Post-Vacation Thoughts On Writing

Hiya!
Today, I had planned on joining fellow writing buddy Michelle T in doing a weekly progress report. I was on vacation all week, but instead of writing up a storm like I thought I would, I did nothing! Well, not nothing, but you know what I mean. 🙂

There is so much I could say right now, but in an effort to keep this as short as possible, I’ll jump right ahead to the matter at hand and hope that it makes some kind of sense.

During vacation, I finally finished this amazing, amazing story, and per usual, whenever I read something amazing, I freak the hell out about my own pile of artistic crap. I’ve actually been freaking out a lot lately. A few weeks ago, I cried through half of Big Hero 6 because it’s so good I could hardly stand it.

To be transparent, yes, I’m comparing myself to another writer. Of course people say not to do this, blah, blah, blah. But it’s the only way I can see where I need to improve. Everything I write is crap, and that is going to change.

My first instinct is to crawl into a hole and stop writing. However, we all know I can’t quit (and we know because I’ve tried so many times I should be ashamed, only I’m not). I’m a writer. I just need to get over it and freaking own it.

Nothing will ever be perfect, I swear I understand this, but sometimes I just messed up. So, after analyzing several stories and giving myself a migraine, I decided to shelve everything. Yes. EVERYTHING.

Now, before you think I’m being irrational, though it’s possible, this is the reasoning behind it: I don’t believe everything can be fixed. Sometimes you just have bad seeds. Sometimes the problem is so deep that you have to trash everything about it and start over from scratch. Sometimes something is just off.

Let’s face it: being a writer sucks. If I’m going to continue writing, I might as well aim my stupid rocket at amazing and try to be one of the best. Why settle for being the best chef at a three star restaurant in a three star town when who I really want to be is Emeril!

Sure, it may never happen, but if that’s what I want, what I really want, then I can’t settle for the best that I can do anymore. My best isn’t good enough. I have to be like Batman in the Dark Knight Rises and just leap without any ropes: make it or die. Reach for something I’m not sure I can grasp. Otherwise, what am I doing? Why do I bother?

So, I’m shelving everything. Because nothing is good enough. This includes DISCORD, and in a minute, I will tell you why.

This doesn’t mean I’m not going to work on “Phantom Silence.” I’m really not sure this story is what I’m looking for; I’m stilling ruminating over it. But it’s been therapeutic. I feel like it’s pointing me in the right direction, if nothing else, and something in there is making me feel like myself again. I feel less…bitter, for lack of a better word. Less bitter about EVERYTHING in my life, not just writing. Whatever the “it” is that is drawing my attention to this story – that is the link I’m missing.

In any case, my point is, I’m not querying anymore and putting myself through that crap until I have something amazing. I thought it was enough to love the story. I thought I could make it through queryHELL with my sanity in tact if it was a story that I loved enough. But DISCORD makes me happy, and it’s beautiful, and I love it, and it isn’t anywhere close to being enough. I truly need to believe that it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. I need to be able to hold it up against the works of amazing writers without it losing all of it’s color, or I’m not going to make it.

Querying DISCORD turned me into an empty shell who felt nothing and didn’t care anymore. And not in a depressed person way. Like in a looking at beige paint way. You don’t even notice what color you’re looking at after a while. It’s just there. It’s just a wall. It means nothing. I truly looked at my writing and felt nothing.

So, I have a thought on what I can do. I won’t go into too much detail now because this is long and I don’t want to psych myself out or sound crazy or both. But I’ll tell you a little story and maybe it will make sense.

You’re on your writer’s path, and you come to a clearing. Branching off from this clearing are different paths which disappear into the fog. However, there is one path drawing you closer; it’s magnetized. It scares you. So instead, you forge ahead into the wilderness and cut your own path. But you get lost along the way because you don’t know where you’re going, and you have nothing to guide you. And quite suddenly you realize where the magnetized path was trying to lead you. Only now that clearing is years behind you. So you continue in the wilderness and aim your compass for the direction you think you need to go. And you start to make some progress at last.

However, you come to a brick wall. Where you need to be is just on the other side. But your criss-crossed path will only take you so far. You realize with some dread, as you stare at these bricks, that you have to go back to the clearing and fix the mistake you’ve made several years ago. You have to go back to that first story you went awry with and take it on the right path – the path that is still waiting for you, because it is your path.

I’ll be honest, what I really, really want to do is dump everything and start over from scratch. I want to delete all of my stories, the plot bunny field, the story graveyard, everything. I want to set fire to all of my composition books, delete all of my notes. But that would be rash. However, I must be onto to something because I can FINALLY sleep at night. And it’s been a really long time. ^_^

I realize this probably sounds like I’m having a dramatic reaction to something, but nothing of note has happened in the last few weeks. I’m just trying to figure out where I need to go from here and realizing that I have nothing to lose by taking my time and writing what I really want to write.

