Thursday, July 30, 2009

You Know What I Hate About Being a Writer? Writing.

First of all, I have to apologize for the silence here at the blog over the last several days. I kind of forgot that our usual main poster, Kelly, was still on vacation. Plus, I didn't have much to say about writing over the past few days that couldn't be summed up by the above subject line.

Normally, I enjoy my work tremendously. I love that my day job is basically getting to play pretend. Many days, I even love wrestling with words, phrases, clauses, etc. I usually don't complain about revision, either. I can even find enjoyment, many times, in publicity work.

But the last couple of days have been kind of hard. I think everyone who writes as a significant part of their life (or even who just wants to write as a significant part of their life) experiences days like the ones I've been having lately. Wherein, what I really want to be is a writer who doesn't have to ACTUALLY write.

A couple of things conspired to put me in this mood. One, I got the opportunity last week to step into a novel writing class for a friend who was off at a convention where she was up for an award. It was at the Loft, and it was great deal of fun. The students were engaged, and they thought my life was the bomb. They gave me a bunch of critique to do, which I can always fool myself into believing is writing work (when really, you know, it's not writing.)

Then, a few days ago, I got a spontaneous call from Wyrdsmiths' very own Sean M. Murphy who suggested that we should "hang out." I had a planned lunch date with another writer friend Rachel Gold, and the three of us ended up having a great time talking about writing, brainstorming stories in progress, and generally, as my family would call it "talking smart" in the backyard.

Talking about writing, IMHO, is WAY more fun than writing.

Especially when I got a rather lukewarm response from my editor about my current YA project. I'd sent her the first sixty pages, which is something, btw, that I never, EVER do, but she wanted fodder for cover art and... despite all those inner voices that screamed "noooooo, let no one see the unfinished rough bits outside of the sacred ground of writers' group!!!" I decided to send it anyway. I knew the piece was flawed -- I ended up with a talking cat for Chrissake -- but, the professional part of me wanted my editor to have a chance to direct the shape and tone, etc. of this novel because she's been very clear that there's "in-house buzz" over this project.

The writer part of me just wanted to be recognized for my genius.

Not to have to frickin' work for it.


And now, I find myself thinking, "well, I need to get to work." Meanwhile my wounded ego looks around and says, "Shiny!" to anything not writing related (even dirty dishes!) because I don't want to deal with the actual writing part of being a writer.

And, yes, I would like some cheese with that w(h)ine.


Bill Henry said...

I'm surprised to hear about the lukewarm reception for the YA project. I thought the early pages were quite strong. Stick to your guns, girl. It'll come out just fine.

Who doesn't love a talking cat, anyway?

Douglas Hulick said...

I tend to naturally lean towards "do anything but write" most of the time. The act iself is sometimes a pleasure, and there a certainly distinct moments when I am happy as a clam with what I am doing; but more often it is simply sitting in the chair and grinding it out, word after word.

Writing for me is work. I need to mentally clock in to get it done, and am happy like anything when I can clock out. This is why I can't lose myself for hours in the process like some other members of the Wyrdsmiths. For me, the best part of the process comes afterwards, when I have written and am pleased with it (more or less). But the writing itself? I can usually think of any number of things I would rather do than write; but I also know that I will not be nearly as happy or content with myself if I do not write.

For me, it is not the process that is the reward -- it is the feeling I get when I have put in the time and words for the day.

Oh, and I have some ideas about upping the conflict and tension (with a distinct YA flavor) in your first 60 pp, btw. :)

Paul Lamb said...

The pendulum will swing the other direction and you'll feel differently.

Shawn Enderlin said...

i'm sick to death of editing my book. wanna trade? ;-)

Christy Pinheiro said...

I love to write. All of it-- the entire process. Editing, I hate.

Jon said...

I'm just now trying to get back into writing new stuff each day, as edits have pretty much wound down on the old stuff.

It's hard, though, getting bac on track. For me, the hardest part is actually sitting down. Once I get that far, it usually gets easier, but man, some days, dragging myself over to that chair is work.

Have you tried a change in scenery? I find that sometimes when it seems too hard to sit in that dining room and work any longer, going down to the coffee shop works wonders.

Anonymous said...

I agree! Almost everything to do with writing is more fun than actually writing :)

tate hallaway said...

Bill, my editor mostly said what you guys did: it probably needs to start in school with some scenes and dialogue. I actually did some reworking of it on Thursday which made me quite happy about writing again.

It is funny how much ego is tied to how I feel about writing.