Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wake-up Call

I'm used to getting up gawd-awful-early on Tuesdays and Thursdays (4:50 normally)—those are the weekdays that round off my “4 intense days” of exercise (I also walk to and from work on weekdays, but that is at a pace that allows me to read and walk, not to mention helping me avoid the desk-sweat syndrome) so I am used to early. My daughter though, is on the high school swim team this year--she's a freshman. All season she will practice after school, but for this two week period (referred to as 'Hill Week' because the coach so conveniently has a last name approximating Hell) they also have mornings (in the pool by 5 a.m.)

I asked my daughter Monday (the day before her first day of school), as I knew her group had the Tuesday/Thursday early slot, if she had it Tuesday morning. I quote: “no, mom. We're doing it Wednesday.” Me: “I thought the varsity had Monday/Wednesday/Friday?” Her: *heavy eye roll* "You don't know anything."

I proceeded to wake her yesterday at 4:45 wondering why she wasn't up. “Geez, mom. It's tomorrow.” So YESTERDAY I woke up early unnecessarily, due to misinformation. And then last night, after a conversation about it being HER job to get ME up, since all I had to do was throw on a t-shirt, shorts and my glasses to drive her (it's close, but at that hour we feel like a ride is safer), where she actually had to pull her things together, I proceeded to wake up every hour or so to see if she'd missed it. It's probably not a wonder I am thinking about waking up today.

BUT... there are some wake-ups in this whole writing/publishing cycle that I thought might be relevant, and not too uninteresting to ponder, and I am sleep deprived, so I thought I'd run with that...

The Writer Awakening

Most writers always know they like to write, but there is a time at which it occurs to them that they might like to WRITE. KnowwhatImean? Like... books... maybe even for a living... because writing is what they love and it would be nice to do what one loved for a living, ne? For me this pipe dream fell into a category with 'movie star' and 'model' (and the early appearing 'tightrope walker' and 'princess')--other careers in my life I would have loved to have, but were not possible for a 'real person'--so I thought of writing.

Most of you have heard me sing praises of Harry Potter as my wake-up here. The world of fan fiction writing allowed me to get my writer's feet wet and learn other people liked my writing, and not just my antics (though of course I'm very popular among the nudist Harry Potter fan set). I learned a great deal of the writing craft that way, because it allows you to work on individual aspects a few at a time, then get instant feedback (and also encouragement, which I think a lot of people need to keep going on something long...) so there we have it... the writer wake-up call.

The Depressing I Can't Write Awakening

This is the phase at which we've spent a year of our life on something and look at it an wonder what the hell we're doing. Hopefully for most of us it is brief. I think for MORE of us, there is a fear of this that keeps us not sharing our work, even if our work might be GREAT because somehow validation from somebody ELSE that we can't write would make it real. This is one of those times you should probably just push snooze.

The “I need to rewrite this” Awakening

Post snooze you might find... it isn't HORRIBLE, in fact... it might even be good... there are just things that need to change... a few elements don't work... something needs to be done over. This is okay. Acceptance of this seems a necessary step for everyone--first works are unlikely to be just right when they are fresh out of the box. I tell my grad students on their first run at writing a manuscript for a scientific journal '25 drafts'. Why should fiction be so different?

The Publishing World Awakening

This one is like the loud, rude party downstairs, that you don't want to deal with, but you know if you don't shut them up, you will be fired the next day, but then when you go down there, they seem to be having such fun, so you want to join, but they don't WANT you to join them, but they won't be quiet either... You often wonder why you have such obnoxious neighbors, but they are so GLAMOROUS and if only you could be one of them, you wouldn't have to WORRY about your day job, so you keep trying to be clever and noticed, even though you really just need some sleep, hoping one day they'll invite you to their party.

I think at the moment, that is all I can muster... What I really need is a nap.


scotticohn said...

Great article! I especially like the rejection analogy. Very true!

Galen Kindley--Author said...

So, here’s the deal. Get ready for this writing cycle to repeat. That is, you’re gonna fall in the I Can’t Write, What Was I Thinking, hole, again. So, be ready for it. The good news is, something or someone will come along and help pull you out. But, yeah, it goes around and around. At least it does for me. Shrug. I try not to worry about it much anymore. It is what it is.

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

siderealview said...

just wrote a heartfelt response to your reject stamp & it got dumped - oh well - because i too have had little or no sleep since Tues, I can't remember what it was that was so important for me to say except:... on that day in the not-so-distant future when the (love-hate) publishing world raises your gem as an example to the newbies of that alternate reality and wish to fawn and pander, you can tell them you never had any doubts and thanks but no thanks, you're engaged next Tuesday & can't come to cocktails... ... no wonder writers bond! We go thru hell & nobody understands us but us.
.. a fellow misunderstood miscreant
... and pleeze get some sleep this weekend - your Muse is calling and can't get thru because that part of the brain is shut down... x M