Getting published is a real be-yatch! Hear about my ups, downs and a few random rants in between.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Hello Flo, Whaddayaknow?

Flo is my muse. ::cue the New Agey music::

Seriously, though, flo as in FLOW. It's not one particular thing or person, but a state of mind that comes and goes.

When it's there, I'm able to write like a person possessed. The characters and story arcs FLOW out of me naturally. But without FLOW I get only fractured ideas, dialogue snippets and pieces of information disconnected to any substance.

In October, finally coming off the high of sending my first manuscript to my agent, I started to feel guilty that my weekend off from writing had turned into, well, an entire month.

Apparently, not guilty enough.

Because I still hadn't written a lick, come November. But, by early November an inkling of an idea started to come into focus.

I got all excited, thinking FLOW was back.

Yeah, that was a bit premature. That one story idea changed every day over the next month and a half without me ever writing any of it down. These themes and arcs kept coming to me. But they were fuzzy and disjointed.

When the holidays came, I gave up. Instead, focusing on Christmas gift-giving and aborted New Years plans.

I forced myself back into the FLOW by signing up for this Plotting Bootcamp facilitated by Rose's Colored Glasses. This was the first time I went about coaxing my muse, actually coercing it into place.

The bootcamp was great. Made me look at the writing process differently and respect writers who have to churn books out, like packaged deals, on the regular. I'd do it again, if only for the experience. That's what us writers need most, to write well.

Unfortunately, as a muse writer, the constraints of plotting out everything from the premise to the conflict was overwhelming.

At one point, I looked up and my entire desk was covered with papers. I had no idea how to start the story because I had tiny grains of information spread out everywhere.

I plodded on anyway, half-finished charts and all, and sat down to write Chapter 1.

Know this, as a muse writer, once I get into the FLOW I can whip out a chapter in a matter of minutes. Well, at least an hour. It took me THREE days to write Chapter 1. THREE!

At the end of day one, I had a mini-break through when I realized all of the paper was not going to get the damn book written. So I pushed it aside and wrote out an acronym to help me get through. An acronym I came to call Pasta ASD'B (Action, Scenary, Dialogue, Backstory).

I woke up fresh on Day two, ready to tackle the chapter and get the Pasta made. Only to end up frustrated at the end of the day when I had read and re-read and re-written the first few pages a half dozen times and still didn't have an ending to the damn chapter.

Today I stopped fretting over the process and just wrote. Finally, FLOW was back.

As a writer, I experience a mad case of imposter's syndrome everytime I think about writing a novel. No matter that I've finished three manuscripts so far. Which, for a writer is nothing. I know writers who have twenty (unsold) under their belts.

Hell, I'm still playing catch up.

My point is, whenever I THINK about writing, I freeze up.

I think, when did you grow enough balls to think you could do this professionally?

I feel like I must be insane to think that I'll ever call myself an author. It's a horrible insecurity and I'm told, unfortunately, it's an occupational hazard.

But if I just write and don't allow myself to get caught up in how to structure a sentence, how to ensure my story arcs match my character arcs, making sure I have internal and external conflicts...if I stop thinking about all that and just DO IT, I'm fine.

When I just do it, it never occurs to me that becoming published is a damn hard goal to accomplish. Never crosses my mind that I'm expecting my first or third manuscript to sell. Even knowing it took some authors their 5th or 10th or 20th manuscript before they sold one.

Un-ah, as long as FLOW is with me, I'm cool. And now that she's back...he? I don't know. I don't care. Now that they're back, I'm back.

2006 will be my long as I don't think about it!


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