I think I'm losing my mind. The days are flying past and I can't seem to get my head out of this constant fog. I'm writing this beautiful story. I love it, yet I keep staring at it, tweaking words here and there, but not able to commit to the vision I see for it in my head. I know this story, front to back, top to bottom. And yet, every word is an absolute chore.
I've stopped talking to a lot of my writer friends. Not in a mean way, I still love them and would do anything for them, I'm just at a point where I don't need any negativity. Why then would I step away from the writing community? Because for as much they want you to succeed, there's always a bit of competition. If I say I find something difficult, another person will say they find it easy, as though I'm just not good enough. If I say I want to write something a certain way, they question my judgment and make me doubt my abilities. It shouldn't be that easy to make me doubt, but it is. If I'm having a rough day, then they've had a worse one. Commiseration isn't there, only competition. I'm not trying to "one up" anyone and am weary of those who do. So, I've withdrawn to perhaps two or three people whom I talk to on a somewhat regular basis.
Today is the day where we find out what changes life has in store. I'm so tired of being afraid. I'm so tired of worrying. Just tired. If I sleep, my dreams wear me out and I'm more tired the next day. Home is such a security. I never knew how much of one until that security was taken away. I don't know if I'll ever feel secure again.
I'll tell you a secret. Once you become a homeless person, you're not part of society anymore. You become invisible. People look through you and you let them, because you're not worth anything. That's their perception of you. It's an odd place to be, apart from society. I know that we had it better than a lot of other families, but it changed me. I still feel like I'm not good enough to have earned my place back in regular society. I don't know if I ever will feel part of it again.
I'll end this long post now. Sorry it's not very interesting. I've started about eight posts on this blog since the last one. I'm just going through the motions of getting through each day. Peace and love to you.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Let's talk about something fun. For this NaNo I've been working on a story that I originally started about two years ago. I loved the premise, but to say the plot was weak is an understatement. I kept writing though, thinking it would come to me. 563 pages later the plot still hadn't magically appeared. I stopped writing the story at that point, though I never forgot about it.
So. I started rewriting for NaNo, this time with a vague idea of major plot points. Twenty days in and I was doing good - before I realized I was writing the same story again. I took two days out of writing and wrote a one paragraph synopsis for each chapter until I reached the end of the story. It's tight. It flows and it doesn't stop - exactly the kind of story I like to read.
I started writing it yet again, this time knowing what was going to happen. I wrote the first line and then the first paragraph and then the first chapter. It felt different, right.
But then there's always those doubts that creep in. Was I creating the atmosphere I wanted? Did the tone I set convey that feeling of something just being a little off? Was it all in my head that this could actually be good? Am I using the correct pov and in the correct way? You get the idea. I started doubting myself and everything I'd written.
Writing is a very solitary business. I swore to myself that I wouldn't let anyone read this until I was done. Too many times I've gotten sidetracked by what others think I need to do. I don't want to do that anymore. For as many people out there who genuinely want to help, there are the same number or more who would like nothing more than to see you fail. For some reason, they see other writers as competition. That's stupid.
But I was desperate. I needed someone to tell me if it was shit or not (and yes, that's an official ranking criteria I ask my critiquers to use). I decided to ask someone to read my opening paragraph. Not just anyone, but someone who's seen my work grow. I have this friend. She's a wonderful friend and just a lovely human being. She's also an editor. She mainly works with magazines, but the ones she works for are known nationally and internationally. In other words, she knows what she's talking about. I try not to take advantage of her though. Her feedback is invaluable to me. I emailed her and asked her if she'd be willing to read the first paragraph. She responded instantly and I sent it out.
Within twenty minutes I had a response:
"I love it! I want to be there. I LOVE the pair of ocean/water metaphors at the beginning -- love it so much that I think you could benefit from playing it up even more. Like, maybe there's a stronger, more active verb or phrase that you could use instead of "...covered the..." -- one that conjures a more specific image? That's such a powerful beginning. So much awesome in this paragraph!"
