Thursday, October 17, 2013

Why Even Bother with the Writing Thing?

So, I just finished the second book in my new Lou Norton series -- and sent it to my editor three weeks before the due date.

And I now have the cover artwork to Land of Shadows (which I will be sharing with you very soon)!

And now, the anxiety sets in. About writing the next story in the series, certainly, but also about the book I just finished, which my editor hasn't read yet. You know, those questions that many writers asks themselves:

Is it good?
Does it stink?
Is that weird?
Is that boring?
Will she like it?
What if she hates it?
Is it better than the last book?
Why can't I breathe right now?
Did I use the F word too much?
What about the S word?
Maybe I should've read over it one more time?
Does Stephen King ever feel this way?
Should I recall that message, the one with the manuscript attached?
Does Gmail recall?
Should I be worried?
Really: why can't I breathe right now?
Crap - did I resolve that plot line right?
Did I use too many first names that start with 'C'?
Why hasn't she emailed me back yet?
Did she read the first chapter, then shake her head in disgust and say, 'What the frack is this piece of frack?'
Will they find out that I don't know nothin' about anything and will it all come out right?

And then... THEN! Once I exhaust that poor horse, I return to the corral to saddle up another. And I start thinking about that next project. You know, those questions that buck about in many writers' minds:

What do I write about next?
Can I fill another 421 pages?
Do I remember how she spoke? The cadences in her language? The type of car she drove? Her world?
Why isn't she speaking to me? Doesn't she want me to write about her again?
Where is that notebook that I bought, the $12 one for the next story?
Is Office Depot open even though it's 6:25 a.m.?

There are easier ways to live. Other things to think about. I have a fourth-grade girl -- yes, she gives me plenty of things to think about. Math that I haven't done in thirty-something years, parallel circuits, sandwich book reports, Gradelink...

But I can't imagine NOT thinking about writerly things -- they are a part of me. Like the moles on my face. The red strands of hair on my head. The way I tug at my lip when I'm worried.

I ask these questions because I want to share: my world, your world, the good, the not-so-good, the 'remember whens' and the 'no ways.' And since I'm not a public speaker, and suck at math, and will never run for public office, writing is the way for me. And writing good. And worrying that I'm writing as good as I can. Which leads to 'Is it better than the last book.'

Is it worth it?

I found this essay: When Writing Pays Off | Thought Catalog.

It pays off when someone sees themselves in your syntax and under your paragraphs and behind your syllables. You can bring them places they’ve forgotten or expose pieces they’ve hidden or lead them to the strength they’ve misplaced.

Since my writing career began, I've had a life-lone dream come true, met incredible readers, had fictional love affairs or scorched-earth arguments with the people in my head who populate my books, had lovely conversations with other writers, met Judy Blume, rode in a chauffeured Town Car, become Google-able, received great reviews, saw my name in print, watched my parents see my name in print, watched my daughter see my name in print....

Yeah. It's worth it.

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