Thursday, July 19, 2012
Sometimes I feel like a fool
Song I'm listening to right now: Set Fire to the Rain by Adele
Sometimes I want to be an accomplished writer so badly I can feel the strain in my veins. Everyday, there is nothing like the high I get off reading an incredible article or blog post that excites me about some aspect of writing or publishing. I've become such a book blog junkie because of it. Ask me the states about book sales last March compared to last year at that time, I know it. Where to find book recommendations for gifts? I know. What did Kurt Vonnegut say about writing? I'll show you.
I say all this not to brag because, frankly, it's common knowledge and there are millions of people more knowledgeable than I on anything I may think I know, but to wonder aloud if knowing all of these things actually helps or hinders when comes to the actual writing.
Sometimes I sit down to write and feel like such a fool. As though this vast knowledge is sitting on my shoulder and suddenly Stephen King's voice rings out: "description begins in the writer's imagination, but should finish in the reader's!" Bah, I cross out the few lines that are too telling. I scratch around a bit more then a list unrolls of the Top Twenty Beginnings Every Agents Hates and there is mine, number eight. Cross out. And on and on. Sometimes I wonder if knowing too much kills imagination. Actually, I think it does.
But there is the other side of it. Looking back on my old MSs and old drafts I am so glad there was reasoning that stopped me from continuing on in a vein that so did not work for that story. (Or, did I kill it before I had time to figure out what would have worked instead?)
Sometimes I want to be an accomplished writer so badly it makes my head hurt. Sometimes I have to dig deep in order to keep persevering. Sometimes I need someone to remind me that I CAN write decently. Sometimes I wish there was something else out there-easier-that happened to be my life's passion, something other than writing. Sometimes I wish all these nap times I give up, the staying up late while everyone else is in bed, the weekends spent in the library writing instead of playing would automatically translate to luck that slips under my door and breathes life into my pages guaranteeing the success of my hard-won novel.
But when it comes down to it, what matters most is the hard work I put into my novel. Then everything else will come into play. Maybe when I want it to, maybe later. Perhaps I've hindered myself by researching too much about the craft and maybe I've stuffed my brain with facts no one but a handful of others would be interested in knowing rather than absorbing the life experiences around me that would make my characters and situations better. But in the end I've got to believe that it will help me. That all these wrong turns where logic has dictated a better story has been for my betterment. That all these voices shouting out to me has helped and not hindered. I guess it's what I will keep telling myself until I publish or take my stories to the grave. Hopefully the first, and maybe then YOU can tell me if I am found wanting despite what I think I know.