Today’s post is inspired by something I saw during a season three episode of Parks & Recreation: WORD CLOUDS!! ^_^
Recently, I had another writing meltdown. My sister gave me a pep talk and then sent me a motivational video on YouTube that night that I watched it in the middle of watching Beetlejuice. Somewhere in the days after that, and another silly horror flick from the late 80s/early 90s era, I reflected on another horrible meltdown I had that resulted in me writing absolutely nothing for two years. Sure, I thought about it all the time, but I wouldn’t even try.
Early in 2012, about a year after I started writing again, though I was still struggling to continue quite a bit, I had a general meltdown that resulted in me ripping my vision boards to shreds with a dagger (literally – like a crazy person). When the dust settled and I had calmed down, I told myself that I could be upset every day for the rest of my life over all the things I felt I had no control over. Or I could accept that my life wasn’t perfect and never would be and focus on the things I could control – like whether I continued to write or not. So I strapped on the heavy artillery and tried again because I’m a damn writer, and this is what we do. Since then, through some miracle, I have managed to pick myself up again after each subsequent episode of falling down on my face.
So, I didn’t make it into PitchWars for the second year in a row. Last year, it was fine because I didn’t want to change my story anyway. (Ha,ha) But really, I didn’t. #superseriousface This year, not getting picked meant that I wouldn’t be working on edits for a story I really do want to change and therefore wouldn’t have a good excuse to set my current work-in-progress aside. I was now forced to go back to what I was working on, and what I was working on wasn’t working!! Of course I didn’t want to admit that yet another story wasn’t working. Hence, I had a meltdown. Felt like a failure. Wondered if I should just quit forever.
Whether that story just needs more time or is never going to happen is yet to be determined. I have had to walk away from so many stories in the last year, but thanks to my most recent meltdown, I could finally see why.
I looked over the last several stories I had actually finished (in order from 2012): Stone of Darkness, Chains of Destiny, How Deep Is My Darkness, Discord, Raven (first draft only, but still)…kind of makes me look like I’m doing pretty well, right?
I didn’t see if that way. #pessimisticproblems I just saw the 9 or 10 other stories that had “failed.” Yes. I actually counted 9, but I might be forgetting one or two.
Being the professional over-analyzer that I am, I looked at the finished stories and asked myself what was so different about them. And yes, the answer was super simple: they all had endings that I was excited about, and they were ALL stories that I wasn’t trying to fit in any particular genre or category when I wrote them. I just wrote what I wanted to write, let the cards fall wherever, and worried about categorizing it later. It’s the only thing that works for me. The stories I couldn’t finish all have endings I can’t get to AND were all stories that I was trying too hard to fit in a certain category. ALL of them.
It’s okay if I don’t know HOW to get to the ending. It’s NOT okay if the path to the ending isn’t making sense or isn’t there. I can’t write like that either. There comes a time or thousand in your writing journey where a project in your arsenal will try to force you to work on it. Everything else will fail. Literally everything. Because the project is blocking everything else.
I don’t know for sure if that is what was going on. But I do know that at the same time I got my shiny new idea, I got an idea on how I can go about fixing up “Raven.” I didn’t really give it anymore thought, deciding I would just work on it later, but Labor day weekend I was in Hobby Lobby doing a tiny bit of early Christmas Shopping 🙂 with a friend and saw a wooden carving of a raven, and I swear, for a moment, time stopped when I picked it up for a closer look.
I still didn’t think about actually working on the story though, so that next Tuesday at work (last week), I spent half the day combing through too many other ideas looking for something with an ending that I could get to. At one point, I had a moment where I thought, maybe I should just stop running away from “Raven” and fix it already. After all, at least I know how it ends. And I LOVE the ending. It’s perfection.
But WHY was I running away from it if I loved it so much? Because it is paranormal, and I have been reading for three straight years that paranormal is dead and doesn’t sell. So I have been trying to write something else. I have been FORCING myself to write something else. I have even written paranormal stories and screwed them up by trying to force them to be something else. But paranormal is without a doubt my favorite fantasy subgenre of choice. There is only one story that I’ve finished in the last 10 years that hasn’t been some subset of paranormal and that is Chains of Destiny, and I still have no idea how I actually finished that story. Probably because I was so in love with the characters. ^_^
So, I was like, “Screw it. Just embrace it.” So, I dusted “Raven” off the shelf and changed the name to “Nevermore” as a shout out to the boss Edgar Allan Poe, and also because it fits. And I’m finally in editing mode with this story after literally spending the entire year shoving it into a corner. I have a lot more rewriting to do than normal, but it’s not as bad as I thought and I’m happy. It doesn’t matter what I do with it after I finish it. All that matters is that I don’t give up on it because I’m afraid it won’t go anywhere.
It’s so hard to write when you think your work is never going to go anywhere! It’s depressing. But that is never a reason to give up on something you love.
So, in case anyone noticed that my work-in-progress changed in the sidebar (for the millionth time this year), this is why. #crazywriterlife
NOW, word clouds. ^_^
I was really curious to see which words would come up the most often!
First up: Stone of Darkness
Next up: Chains of Destiny
Next: How Deep Is My Darkness
And last, but not least 🙂 : Raven/Nevermore
I’m sure Anastasia appreciates how often I’ve had to type her name. Ha, ha. And no, she’s not the main character in case anyone was wondering.
You know what I notice I seem the like a lot? Eyes. And like. And back, for whatever reason. I did tell it to keep out words like “the” and “and” so that is why stuff like that isn’t on there. Otherwise, those would probably be the most common words! 😀
I am super relieved “just” didn’t take over all the lists. I was worried! In case anyone wants to know, I used wordle.net, but I wouldn’t recommend it as it didn’t save the files into anything I could use so I had run everything through a file converter to get it on the blog. It wasn’t difficult, but still… 😐 Maybe I should have just right clicked. If you play with this and try them, DO NOT use their “save as png” option.
In any case, this made me really happy. ^_^