Problem: I Want To Be An Author
I want to be an author so frickin’ badly. I think that’s the way it goes. Either you do with all your being, or you just don’t.
If you are one of those people with your face perpetually in a book, wading through whatever world the author drew up and pulling out only long enough to wonder:
‘How the hell did she do that?’
‘How the hell can I do that?’
Problem Part 1: I’m Stuck
If you’ve ever tried writing a novel, you’ve probably come across THE RULES:
- Strong beginnings!
- Solid characterization!
- Distinct voice!
- Crisp dialogue!
- Make setting matter!
- Drive plot forward!
- Intertwine subplots!
- Conflict, conflict, conflict!
- And all the rest of the gazillion rules out there
Or maybe you’re the person who went with the ‘eff the rules’ approach and still aren’t where you want to be with your writing? I have been brainstorming/plotting/character developing/writing/editing/rewriting or some combination of that for four years, and cannot get the story on my screen to read like the story in my head.
I am not one of those wannabe authors fantasizing that they will pen their story and then become rich and famous. All I want is to finish my story. So I can sell the sucker and become rich and famous.
Just kidding. I want to do what so many amazing authors have done for me: Share something that resonates as truth. Even if it only resonates with a small group of someones, I’d be happy.
But I can’t. Because I can’t finish. And the worst part?
Problem Part 2: I Can’t Give Up
I want to. I’ve tried to. I’ve wished someone would lobotomize the idea of becoming an author right out of my head, but it’s still there, clawing and bitching to get out. And I haven’t been passive in my effort either.
At my first writing conference, when the plotting workshop was short a plot to critique, I volunteered mine fast. Now in my writing classes, group critiques looked like this:
STRENGTHS – EDITS – SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
At the conference, I stood at the front of the room, in front of 40ish writers, authors and readers for an hour and a half and it felt like this:
In hindsight, I guess I should have known the attendees at a conference called Bloody Words wouldn’t be the cuddly kind of editor. But I’m proud to say that I held it together, wrote down every word they said, and even smiled occasionally, if robotically. And then I went home and cried. For a month.
After I was done crying, I went through my notes and applied what I learned. Which was a lot. Suddenly I was excited about writing again and even grateful for the bloody experience.
I was happily writing away until I learned there was more for me to learn. More I was missing. More required to make my story work. And the process started all over again. And continues to start all over again. And because every time I get shot down, I’m given that damn string of hope – the feeling that I’ve learned something new, that I’ve improved an inch, that I’ve gotten a step closer – I keep going.
Problem Part 3: I’m Still Stuck
I am at the present moment so stuck, I’m not even thinking about my “work-in-progress.” I had thought this whole process would be chill: I’d write, join a fun, talented editing group –
– and start a really cool, really professional, how-to-write, follow-me-in-my-process, I’m-going-to-succeed, happy-go-lucky blog. Needless to say, that blog did not happen.
I know that I will get back to working on my novel, but for right now all I’m thinking about is how it sucks to want to be an author and am looking for people who commiserate. If this sounds anything like you, please, commiserate away in the comments.