I know this will be cryptic. I can’t help it. Forgive me, okay? All will become clear with time.
You know that old saying “Can’t see the forest for the trees?” Well, I think that where my writing is concerned, I can’t even see the trees. My CP Linda and I were talking tonight about how we can’t even tell anymore if what we’ve written is semi-brilliant or (as Linda puts it) canal water.
I look at the two manuscripts I’ve written and I think they need work. Maybe major work. It’s discouraging. I hate re-doing work. When I used to make my own clothes, I was careful to measure precisely before I cut the fabric. I didn’t want to have to re-make anything, or have to rip out seams and start over. For me, writing is the same. So being the world-class procrastinator that I am, I’ve put off revising those two manuscripts. I read them and I just know the plots are weak, the characters not charasmatic enough – something must be wrong that I’m incapable of seeing. After all, I–Miss Spreadsheet wielding, list making, anal-retentive writer that I am–don’t plot much. I do some pre-writing, yes. But past that, I don’t see complete movies of my books in my head (must be nice, Linda). I don’t work off of a complete synopsis either. The characters lead me through their story,and it drives me BONKERS at times! I’m trying to do better with each book, trying to find the method that works best. Why? Because I’m a control freak.
Don’t get me wrong. Neither of those manuscripts are without changes from when the words were first strung together. I am in a constant state of revision as I write because, psychologically, I’m still on the first draft, so it’s okay to fix, tweak, layer–whatever you want to call it. But it’s NOT revising. Got it?
As validation goes, I sold a short story, so I think I’ve got potential. All isn’t hopeless. I’ve started a new WIP and have other works in progress as well. One thing I’m not is a prolific writer, but I’m hanging in there, plugging away at it when the muse is cooperative. Agonizing when she’s not. Still, everything is cool. I’ve got a loose idea of a 5-year plan and I’m only 2 yrs in. There’s still time to perfect all this.
Linda has had not 1, but 2 requests from Agents lately. One for a partial, one for a full. She’s going places, and soon. I believe that. As for me, I’ve still got my 5-year plan, right? My turn will come in a couple years. I don’t have enough manuscripts built up. I don’t feel I’ve written enough to have paid my dues.
But today someone validated my work in a totally unexpected way. SPLAT! (That was me on the floor, sans rug.) Suddenly I have to reassess. What if my 5-year plan to publication is cut short? What if the message this person gave me turns into something I’ve been wanting, but was afraid to expect? Even worse, what if it turns out to be just a fluke and nothing comes of it after I’ve had to do all this reassessment?
I can’t see whether the words I’m stringing together on the screen are worthy of publication or not. Where’s that darn rug, anyway?