10 Responses to Post-Vacation Thoughts On Writing

  1. We can ONLY write what’s deep in our psyche and what we really want to write. And you know, as much as I want to get Pearl’s story out there, I’m apprehensive about it. I’m apprehensive about self-publishing it. But you know what? I’m going to. I’m about to send it to an editor and spend some time practicing how to format for Kindle because I really believe in this story and I’m still interested in that world and that time period.

    • Writing what we REALLY want is really the only way to maintain any sanity at all.

      I think it’s natural to feel apprehensive about something we’ve never done before. I’m excited for you. 🙂 AND looking forward to reading the final product on my kindle app! ^_^

  2. I’m not sure anyone survives the queryHell with their sanity in tact!!

    Sounds to me like the magnetic path that is calling you is the one you need to be following. Good luck.

    • Right! It’s so like me to try to find a way to survive. Lol! I will settle for just not falling apart. But I’m going to try this different approach. I’ve already started on something, because it was the first thing that came to mind. Might as well give it a try. 🙂

  3. So glad you are finally getting some sleep! Also, where did you go on vacation? I hope it was relaxing! And what amazing book was this that moved you? I want to read it! Now onto the bigger stuff, I totally know how you feel about wanting to shelve everything. I’ve been there too. So it’s good that you can just put it behind and start fresh. We all need that blank slate. I feel like we kind of went through the same thing. Finish a story, queried, worked on next project but didn’t come along the way we wanted, and now in a sense we are starting all over. It’s so scary and frustrating all at the same time because of the countless hours we put into it, but I think once we find the story that we really want to tell, we’ll fall back into the process effortlessly. When I think about M2, I sometimes felt I queried too early. But I also didn’t query that much. I just sent a few at a time but rejection count is still low enough that I can still query. And perhaps I will, but though I love the story so much, I don’t know if it’s ‘debut worthy.’ I remember reading an article from a published author who said she was glad that the project she loved most was not her debut because it wasn’t at its best yet, but when it was finally ready and published, it was her best work. So maybe stories are like wine. Some varietals need more time in the barrel then others. Anyway, I’ll stop my rambling. I hope you find that story that you want to write 🙂

    • Me, too! ^_^ I went to this tourist town in East TN, Pigeon Forge. I’ve been reading Four Past Midnight by Stephen King and had just finished Secret Garden, Secret Window. It was SO good. I can’t even stand it.

      You know exactly how I feel! It’s totally like I just want a clean slate without all that other crap on it, you know. And that’s what I’ve been looking for – a story that I can’t wait to write, as opposed to one I’m just dragging along with and forcing out. And I feel the same way about Discord that you feel about M2. I still love it so much, but I know it’s not the best that it can be, and I don’t know how to get there yet. Thank you so much for rambling! It’s always so helpful. ^_^

  4. *raises hand* I write trash too! I’d be screaming that even if I did hit the bestseller list just because I know that there’s writers out there (past, present and future) which are amazing, and I can never keep up with them. Not a chance. But do we have to? I mean, there are some super awesome books out there, and then there’s those which are not so super but everyone loves to read them anyway. Those make me sit back and go ‘huh’. And I realize that some of my stuff is just as good as those. Okay, I’d still die to be a Tolkien or a Tolstoy or any of those…I mean, I’d love to have half the talent in my pinky finger that they do. And that’s what we shoot for hoping that practice will get us there. It’s more a question of whether the writing is really that bad or if it’s the doubt monster getting to us. If I waited to toss a story out in the query trenches until I thought it was absolutely perfect, I’d never get anything out (I’m too doubtful of my own writing for that). But it doesn’t make sense to send out a MS that you know needs help either. If only there was a way to make everything clear, so we’d know all the answers. Good luck!

    • ^_^ You’re awesome. ^_^
      I have those “huh” moments, too. I just had one this weekend! It must be appealing in some way. But yeah, it totally doesn’t hurt to try and be amazing! Why settle? It can only make me better, I think. That is a question to ponder though: is it the doubt monster or is it truly crap? I actually wish I had a scale like on Willy Wonka that separates the good eggs from the rotten ones. Wouldn’t that make things easier?!

  5. Wow, I’m shocked that you’re shelving everything Krystal. Hopefully I’ll have something more intelligent to say once it digests, but for now I’ll just say that the fact that you’re sleeping better at night seems to reveal that this is the right decision for you.

    • Oh, I know. I felt like I wanted a “clean” slate, you know. I really liked the thought of not having to worry about anything anymore. As long as I considered certain projects “active” I felt like all I had done over the last seven years is just fail a lot. I was thinking if I let everything go, it would free my brain up or something. The project I was working on has been moving, but that’s probably only because I had a completed outline, so all I’ve had to do is follow. It hasn’t required me to use my brain much. I’m not sure I would be working on it if I had to think. I’ve had such a hard time focusing lately, I just wanted to everything off my plate.

Hi! ^_^