Monday, June 6, 2011

talking to myself

i was reluctant to start this blog. almost as reluctant as i am to talk about the fact that i'm writing at all. nearly everyone i know is writing, has written or is thinking about writing a book. it's the trend du jour; some might think i'm just hopping on the bandwagon--maybe i am. i won't apologize for it; the fact that this bandwagon exists at all has been incredibly inspiring and motivating.

however, because there is such a widespread community in place for authors and writers alike, because there is so much information available... i can't help but always feel like i'm one step behind. as though this is a race and i am in last place. i know there are people like me out there who are just starting out, but though i am new to this online community, i don't know that i've ever read a blog detailing the early stages of the writing process. the conceptualizing, the brainstorming, the outlining, the 39057094760946 times you write the first chapter and realize that it's not where you want your story to begin. (just me? bueller?)

(i don't mean to say there aren't any, just that i haven't found one yet. link me, if you know of some? thankee.)

talking about it at this stage feels a little preemptive, as though i'm speaking out of turn or using words i don't fully understand. what if i fail? what if i decide in two months or two weeks or hell, two minutes from now that this is too hard and i'm just going to give up? for starters, it would be embarrassing--which i guess is part of the point in starting this blog: talking about it makes me accountable, if only to the anonymous ether of the internets.

do i really have anything to add to this conversation? probably not. my story is not unique--except to me. and though i'm not likely to forget the experience of writing this book if when i finish, i think a daily, tangible account of the journey is a story worth telling... even if the only one i'm telling it to is myself.


Ementior said...


I've been there. OH BOY have I been there. You were with me at the start of A and you stuck with me all the way through, and one thing I can tell you is that there are people (including myself) who will be falling over themselves to do the same for you. You're not behind, you're not in last place, you're not even jumping on a bandwagon, unless you consider it one that's been filling up by the millions since the written word was invented. No, you and I aren't first, but we aren't last, either. The landscape of writing and publishing is changing, eBooks are growing, but there's never going to be a time when there are humans on the planet but people have stopped writing the books they want to read. We're in the middle of a continuum, and I think we should consider ourselves LUCKY that we're writing at such an exciting time. More people are reading (thanks, JKR!) and we get to be part of that.

I'm JUST starting to brainstorm Second Novel, and plan to document a lot more of that process on the blog. We can do it together, yes?

I have all the faith in the world that not only do you have the ability to do this, you have the skill to do it well. When your book hits the shelves (as it one day will) I'll be first in line with my hard-earned to buy a copy.



Melissa228 said...

I could have written this word for word. In fact, last night I think I had the exact conversation with my husband. I've been working a project ongoing for awhile, but I'm hesitant to share with people that I'm focusing more attention it because it will look like I'm trend-setting. Although my husband told me quite bluntly, "Fuck them. This is about you. This is about what you've always done (write)" It still doesn't shut off the noise I hear in my head. The jibberish that sounds something like (which I know isn't just in my head, but what people would probably say) "Oh SHE is writing too?!?"

I have no idea where I'll go in this journey, but for now, I'm finding joy in doing it. I registered last night for a class at a Chicago writing studio being taught by a YA published author. While I know my stuff will be workshopped and critiqued, it's not taking away from what I know I will get out of it.

Do I not think I'm good enough? Absolutely. Do I think my story is unique enough for people to take notice? Probably not, but like you said, it is for me.

Maybe we shouldn't be so hard on ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Dude, do I hear you. I've wanted to write a book since I was nine. But seeing this resurgence of writers (or maybe I'm only just becoming aware of them?) keeps my mouth closed. It feels like bandwagon hopping. Like another sheep falling off the cliff. Because they don't know. They don't know how long this has been a part of me. And I suppose they never will if I continue to keep my mouth shut.

But yeah. I get ya.

Rebekah said...

Here's my expert "I've been a professional author for a hot six months so i know everything" two cents.

1. The biggest mistake you can make is comparing yourself to other writers/authors in terms of your skill and craft. Read and study and write to improve your story telling. Ask questions when you need to, but comparison will drive you nuts. I've entered the world of the vampire series. A million people write about vampires and a bunch of those people do it extremely well. If I started comparing myself to Anne Rice, I might as well leap off a building right this minute. I have to write what I write well and I can't do anything beyond that. Trying will just make you crazy.

2. Commit to it. If you want to be an author, finish something. I cannot stress that enough. You don't finish, you have nothing to sell and you'll be in that group of people who just talk about writing. Even if you write 2,000 pages, if that 2000th page doesn't have the words "THE END" so where on the page, you're not going to move beyond simply pumping out words.

I haven't read much on the early stages of the writing process either and I think that's because people blog in the moment. I didn't start my blog until my book was finished and even when I started my second book I didn't blog about my writing process because I was busy writing my book. Most authors talk about their life around their writing. Most writing professors talk about the writing process. (that kind of made sense to me) If you're passionate about your story and your patient, you can make it through.

3. If you are writing to sell, write to sell, DO NOT write to make yourself feel better at night, to show something to your friends or your family and for the love of all that is holy, find good critique partners that don't care about your feelings. My beta readers are brutal. Both have made me cry more than once. I wrote one short story and showed it to my dad who promptly told me it sucked. Well read people =/= good readers. Also be wary of the beta reader who wants to be a writer. They will set about trying to rewrite your shit to suit their own tastes. (you may have already figured this out, but if you haven't...)

4. Which kind of goes back to no. 1: Do your own thing. Work at your own pace. Write the stories you want to read. Find an outlining/writing/editing scheme that works for you. No two authors have the same career or the same process. Communing with other authors is awesome until it comes to that actual writing. People will be quick to suggest to you HOW to write, but they are really telling you what works for them. Seek out advice on getting an agent and writing a good query letter, etc. The rest is on you.

Did I mention you should finish something?

5. And most importantly, don't worry about being published until you finish something. The process of completing a book and selling one are completely different and will zap your sanity in different ways. Lose your mind over the book, then lose your mind about getting someone to buy it.

Also, you're only jumping on a bandwagon if you're writing because everyone else is writing, which would be as silly as doing anything to go with a crowd, but like Em said you're part of the continuum. People were telling stories before you and will telling stories for years to come after you're long dead. I don't think a single successful author wishes they were the only one. It would make the lonely existence of being an author even more psychotic. Many books exist to suit the many tastes of the masses. Throw your hat in the ring. You have more than one beloved writer's books on your shelves and if all goes well, some kid or adult will add you to their selves along with their favorites.

I have to go write now.