Saturday, January 30, 2016

Writing Update for January

I'm up to my head in intricate astralgic negotiations, summer rain forest season versus a volcanic winter, constant peril, and changing relationship dynamics. It's been a busy writing month. Sometimes I have to sit back and be still for a long time in order to digest the mad whirl going on in my imagination. It's heady. (lol) And while I'm trying to take it slow and in careful stages, I catch myself tripping ahead sometimes.

January has been a month of hard decision making. What to write, what to cut, what to change, what to insert, and what to rewrite. Oh, the rewrites! I groan as I realize I need to do it, I fight it, but I know that I'll always like the end result better than the original.

Save for a couple of these rewrites and one insertion, I've finished the first third of the book. The first third can be so exciting to set up the world for the reader, but also the most trying. It's all that introduction, first attempts and failures to be reckoned with. In a publishing time of slim mini-skirts, I'm attending the party in full 1700's ballroom regalia and I'll tell you what, it can be tricky navigating those narrow doorways in a crinoline. I trimmed back quite a bit this month and now find myself wondering if I've left too many holes and gaps. Parts of the story seemed skimmed over rather than fleshed out and it leaves me feeling wanting.

I'm writing an epic, I'm writing an epic ... (I have to constantly remind myself.) When I visit the library each week and glance through books I smile at the other epics on the shelves. They're my friends. They say it's possible and everything doesn't have to be in mini-skirt fashion. It's all about recognizing your genre and sticking to it.

I never used to suffer from so much hesitation and self-doubt until I became serious about publishing. Granted, I'm grateful for the research and feedback I gained, but I also gained a fear that never leaves my shoulder. It's easy enough to say, "Chuck it," to that fear, but once it's taken root you can't kill it. Fear that every choice I make is wrong. That despite how much I may like something I've written it will never be accepted by anyone else. I'm sure you know what I mean. If your reading this post, you're probably deep in the publishing waters and going through the same thing.

So I've labored with the fear on my shoulder, the ideas bursting in my head, and my emotions see-sawing between elation and dejection as I write and rewrite. Topping it off is a growing sense of isolation. To dive deeply into writing is to set yourself apart from others, and in my case, with the writing community. I pop up to the surface once in awhile to say hello or answer an email, but the overall sensation is that of sitting on a rock in the middle of the ocean while the party boats go by with their fanfare and camaraderie.

I have enjoyed my time writing and tend to lose track of the time and place when I'm in the zone. The great struggle to get the words down as they tumble out, to express emotions and places and events as they are in my head, I've loved it. Even as it has stretched me and caused me to lament at times.

I'm about a third of the way through the second book I'm simultaneously working on. That one has taken a back seat the last week since Trefury 2 needed more rewrites. When I get too bogged down or stuck in one world I have the other to jump into. Developments there give me a constant thrill as I work on it. The two main characters are very real and dynamic to me. Their worlds are so abstract and shifting I never get tired of settings. I know I'll feel a deep sense of loss when I reach the point of saying, "This one's done."

Do you ever feel the pull of several stories clamoring from their rough draft files towards you? I do. The more I work on one, the more I understand how they all connect and enhance each other. I thought writing on two books at once would calm the commotion. It did for a little bit, but the other stories are there, jostling for priority and position in the back of my mind, staring out at me from their 3-ring binder covers on my office shelves or their icons on my desktop. It's too much, yet I love it. How I ache to have the time, ability, and energy to write and write and write.

Common sense comes into play: "If you write all the time, Joyce, you will have no life to draw from. You love your life. You love the people in your life. Keep the balance."

So in the end, here I am, another tortured, artistic person striving to feed the creative beast, striving to be better as a writer, yet also trying to be the best and most well-rounded wife, mother, friend, daughter, neighbor that I can be. I wish I didn't tire out. I wish I didn't have to sleep or eat. There's too much I want to do and not enough life-time to do them in. At least the road is never boring or without drive and purpose.