Wednesday, June 22, 2005

What Am I Doing?

Yesterday I hit a low. The kind of low where for a good long few minutes, I determined that maybe this idea of mine that I could ever be a writer was ridiculous. That maybe I should just throw in the proverbial towel, become an avid reader, change this blog to Confessions of a Reader and be done with it all.

I hit this low after staring at my screen at a complete loss on how to convey in words the story I have in my head. I became so overwhelmed by the task in front of me and so underwhelmed by what I'd already accomplished. Somewhere from Point A in my brain to Point C on the screen was a major road-block that I just couldn't figure out how to cross.

I'm not talking about a specific little writing problem, like "How do I show that Suzy is feeling sad?" I'm talking, how do I show Heroine A and Hero B falling in love? I know in my head that they are, but how do I write it such that readers can feel it as deeply as I do?

I have no idea.

And while mired deep in this frustration, I almost gave up. I asked myself who in the heck I thought I was fooling, thinking that I could ever be as good as all those who've published before me. What gave me any hope that I could take a diamond so rough as to be unreckognizable and polish it into anything at all that someone would want?

The thing that stopped me from erasing my entire WIP folder from my hard drive was remembering that if I don't write down these things in my head, no one else will. Just because I can't manage to convey them the way I want to doesn't mean they will stop haunting me.

Which lead to me remembering my pledge to write the stories I want to read. Don't worry about how good or bad they are. Don't worry how impossible it will be to ever sell them. Just sit down, every day, and pound out a little bit more. With this plan firmly in hand, I talked myself off the ledge.

How do you eat a grizzly bear? One small bite at a time.

1 comment:

Gabrielle said...

That magical way of conveying what's in your head to readers DOES exist, and it goes by one word: Revision. Don't worry about it now while you're writing. You're too close to it now. Just let the words flow. Yes, sometimes all you can manage is a trickle, and it feels like every word is ripped from you. Do whatever you need to do to keep your frustrations at bay. Take play days, read books that inspire you (while not comparing your work!), watch movies or TV shows you love.

This is a hard, hard gig, but that first act of writing is not the only chance you get to make your work meaningful. My fave, fave songwriter, Jackson Browne, even NOW revises or rerecords songs he wrote 30 years ago, just because what he sees and hears in them changes with time. We don't have that option but we DO have some time up our sleeves.

So, don't beat yourself up. I just read the commencement speech Apple's Steve Jobs gave to Stanford, in which his message was stay hungry, stay foolish and never compromise. He's got THAT right.