Wednesday, August 27, 2008

All I want to do is complain about my lethargy but I'm sick of doing it. So I'm going to take a couple minutes to just riff and see what happens. Don't read if you can't stand getting inside someone else's frustrated mind.

First: The novel. Did a little yesterday but not enough. Felt lost and confused and wondered if I will ever finish this. Flashes of my first "revised" novel kept creeping up on me. Two in the drawer. No!!! But how do I actually make myself do it? I started a to-do list. I put on it Don't Get Organized because I seem to want to do the opposite of what I should do. Why is that?

I hate wait to hear from places. Haven't heard from Flash Fiction On-line regarding "Dani-Girl's Guide to Getting Everything Right." Reread it. Like it a lot but maybe I don't have enough distance yet, though I did send it to them 8-weeks ago today. In my world, usually the longer something is kept, the more likely they like it, but maybe not. There are no rules in writing...but lots of crying. I'm also waiting for "Monsoon" to come out in Quality Women's Fiction. Wrote to the editor there yesterday too and she said it was "in the mail." But I am confused about this publication. Their website never changes, never shows a magazine cover, and I don't understand what she means. My understand is that it would come out in PDF, but I guess I'll just wait and see. The editor is very encouraging and helpful. I like her, I'm just confused. So those two stories are distracting me when what I should be doing is moving on.

Listing Lisa and The Roughening are both sitting on the stove, simmering, with occasion bubbles. I keep thinking I have the answers to each stories problems but then I lose it. I have to go back today to my Ron Carlson write a story in a day today but call it FINISH a story in a day.

Maybe my problem is self-consciousness. As soon as a story begins to sound good before I finish it, I attach all kinds of extra baggage to it. Will this story be the one that really makes it? Can I ever write a really good story again? What if I can make myself do this any more? And then I kind of freeze up. Can someone be embarrassed in the privacy of her own home, at her own desk, with no one standing over her shoulder? Or is really fear? Fear of failure? Or fear of success?

I've had a few people ask me if I was afraid to succeed and I think the answer is yes. Growing up my comfort zone was keeping a low profile, not making any stir, either good or bad. I didn't like attention. Of course, secretly I WANTED attention, positive attention, but was scared to death of the negative kind. Is this what haunts me? Frankly I'm sick of thinking about it.

And I've been sick of thinking about it for a while, yet I keep coming back to it. I hate this tendency. Why can't I just put my butt in the chair and stay there until I'm done?

I know that part of what I have to do is not take myself so seriously. Stop thinking about how if I could only write one piece with real merit I could die happy. But that real merit for me is like something so far away, I can't even see it wink. I'm thinking To Kill a Mockingbird, Tess of the D'Urbevilles , Tale of Two Cities. Now you know why someone always dies in my stories!

Okay. Enough. I feel slightly better and now I'm going to open Listing Lisa and give her a run for her money. She and her husband have got to face-off. I can't skip over it. I have to do it. Go.

2 comments:

K.C. Ball said...

I have a friend who claims that the greatest fear of all creative people is fear of success.

Since you mentioned To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee said, before she stopped talking about the book, that she had dreamed only of moderate success; that the acclaim Mockingbird drew was as frightening as total rejection.

And, of course, To Kill A Mockingbird was the only book Lee ever submitted for publication.

We are all scared, hon. There is a child hiding inside each of us, frightened that they will be found out. And anyone who says that's not true is either lying to you or to themselves.

I have told you this before, but I'll say it again. We write because it is a high; because it releases us. Not because it's a chore. And I will keep telling you that until you hear me.

Rejoice in your talent; as you told me, you sure as hell can write.

sylvia said...

Oh, my, this is so familiar to me. The short story I wrote yesterday is because I decided enough-is-enough and that I was going to reread my (10-year-project) novel.

Funny how that works.

As a sideline: I had a really good interaction with the editor of QWF but I have to admit I don't know how the magazine works either. I got rejected (but nicely!) so I never looked into it further.

For me, there is definitely the fear that I'm not as good a writer as I think I am. If I don't go all out, I never prove it. If I never finish this novel, then I can always say it was the most beautiful story in the world and I just never found the time.

I like your processing on your blog, it helps me to think.