How's the writing going?
It is the question I dread. It is the question that I got asked more often than not when I was in NYC. It's the question that gets asked in emails, on Twitter, on Skype and in person. It's the question that makes me want to hit my head repeatedly against a very hard wall. It's the question that makes me wish I'd kept my writing on the down low.
And it isn't because I don't appreciate the interest. Or the support either.
It's just that I am in a shame spiral at the moment. Inadvertent reminders that I am wallowing in excuses and really bad writing habits just make me feel worse. The shame is so deep that I haven't even swung by Jennifer Echols' blog since I stopped writing. You see I was taking part in her writing challenge all through May and did really well. I hit the 20k mark in that month and then proceeded on paper. Then stopped. I have been too ashamed to returning ever since. Sorry Jenn, give me another few months and I might grow a pair.
People ask me about my word count....that's the least of my problems. Though if you are really interested it is currently 20K + how ever much a kilogram of paper is in words.
The second biggest problem....
What you can see sprawled out across two student desks is 1kg of white paper scrawled with jumbled scenes in non-chronological order. Or they were until I had to go through all these pieces of paper and try and discover the narrative thread.
I am incapable of writing in chronological order. I hip and hop from scenes that occur to me and then write in the moment. This is going to make editing heinous and have a cohesive story even harder. And yet, this is the process that works best for me. Go figure?
It's been two months since I have written to a specific schedule. (Actually I fibbed, it's closer to three.) I write little bits here and there but nothing solid.
I write but I don't think I am all that good. I am not trying to be humble, I like to write and that's why I do it. Until it got harder and I thought I was sucking harder than normal. It's the confidence angle. I don't consider myself much of a writer. Before I made the journey to Japan I set myself a goal of finishing a manuscript by the time I left (December 2010) and that I would be proud of it. An Australian author told me this week that I am putting too much pressure on myself which is absolutely true. It was something I needed to hear but also something I have to try.
Being a blogger is another part of the problem. Many bloggers write. Many bloggers consider themselves to be writer, are writers if you read their reviews. But it always makes me squirm to be a blogger who wants to write. I feel like I am a cliche. Sometimes a fraud. I hate cliches and liars more than anything and the thought of being one makes me ill.
I shared the first couple of thousand words with two people I trust. And they were complimentary. I immediately dismissed them as being nice and haven't shown anyone since. I know, I am head case. I am a fragile little lily who needs to get over herself.
Head issues aside, my biggest problem is that I can't explain to people what my WIP* is about. That's a huge problem. It isn't because it's complicated or requires a jump of logic - I just can't seem to summarise it in a way that makes it sound all that interesting. That bothers me more than anything. "A girl and her father get to know each other for the first time when she travels to Japan to live with him." It needs some work.
A lot of work.
I am a cynic and a pessimist. We usually are the hardest on ourselves. We see ourselves as being realistic, and it probably is, but it stops us from having more faith. So it is always nice to read a fragment of writing and not immediately recognise it as my own. That I like it objectively. In the end, if I can feel that way about the whole enchilada then that's pretty awesome. I have faith, it is a sliver but it's something. Just like my current poor excuse for a WIP.
And no, you can't read it.
*Work In Progress