Thursday, August 19, 2010

process, process, process

For a long time (and I have no idea why I thought this), I believed that every other writer on the planet had an easy time of it. Words flowed from their minds right onto the page! They never had angst or self-doubt or bad days or moments when they seriously considered becoming a dentist instead. Everyone loved them, they got reviewed every place on the planet, their readings were packed, and every thing they wrote was lauded.

Now, of course, I know the reality is different different. Writers struggle. Readings of even famous writers are sometimes just the writer, the sales clerk and a man who came in from outside because it was too hot and the bookstore was air-conditioned. As a book critic, I know how space constraints dictate what to review sometimes. And I know it takes me an hour and a half into the writing before something clicks and my characters start to breath.

I know that some days are just awful and troubled, but I tell myself it's my subconscious gearing up for a more brilliant day tomorrow. (And sometimes this is true.)

I know it's ridiculous to be jealous of other writers, because really, it has nothing to do with me, and all it means is I'm avoiding the page. (And when the jealousy happens, I always zip off a congratulatory email to the writer, just to shine up my karma.)

I'm seven chapters (halfway!) into the first draft of my new novel, The Missing One (and I know the title will probably change), and I'm learning once again (because every novel is a new thing) to live in the mix of fear and angst and let's face it, downright bliss of writing.

Dental school? Not a chance.


Gina Sorell said...

Oh it really is a struggle sometimes! And you are right, the only thing that makes me feel better and helps ease the anxiety is to write, and re-write, and write some more.

Dori Ostermiller said...

Such a boost to hear your words, Caroline. I've had about 10 bad writing days in a row, and I keep slipping onto Amazon and staring at the writers whose books are doing better than mine, wondering how they do it and why it's so damn hard for poor me... Ugh. Talk about needing to shine up my karma!

So it's nice to hear that one of my favorite authors also struggles, also has days of wrestling with envy and sloth and self doubt and uncooperative characters, and all the other writing demons... Your blog is a blessing! Dori Ostermiller