Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gushing and Bashing Our Own Work

I'm on the first-draft of a new novel, and it's exciting times. 

As tends to happen to me at this stage, everything about the story feels fantastic. This is the most brilliant idea ever! The creativity surges and I type as fast as my fingers let me. My story is constantly on my mind and I want to discuss the concept with a Thinking Human... actually I want to gush about it to people (this doesn't happen because I don't tell people that I write. See HERE if you want the elaboration on that). I also want to show pages (I will regret this later if I do) and I want to write and write and write. 

I will put your minds at ease; this gushing phase will pass. As soon as I get to the end of the book (actually, if I stop the writing process at all and start going over my work), all my insecurities will join forces and stage a counter-attack. The beginning won't be right. This character is completely underdeveloped. That scene is so overdone! What's with all the passive voice? This story isn't ready to be seen. It's a mess! If I foolishly showed anyone pages I will regret it fiercely and hope they haven't gotten to it yet. I have officially gotten over myself and see that the book needs work. Tons of work. I want my story to be the brilliant gem I envisioned, so I get to revising. The honeymoon's over and I cut, promising my story that it's for its own good.

But right now, *deep sigh*, I love my story. I want to take it on long walks by the beach. I want to stay up late into the night, just talking. I want to wake up to blueberry bagels and spend all morning together in our jammies. My story is so dreamy. Right now, just being together is enough. Editing and revising and querying, oh those are future responsibilities... right now we're a couple of crazy kids having a good time, and I can't help but gaze into my story and think, "This time I've found The One!"

Am I the only one with a love-hate relationship when it comes to writing? Or do you love every second of the process? Or suffer for your art? Or have a realistic outlook from page one? How does writing make you feel?


  1. I usually write like a fiend for weeks until it's done and then... on the reread... fall in love with it. I go through a honeymoon period that usually ends with my proof-readers getting back to me saying, "I loved it... EXCEPT...." No matter how many times I tell them that constructive criticism will only be taken via email... they still call. Then, I send it out to agents or publishers, and I'm a wreck. I hate this feeling of exposure that comes with the process of writing.

  2. I know what you mean. It's like inside of me there's this fragile little being with no shell or protection... and I have to send this tiny thing out to be handled and judged by others who don't really know it or care for it at all!

    I need to do more revising. I think that might be the protective coating my small, fragile thing needs.

  3. I know exactly what you mean!!! Starting a new story is just like falling in love for the first time... again. I want to scream my story from the second-story window of my house, discuss it in the grocery line with perfect strangers, talk my neighbor's ear off with the details... but I hold it all inside and it makes me feel like I'm going to burst if I don't get it out on paper as soon as possible. And I know that it is THE ONE. Even the first manuscript I wrote (which was 650 pages of crap) was THE ONE. And, even though I know that first story will never see the light of day, I still LOVE it dearly and think about my characters. Ultimately, that new love feeling is why I write.

  4. LOL Bethany!! Maybe we're in love with the feeling of falling in love. And I LOLed againe at reading about your first ms. I have a 580 page novel of pure crap too! Oh gosh I feel better hearing someone else has a trunked novel that they still love even though it'll never, ever be sent out into the world :) Seriously, thank you for that :) :) :)

  5. Sometime I love it. I'm about 12k in to my current story, and up to half way through the most recent chapter, I thought it was great. If I could pull off writing it, telling the story this way, then it would be brilliant. And then I started doubting, and now I'm not s sure it's working. Oh well, just have to press on and see what happens!

  6. Hi Alison, congrats on having 12k written. I think that's the point when I a lot of writers give up or start a new book, so push through it and keep writing! Even if you have to skip a transition for now and get to the next plot point, you'll work it out later. Or at least, that's my take on it :)

  7. Great post D! I'm so happy that you're in love with your story! That's one of the biggest steps I think most writers miss! They think they have a great idea but aren't in love with their story! Which is a HUGE problem! So way to go!!! I hope the love affair continues for many more weeks =]

    I have a love-hate relationship with my manuscript. However, I think that's mostly due to never having the time to write! But in the end, I love it. Writing makes me feel so at peace, even if a scene isn't working and I'm getting stressed out about it!

    Good luck with your story! Good vibes coming your way!

  8. I think you're totally correct, Natalie. A lot of writers get really wrapped up in the pitfalls of querying and all that. I'm not saying it isn't part of the process, but the magnificent feeling of writing itself is also part of it, if we let it be :)