says all authors should do this or they’re crap.”     Great. Did you know famous author XXX’s style of writing was once considered so bad that there wasn’t a single critic who would recommend him?  Did you know famous author XXX still writes the same way and became famous because they blazed their own stylistic trail?

There are some things that people have said that I do like, such as:

  1. “I like how you did this thing here, and this is why.”
  2. “I don’t like how you did this thing here, and this is why.”

I suppose these nitpicky things aren’t terribly positive, awesome or useful, but there are what springs to mind with the question.

Check out the Insecure Writer’s Support Group to see more writers dish about their concerns, their solutions to various problems, or just general alektorophobia.

 

 

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Starting 2019

There’s actual snow on the ground.

I live in Colorado, and, sad to say, snow is a rarity anymore.

But even an inch  of snow on New Year’s Day is lends hope for the coming year. Misplaced hope, perhaps, but hope none the less.

2018 has been an eventful year. Some of it good, some of it not.

There’s been cataclysmic drama. Moments of truly relaxing peace and enjoyment. Terror about the what-ifs that is still going on. There’s been writing (a little). There’s been more crafting than writing (because it’s easier to put down a crafting project in response to “Mom/Hon, can you help me with XXXinsert item hereXXX?” than it is a writing sequence, especially when you get interrupted every 5 minutes).

I went to Iceland for Spring Break. I took the first steps of being a caregiver in a very minor role (I imagine that role will expand as time goes on, although I hope not). My hard won victory that I achieved three years ago of getting off my anti-depressants, a victory that involved a dietary overhaul and also had the added benefit of cutting my triglycerides down to non-drug management levels was completely and catastrophically reversed in less than 14 days (from noticeable onset of symptoms to full suicide ideation). The kids got older. My archery improved. I began writing again. I fell. I got up. I fell again. I got up again. I fell another time.

I’m still working on getting back up. Again.

I know I make fun of it with the “School-year Resolutions,” and I don’t normally do New Years Resolutions, because, well, it doesn’t seem to work. Maybe it’s the time of year, or maybe it’s just that I lack the discipline/desire to stick with it.

But this time I think I’ll post something in that vein of “This Year I’ll…” – in part because it’s something to post about, and in part because, well, I don’t know why. It certainly isn’t the “if you tell people, it creates a sense of accountability from yourself”  – I know for a fact that doesn’t work with my brain.

Goals for 2019

1- Acquire employment

This one is harder than it looks. I’ve got a ten year employment gap, which hiring managers keep telling me makes all of my previous experience “irrelevant,” but because 8 years of that previous experience was as a lowly civilian contractor file/shipping and receiving clerk on an Air Force Base, hiring managers also tell me I’m “overqualified” for entry level positions.

2- Write 3000 words a week

This is chump change for a DAILY writing goal for a number of professional authors, so I don’t think it’s impossible, just… difficult, given the current state of things and the fact that I’m a pantser.

3- Knock out some crafting UFO’s

I have a quite a few of these – some were just I lost inspiration and boxed the project up to finish at a later date, others were more of a seasonal or supply issue. I’d like to kill off a number of UFO’s this year, and do it as cheaply as possible.

4- Declutter a bit

I emphasize the phrase “a bit” because I live with two children and a man who insist on keep damned near everything, even if it doesn’t get used. Ever.

 

I’d like to finish the third fantasy book I’ve been working forever on. Then switch gears and move into another romance novel.  Then maybe back to the steampunk, although we’ll have to see how that works. Life being what it is and, all.

Perhaps find a “writing buddy” who’s schedule is about as wonky as mine, so we don’t get caught up in “OMG! we have to meet every Tuesday at 5pm! I have to get through writing this new section by deadline and have edits done for him/her at the same time! AAAUUUGGGHHHHH!”  More like – “So, does your schedule in two weeks have an opening or should we look further out?” kinda thing. I know writing is a solitary activity, but t’s nice to have someone to socialize about it with who isn’t a spouse.

I suppose we’ll just have to see what happens next.

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