Immediately after reading this, I almost cried. That's all I wanted to know. But then I started thinking about my first sentence that had the "covered the." I'd rewritten this sentence maybe five or six times and I knew it wasn't perfect. I took her advice and spent an hour rewriting that one sentence. I sent that one sentence back to her.
"Yes!! I think that's a big step in the right direction. Very distinct image, and just a little hint of creepy."
That was it. That is what I needed. She didn't tell me it was perfect, she gave me the nudge as to what I could do to improve it and I did.
Anyway, this is my attempt to not neglect this blog so much. I never know what I'll write about and didn't really intend to write about writing, but that's what I'm trying to focus on instead of thinking of other things. Hope love and happiness find you.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Anyway. I'm doing NaNo right now. I could use that as an excuse for why I haven't posted this month, but it wouldn't be entirely true. There are some things going on in my life that are beyond myself and beyond my writing. I feel like I'm dancing on a glass floor and a single misstep is going to send my world crumbling. I know it's coming and there's nothing I can do to prevent it.
It's hard living a life full of worry. It ages you. It turns you bitter. I try not to worry, but I can see the toll it's taking because sometimes there's nothing left but worry. The saying, "don't worry, be happy" is ideal, but unrealistic. I'm sorry that I can't choose happiness when someone close to me is facing a medical prognosis that's... well, not good. I wish I could say I choose happiness, but no. I worry. Everyday and every night. Which is why at almost five in the morning I'm up typing this after tossing and turning for a few hours.
People tell you to think positive. It's kind of funny. When I was laid off, people told me to think positive. When we were losing our house, people told me to think positive. When we camped out in a one bedroom apartment with no plumbing or electricity, people told me to think positive. When we worked through the summer to get the place livable and had someone belittling us and making life more miserable than it already was... yeah, you guessed it, people told me to think positive. I don't begrudge them saying that to me, what are they supposed to say? It's easy and supposed to be comforting, but instead, it makes you feel as though it's somehow your fault these things happened because your thoughts weren't happy enough.
I know people mean well when they say it, but it still sucks.
Is this a depressing post? Yes. Yes, it is. Am I sorry? No. I don't deal well with this kind of stress. I like challenges, like getting published or playing a game. But there are some things that come along in life that no matter how much you fight, how much information you have - you can't beat it. I don't like to lose. I withdraw and want to cover my ears and not hear anymore bad news. But I can't. I'm an adult now. I have to be stronger for my son and my family. They need me to be strong. Sometimes I hate being an adult. I'm not ready for this, but then, is anyone?
This is my place to get my thoughts out there and try to make sense of the world around me. I truly hope your world and your reality are kind to you tonight.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
― Grant Morrison, Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us about Being Human
Lately I've developed a fascination with superheroes and comics. For the longest time, my only knowledge or contact with superheroes was through movies or television. There was Christopher Reeves Clark Kent on the big screen and then Tom Welling's Clark Kent on Smallville. There were the various interpretations of Batman in the movies, but my favorite character of them all was The Joker as played by Jack Nicholson. I was supposed to root for the hero, but I liked the villain more.
The hero was always too perfect. Too good looking, too built, too rich, too everything. It wasn't appealing. I tried to get into the comic books, but didn't know where to start. So, as a teen, I wrote it off as not being for me. In 2000 a movie came out which made me reconsider. It was "Unbreakable," by M. Night Shyamalan. It was the story of a man, David Dunn, who was the only survivor of a train accident. The movie brilliantly shows his life as colorless, depressing, and lonely. You can just feel there's something missing until he meets a comic book store owner, Elijah Price.
Price has a rare disease that causes his bones to break very easily. His childhood nickname was "Mr. Glass," due to his condition. Price spent his childhood reading comic books and had a realization, if someone like himself was born so weak and helpless then there had to be someone at the opposite end of the spectrum. Someone strong who could help those in need - a superhero. I won't give away the ending, but if you haven't seen it, I'd highly recommend it. It really made me think about superheroes and villains in a whole new light. It definitely led to a whole slew of "what if" questions.
