I’m annoyed at myself right now. It’s just that my writing has been sub-par lately; at least, that’s how it feels to me.
It’s two things, actually. The first is, as usual, my book. I wrote nearly a whole new chapter last week, and last night before bed I read over it again, and it’s SHITTY. I can tell I am trying to rush the story along because I’m tired of the point of the story I’m currently struggling with… it reads choppy and it doesn’t feel authentic to two of my main characters that they would gloss over something potentially important in the way I wrote it. I just wanted to write a scene with a stupid airplane in it. And I did, but everything new that’s leading up to it simply doesn’t work.
I know what I did wrong, too. I wrote it in my living room with the TV on, where I was constantly distracted by not only the TV but my adorable but frickin’ annoying pets. (I don’t have regular TV on when I write: I turn it to a Music Choice channel… but if I hear a good new song, I find that I want to look it up online.) The cats want to climb all over me, and Hurley paces and whines and stands on my leg to get my attention. I’m going to have to start writing in my office with the door closed. Sure, they’ll all raise a fuss outside the door for a while, but I like to think they’d get the hint after a while and calm down.
The second writing-thing I’m not happy about is my humorous writing. I’m not doing it much at all, and I do have fun being that free and goofy. I’m like the last person on the planet to get into The Bloggess, but she’s really so good at what she does. She is weird and proud of it, and so very random and just the kind of person I’d love to hang out with in real life. I remember when I used to write my old blog, and it had an entirely different tone than this blog. I used to amuse myself with my own stupid stuff! It was nice to make myself laugh, if no one else. I miss it. So, I think I want to give it a shot again and just have fun. It feels good. And I do have piles of random thoughts in my head all the time… I might as well spew more of it out. I do it in spurts on Facebook and to a lesser extent, Twitter, but yeah: I think I need to focus on funny writing again.
The good news, I can perfect both of these writing ‘projects’ simultaneously, since they’re quite different but writing for fun is still writing for fun, and if I do one form of it, the other often follows. Any writing is better than NO writing.
I have to keep telling myself that, when I read some of my more shitty work. You can’t win ’em all, they say. No big deal. I’ll just go back and pick up at that last decent spot I left off, and write a more focused, honest scene that still gets me to the next half of my book. This is such an important transition in the story, I think I am psyching myself out and forgetting that I can just have fun with it. FOCUSED fun.
I need to remember the following mantra more often. It’s on the wall in my cubicle, but I think I need to post it at home, too:
Even though you have other things to do.
Even if it sucks.
Even though it’s hard.
Even though there are no guarantees.
Even if no one else cares.
Even though it’s difficult to be objective.
Even if you think you got it right the first time.
Even though you hate it.
Even if you’re sure it’s a waste of time.
Even if it’s to a small, non-paying publication.
Even if you feel you’re not ready.
Even if you hate rejection.
Even if you know you’ll never be accepted.
You’re a writer. Act like one.
You know what I don’t have? Photos of myself actually writing. I only have this one, and it amuses me greatly. It’s from the summer of 1988, I think. I was just starting to write my second book, Wounded Bird, on this vacation to Lake George. Someone in my family took this picture, and it really captured the grouchy essence of the teenage me. Look at that sour face! What a sullen little shit I was.
But you know what? I was WRITING all the time back in those days. Every single damn day. That’s how I finished my first book, and then that second book.
I want to finish stories again.