Friday, August 7, 2009

The Writer's Crisis

It's like a midlife crisis, only it happens far more often.

Here's what it is: you came up with this idea. You teased it out. You wrote it out. You re-wrote it. You refined it. You lovingly crafted this book, or this story, or whatever, and suddenly...

You HATE it.

You begin to wonder if anyone will ever like or even mildly appreciate what you've written, because it's flawed, or unoriginal, or just generally oozing suckiness from every orafice. You doubt everything you have done in the past day, week, or hell, year. You consider giving up writing and becoming a potato farmer in Idaho instead.

Happens to me like...once a day. Right now, I hate TM. I want it to go suck an egg. I spent four days fixing it and trimming it down to 70,000 words and now I have lost sight of what made it so magical to me when I was writing it. I can no longer picture someone, an agent or an editor, sitting down to read it and going, " This is cool!"

And it's only 11.

Here's the thing: when you revise, you train yourself to look for flaws. And soon, flaws are all you see. And when that happens, the hate begins. But stop with the hate! Remember the awesome! Remember the awesome soon, before you get soundly rejected...because in all likelihood, you will. And when you do, you have to be able to believe in your work anyway, or you will never get anywhere. You won't be able to continue sending it out, and you won't be able to fix it and make it better.

I say that and it sounds so pessimistic, but it's important for me to remember. Rejection doesn't mean "your idea sucks. Your writing sucks. In fact, YOU suck. Do the world a favor and move to Siberia!" It means "No." Or "Not right now." Or "not for me." Or "needs work." And it'll happen. Because just as not everyone likes you, and you don't like everyone, not everyone will like your work. Too bad, so sad. Scoot along to the next person.

Good pep talk, V.

I need this pep talk because at any moment, someone will read my query or my partial MS. And rejection or acceptance are hurtling toward me any day now. I pride myself on my ability to keep my head on straight, but it's faltering right now. Someone send me stable thoughts.

I'm going to go have a chat with the BMU (Big Man Upstairs, aka God) and then get back to work. Diet book, anyone?


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