Author’s Note: It’s the first Wednesday of the new month, so that means it’s time for another episode of (*deep voice*) INSECURE WRITERS’ SUPPORT GROUP!
Nada. Zippo. Zilch. Squat. A big, fat nuthin’.
And I’m feeling pretty meh about it.
When I finished the first draft during the marathon sprint that was NaNoWriMo, I prepared myself for what I felt was going to be an inevitability come editing/second draft time: me becoming hypercritical of what I’d written. And by “hypercritical,” I mean that internal voice going absolutely insane, yelling at me at all hours of the day and night that what I’d written was pure shit, and why the hell was I even bothering to write such drivel, and you’ll never finish this novel, so give it up.
Except that voice never came, but I did end up not liking the first draft at all. Strange, because I was all elated about finishing the first draft.
What I read, to be honest, really didn’t floor me. I felt like I was holding back. I think part of my holding back was the rigid timeline imposed by NaNoWriMo; I had to put together a foundation of a story, more than anything, rather than explore the themes I’m wanting to explore. You’ve no doubt read my “Should a Debut Novel ‘Play it Safe?’” blog (and if you haven’t, then read it now – all of WordPress already has!), in which I extol the virtues of writers taking risks with their work, even at the expense of not being traditionally published. I need to hold myself to what I wrote. Talk the talk, walk the walk.
I’m also well aware that I’m cycling. Being bipolar means being painfully aware of your moods swinging. Thankfully, my moods don’t swing wildly like they once did, but I’m aware that I’m feeling more down than usual. Perhaps it’s seasonal, and there’s a precedent for me when it comes to seasonal moods and my writing. I know once spring comes, I’m in a better mood – more hypomanic, even – and therefore I’m in a better frame of mind when it comes to writing. All I’ll want to do is write when I’m up, up, up. Right now, when I’m feeling a little more down – but not quite depressed – all I want to do is edit.
But I’m resisting the urge to edit. There’s a good story there; it just needs to be expanded. So if there are some rewrites needed, I’m doing so. What I’m not doing is banging my head on the desk. What I’m also not doing is pushing myself. Maybe it’s a lack of urgency – again, I’m cycling – so maybe once spring comes, the words and the story will come flying out of me again. In the meantime, I’m still feeling meh.
Actually, I need to stop saying I feel meh. What I’m not doing is beating myself up over my lack of progress. There’s a box sitting in my garage. In that box are pages upon pages of failed manuscripts, stories started and never finished. They’re reminders of my lack of confidence, and I keep those stories in that box for just that reason, to remind me. What I started writing last March, which I completed in first draft last November, is something I’m damned proud of. It’s not perfect, and it needs a lot of work, and I don’t want to play it safe by any means, but it’ll get done. But it’ll also get done on my terms. So what if I really haven’t written much worth being happy about? I’ve given myself the permission to not rake myself over the coals. It’s said a writer should write every day. Okay, maybe I’m not writing my novel every day like I should, but I’m not going to give myself shit for not doing so. I’m getting there. I’m getting there on my own terms. So there. No bullshit about not seeing the light about the end of the tunnel. Fuck that. When that novel’s finally finished, edited, ready for publishing, it’ll be the culmination of me both sweating the details and yet giving myself the freedom to not give a fuck when possible. Refreshing, to say the least.
In addition, I am seeing the light regarding my first foray into self-publishing, the Out Where the Buses Don’t Run blog anthology. I’ve gotten it all prettied up and edited and nicely formatted – some of the blogs have been slightly re-written, no shame in that – so it’s a matter of choosing the right self-publishing medium. It looks like I’ll be going with CreateSpace Publishing (the one owned by Amazon) to publish my anthology. They’re offering the biggest bang for my buck, and exactly the right amount of marketing and promotion I’m looking for. Plus, the publishing associates I’ve been speaking with have been very helpful and friendly.
By the way, if you’ve gone the self-publishing route, I’d love to have your feedback and advice on your experiences. Who did you go with? How was the experience? You can comment below, or click on the “Contact Me” section, and I’d love to chat with you some more and pick your brain.
On the flip side, I’ve been pretty elated about the attention my blog’s been getting thanks to my “Should a Debut Novel ‘Play it Safe?’” blog earning Freshly Pressed status. For me, it’s been exactly the kind of exposure and validation I’ve been looking for since I decided to expand upon my blog’s ambition and build my growing author’s platform. To have more than doubled my subscribers has been a real thrill for me, and I’ve found some new blogs to follow, to boot. So thank you, Freshly Pressed, and thank you, new readers, for finding me. Stick around, there’s more fun and ranting yet to come.
I’ll leave you with this classic from Talking Heads, maybe my favorite track of theirs. Lyrically, it makes a lot of damned sense to me. Musically, it makes me want to boogie. Groove to this one up until the 1:30 mark, then turn it up and dance wildly. Do it.