Wednesday, September 18, 2013

of brain pulp and distractions

"Writer’s block is a condition that affects amateurs and people who aren't serious about writing. So is the opposite, namely inspiration, which amateurs are also very fond of. Putting it another way: a professional writer is someone who writes just as well when they’re not inspired as when they are.” 
~ Philip Pullman, from Aerogramme Writers' Studio

In short: to be a professional writer, get over yourself and just write. Good or bad, let the words out and you can edit the crap out of them later.

"Making up a story—for me, an entertaining escape filled with humanity and romance—is at the core of everything. And it’s hard—so hard. Reading it over and over, researching, making changes, asking for advice, thinking till your brain hurts... Because it’s absolutely true: this is the place where I feel most powerful, most indomitable, and most satisfied when it works. This is the peace—when you know in your gut that this is fun, that you like doing it, that even if no one ever paid you, you’d probably do it anyway. And I also like that it’s hard! If it wasn't very hard, what would I be accomplishing? If it wasn't hard, anyone could do it." 
~ Robyn Carr, from Publishers Weekly 

Nice to know I'm not the only one agonising over this whole writing thing. Writers are strange - we put ourselves through this over and over again, even though we know how completely frustrating it can get putting a novel together, how much of ourselves we pour into the story, and putting ourselves at stake whenever we send out a novel, hoping and wishing and praying for it to be picked up by someone else who will believe in it. I'm not getting paid for this, and I'm trying so hard to get people to read my debut novel, and I'm still receiving rejection slips from literary agents. Yet, I am still doing this. Of my own volition. Because I get restless - my brain gets restless - when I'm not creating. 

My head has been feeling empty for the past few days, maybe even weeks. Because I still have no idea what I'm trying to write, or the story I'm trying to tell. I keep telling myself to keep it simple, stupid, but my mind just draws a blank after that and I feel like I'm squashing my brain to a pulp in order to get some juice out of it.

(I just Googled images of "squashed pulp", and the search engine vomited images that should not be viewed after breakfast. Or anytime, for that matter.)

Plus, the rejection slips are still coming in for BLOOD PROMISE. I feel like flinging something across the room and going, "Forget it, I should just give up on this story!"

But I can't. Because deep down, I still believe in it. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's mind-blowingly good, since I know what kind of mind-blowingly good books are out there (DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, hello?). But I don't think it sucks enough to warrant all these rejection slips. I believe it CAN go somewhere. CAN'T IT?!?!

*takes deep breath* 

Okay. It's all good.

At least I'm starting to receive feedback for 15 MINUTES (the title is surprisingly well-received), and editing the manuscript should keep my mind off the less-than-enthusiastic reception to BLOOD PROMISE. Again, thanks to my critique partners for answering all my questions with such candour and and for picking up on details even I didn't spot. Love you girls!

To end this on a positive note:

I'll find my way to the end of this new novel. Somehow. In the meantime, I shall go work on more short stories and play connect-the-dots, if you know what I mean.

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