"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Stagnant and Terrified

How's that for a post title for the first time I'm blogging in oh nigh unto forever.

Yes, I've been busy. Super busy. But then again who isn't?

Yes, I'm juggling multiple chainsaws. But then again who isn't?*

The truth is, I've let my voice get stolen by all the "things" going on. The old paying the bills, trying to get the training to move to a career I will love, spending time with the important people in my life, make sure I stay current on all my favorite tv shows thing. And all of those things are important. And all of them need to get done (okay, so the tv thing doesn't need to get done.... but that's another post altogether).

And little by little in the last two years or so I've just let all these things eat away at this part of me that I didn't even think I would really miss. This little thing called writing. I've been writing papers and essay prompts and exams and e-mails and even managed to post over at our Booksellers Without Borders NY blog.

But it really isn't enough and I had NO idea it wouldn't be enough until this past week.

Last year I wrote a NaNoWriMo rough draft. And I was obsessed with the story. I fell in love with the story and the premise and the characters and I had absolutely no idea where on earth it was going. So I shelved it.

And then I decided that I couldn't write it until I had worked out the plot so I read Save the Cat which blew my mind and I sketched out a beat sheet and I did all this great worldbuilding in my head and I didn't write a single word.

I kept making excuses and it kept haunting me.

And this year I had this "great idea" for NaNoWriMo and I couldn't write anything. I think I bashed out about 2,000 words which was actually just rewriting the first scene about six times.

So I threw in the towel and said I'm just too busy with grad school. I'll get around to writing more one of these days.

Then last week I happened to be online when Miss Snark's First Victim put up the submission details for the Talkin' Heads critique. I was in the middle of a homework assignment and I felt absolutely compelled to drop everything and enter something.

I opened my WIP document and almost almost closed it up and went back to doing what I was "supposed" to be doing. But I couldn't. I couldn't do it. So I dug around and I found a passage and I tweaked and trimmed and revised to get it to fit the word limit and I entered it and I got in.

And then I went back to my homework.

And then Monday I almost forgot about it, until I got the e-mail and I started doing some critiquing - the whole give-and-take if you entered you needed to comment and it was fun and I skipped around and read a lot and commented some and I was absolutely terrified to see what people had said about mine.

But you know what? People liked it. The phrases and dialogue that I loved they loved too. And the turn of phrase that gave me chills gave someone else chills too.

And they offered constructive criticism that made me roll my eyes at my own ridiculousness because of course they were right about this thing I always forget to do.

And I opened up the document and I wrote the first scene and for the first time in over a year I felt completely alive.

And the next night I wrote the next scene.

And the next night I wrote the first scene from the other character's perspective.

Yes because I felt validated that this is something I can do, that this is something I am good at.
But mostly because I HAD to write. I HAVE to get Evva's and Devvon's story on paper (metaphorically speaking of course).

I have always been one of those people that liked to write, but wasn't really driven. If I didn't write for a month or so it didn't bother me. But I don't think I can ignore it anymore. Maybe I'll only write 100 words a day. Maybe it will take me 5 years to finish this flooding** book. But it doesn't matter. What matters is I have to write it.

And somehow, I managed to get all those other things in too. And turn my homework in on time. So there.

*Actually, if you are really juggling actual chainsaws I think I'd like to see that. Or not.
**btw this is Devvon invading my brain