Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Personal Apocalypse

Four weeks left in the semester, and you'd think I'd be eager for the time off before the next one rolls around. I've griped about research papers, reading chapters and simply attending classes. All said, I should run screaming from the campus come December 22.

But, I'm not feeling the excitement, at least not as I had been. I had grandiose plans on how to spend the six weeks of free time, which included organizing my office (it presently looks like the bookshelves and file draws barfed), read some books that have sat collecting dust, and last but not least, begin writing in either a new work, or in one already started.

Simply put, I'll most likely organize my office and read one book, for the inner critic has already began chewing on the latter of the three. For weeks I've looked forward to writing again. I even found a kick-ass writing group to join, which involved rejoining RWA, but this new group felt right, so I jumped on board. No regrets there.

Regret comes with my shiny new idea, which had evolved over the past few weeks, and then yesterday kicked up a notch with, what I thought, a stellar revelation. It took on that "love at first sight" feeling. I felt all warm and fuzzy and actually felt its promise and strength.

And then I shared the idea with another. That's where self-doubt reared its ugly-assed head. Other person brought up some thoughts on my idea, such as, where's the conflict, what about this character, what if this one did this, that, etc., etc.,?

My answer: I don't know. Not one answer sprang to mind and suddenly I felt my lofty feeling nose dive into the jaws of ugly inner critic. All my wonderful ideas lost momentum. Worse yet, I was reminded of the fact that eventually I'd have to share my story with others. Do I want to go through all that again? All those "constructive" criticisms were all but forgotten. My thick skin somehow shed a few layers while working on my degree. Am I ready to hear things such as, "What's your character's GMC?" I'm still having trouble figuring an answer to that question for the last six manuscripts I've written, of which only three completed. Perhaps the last three are left unfinished because I don't have answers to questions such as "What's your character's GMC?"

Humbling experience, this writing path. It takes you from the stratosphere to ground zero in one fell swoop. Do I need the aggravation? Is there enough Xanax in the world to assist in my endeavor to cough up yet another unfinished manuscript? My ducks in a row have fallen to the sniper's buck-shot. Woe is me...

Sometimes I think being away from writing is a lot like quitting an exercise routine (which I have since school began). Gravity has defeated muscle. In order to get back in the groove, I'll have to start off slowly; small jogs and thirty ab-crunches in order to wake up the body. But what will it take to wake up my muse, or at least to get her out of the cave she skittered off to when my shiny new story idea first went into question.

Putting the writing wheels back in motion is more daunting, I believe, than keeping up my GPA. How to recapture my euphoria, that's the question of the day.



Edie Ramer said...

Kath, maybe you're the type of writer who finds the answer to those questions while she writes. We all have our own way. Some of us write better if we don't know what's going to happen. It's harder, but it might be more fun.

If you love your characters and your ideas, go for it!

Natasha Fondren said...

That's why I can't talk about my story until it's all the way done. You gotta protect the writing, at all costs. :-)

Good luck! Whenever I take a break, the first couple days are a grind, but the rhythm always comes back. You'll get it!

Stephen Parrish said...

Getting knocked down by criticism is the best thing that can happen to you. Just make sure you get back up.

Kath Calarco said...

Edie, I'm in LOVE with these two characters. They're from my very first manuscript ever, and although that particular ms will never see light of day, the characters stay with me. Long story short, the idea that came to me feels stronger than any other I've ever had. So, I'm going to do like you said, have "fun."

Kath Calarco said...

Natasha, your words are exactly what I thought after sharing shiny new idea. In fact, I might just print that out and tape it to my computer monitor. What was I thinking?

Hope you're well and enjoying the warmth. :)

Kath Calarco said...

Stevie, I'll get back up, soon as I wipe the blood off the canvas. (Or maybe that's wHine, lol.)

Thanks for the words. You're living proof, right?

Robin said...

Kath, so often your words resonate with me more than you know. I've written very little the past couple of months and so want to dive back in too, but I'm finding just about everything else to do. What does that say?

I totally think you should write this story, for the joy of it like you said. Every time you sit down to write, you should feel happy, and if that's the case, I think the outcome will be much better than you think! Good luck and hugs!

Kath Calarco said...

Binks, your words are like receiving a warm hug. Thanks so much!

lainey bancroft said...

"How to recapture my euphoria, that's the question of the day."

By following YOUR process. Not some text book idea of what THE writing process SHOULD be.

Basically, I'm just regurgitating what Edie and Natasha said, with a little me thrown in. =)

Like Edie said, I'm one of those writers who just follows the characters. I never have the route--the GMC--mapped out, it reveals itself through character actions and can then be strengthened in the second draft once I get them where they were going.

And like Natasha said, things always work best for me when I get the entire tale out without sharing...questions from other people make me question myself. Which as a process, works for many writers. For me, it stops me in my tracks.

I prefer to dive in to a passionate love affair with 'new idea' without interruption. Picking at it once it has a begin-mid-end hurts less somehow, whereas if I pick at the beginning, I may never see the end. And yes, I have proven this through practice with a half dozen mss, which may never reach THE END.

Blah blah blah...I should write a book about it, eh? ;-)

Kath Calarco said...

Lainey! You crack me up, woman. And definitely I think you should write a book about the process.

I know sharing an ms is important, but I'm learning to do so AFTER I've reached The End. Like you, I'm stopped in my tracks at times and plagued with self-doubt. (Like I need the help, lol.)