Sometimes the writing is an exercise in confronting my deficiencies as a writer. And because I am a writer, that easily spirals into thoughts of inadequacy, worries of having “missed my chance,” and wondering if I will ever meet the potential everyone thought I had when I was eight. (I was quite an eight-year-old. Weren’t we all?)
And yet, every day I throw on a sweater and tell the muse my ass is going to be at my desk during certain hours, and I expect to see her there, too.
Sometimes she shows up and points out the good parts of the writing: a satisfying turn of phrase, a bold truth, a charming character trait.
Other times, she sits sprawled across the room, mockingly showing me all that still needs to be done and how she really hates to mention that I might have wasted several months going down writing rabbit holes that proved fruitless.
In other words, this whole experience is an exercise in being a Gen X woman.
I am stubborn and will see this through, and then will be stubborn again as I work for an agent and a publisher. But Stubborn’s superpower is shouting over Insecurity, and sometimes Stubborn loses its voice.
And it can’t shout over the fact that this is really weird, this writing gig. It can’t shout over the fact that some days I have the words, some days I have the plot, and some days I have welts on my head from banging it on my desk from lack of words and plot.
And always there is the Universe letting me know (usually via social media or an author interview) that so many other writers are just “inspired” and “ablaze with ideas,” and they write their entire book in about 19 hours, give it a quick Swiffering, and it’s a great novel.
While the rest of us plod.
Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Neither. Both. I’m a plodder. A plodder who believes there has to be the answer somewhere in the middle of a Cadbury Crème Egg or at the bottom of that next cup of coffee. And often there is.
I was on Twitter the other day (yeah, I know) and came upon one of those open-ended questions from someone in the writing community designed to foster discussion and maybe a few extra follows here and there: “If you had to use only 3 words to describe your book, what would they be?”
“Woman fights fascism”
My book distilled into three words. A little alliteration. Perhaps intriguing. No dragons, so a few demerits there. It felt, after 18 months, rather stark.
And someone, some random, cheerful, writer with an adorable cartoon version of herself as her avi wrote, “you go girl!! fight that facism!!”
I loved and needed everything about that little cheer, that little atta girl, right down to the extra exclamation points and purposeful lack of capitalization, a conceit I engage it regularly online as well.
So, Talhi Tweets, you magnificent human, another three words:
thanks so much!!
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