The world has no shortage of villains, but how often do we hear of the heroes? I'm thinking of the everyday person who does something amazing and no one ever knows who they are. What an amazing thing to believe that under the guise of a poor single mother beats the heart of a fierce, brave superhero. What about the homeless man shuffling down the street? What if it's all a cover to hide the cape? Impossible? Laughable? Perhaps. You can believe what you want. However, I choose to believe there are heroes and better yet, superheroes among us. What a boring world it would be without them.
Yes. This fascination also came about because of a story idea, which I'll be writing for Camp NaNo.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
So, it's been a long time since I've posted anything on this blog. I've been trying to be a part of and do something that's not me. I've been trying to fit in. It's kind of like being the new kid in school and you're welcomed into a certain clique. You're not fully comfortable and don't really feel you fit in, but you say what you know people want to hear, you commiserate about things you secretly find trite, you pump up your enthusiasm about things that bore you to tears in private. Why would I, or anyone, do this to themselves? Is it furthering my art or making me feel better about myself? The simple answer is no. I'm very unhappy because I'm not being me. I'm trying to squeeze myself into a mold which will never fit.
I want to be a successful published author. There. I said it "aloud." I know what you're thinking, so do a lot of other people - and you're right. I've got a ton of writer friends on Facebook and they all want to be successful and published. Looking at the feed on my wall is almost discouraging at times, but I keep pushing myself to better.
I want to write. However, I spend so much time worrying about finding good critique partners, critique groups, finding beta readers and getting feedback. I can't afford workshops, retreats, and writing classes and I worry this will affect my chances of being published. I read craft books and then panic that I'm not doing something right. Egads! I used an adverb in the first five pages!! I told instead of showed! My characters can't blink, shrug or sigh without making my palms sweat.
I know I'm supposed to have an online presence, but can't afford a website, so I have a blog, but I don't update it enough (yes, I'm talking about this one). Is my content relevant anyway? Is a blog good enough? I don't know. I once read an article with an agent that said the first thing she does for any potential client is Google their name. Ack! My pulse was racing. I have Facebook, Google+, Twitter and I write for two other sites in the hopes of getting my name out there. But is this going to be enough?
Sometimes it feels as though I've jumped onto a hamster wheel. I keep hearing that if I do things a certain way, I'll make it - maybe, possibly, eventually someday. I keep running, but I'm not getting much accomplished, because I'm trying to follow all the "have to's." So, I'm taking a flying leap off the wheel and into the stormy seas of the unknown.
I'm going to pursue publication my way. I'm going back to my writing. The statistics of becoming a successful author aren't great, not even good. If that's the case, then I need to enjoy the journey instead of worrying so much about the rules. If you can't disregard rules in art, then when can you?
Some people I know are probably shaking their heads in dismay(argh! another thing that sets my heart racing in fear - the dreaded head shaking by a character).
I've spread myself too thin. Now, instead of writing happily for hours, I'm constantly checking that I'm doing something correctly. Instead of writing what my characters want, I worry that it won't fit into the genre and an agent won't like it. Instead of following the story as I feel it should go, I'm worried about the three act plot, subplots, inciting incident, build up, climax, character arcs, etc...
The funny thing is, I know how to do this. I've been reading for more years than I care to admit. I know how a book should flow. I'm not saying it's going to be perfect, but it'll be fixable. I'm going to again start writing the stories I love.
I'm not going to turn this into a blog about my journey to publication - seriously, how many are of those are there? I'm not going to give writing advice. Why? Because I'm not qualified to do so. I can't tell anyone how to get published, because I'm not there yet. I won't be doing anymore book reviews, because I just don't like to do them. This blog will be about whatever I feel like when I'm posting. I'll try to update on a somewhat regular basis, but I'm not going to make any promises, because as much I appreciate you following me or reading me via Facbook and Twitter, blogging isn't my love - I'd rather be writing.