Thursday, November 25, 2010

An Act of Faith

Perhaps because it’s nearing Christmas, or maybe because I was accosted (yet again) at Halloween by the endearing you’re-going-to-hell crazy people, that has led me to think a lot about faith.

Not the kind of faith that they’re talking about, to be sure. Because faith is not excluded to a religious POV.

There are a lot of things that I have to take on faith. I have faith that my kids are going to be okay. That they’re going to grow up, be happy, have a good life and (hopefully) make good choices.

I have faith that my husband will come home to me, no matter how many times he’s deployed. I need to have this faith because sometimes when he’s gone, the road is tough.

I have faith that tomorrow I will wake up and it will be a good day… and the day after that… and the day after that…

The list can and does go on.

Writing a book is an act of faith. You can plan, and plot and know what you want to write, but there is always a point at which you question everything. A point where you want to give up because the book is not fixable, or not going in the direction it should, or just plain sucks. That’s when the faith kicks in and you simply have to finish.

I started on a new book about a month ago. It doesn’t take long for the “shiny new idea” to turn into “this is the biggest pile of crap I’ve ever written.” *grin* That’s the time when I have to remind myself (often) that everything works out. There will be more drafts, more time to edit, smooth and polish. It does and will come together.

I apologized to Steven for my scatterbrain, frustration, and inability to concentrate on anything of value.

He blinked. “You’re always like this when you start a new book. It’s what I expect.”

True.

I forget every damn time that this is what happens: that the tunnel seems too long and full of potholes (or “plot holes” – heh). I concentrate on “getting there” without focusing on the ride. I cry, sweat and get frustrated over the fact that “this is simply never going to work out,” instead of sitting back and letting my imagination work and trusting that it will.

This is the time when less experienced writers would quit. This is the number one reason there are so many half-finished first drafts. Or the plot is not “good enough” and they need to “start over.” It’s a cycle of never finishing, because the faith isn’t there yet.

It gets worse (or better?) with subsequent drafts. Having faith that you will make the story better, not worse. That the plot arc you chose to fix will make it stronger. That you will not make the same mistakes you made in the last book – because remember what a mess that was? Yes, you tell yourself, you screwed that one up royally.

And you carry the baggage on. It infects everything like a cancer. Because you’ve disconnected from the faith that is such a precious, tenuous thing.

When I open my draft I have to let all that go. I have to have faith that it will be the best thing I’ve ever written. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Life

I don’t know why it’s hard for me to blog at the end of the year – every year. I think about blogging constantly. I want to blog. I run over in my mind things I can share – but then it never happens. Right now words are precious. They come slowly from my mind and I squeeze out every one of them for my current WIP.

Speaking of, I’ve been doing a lot of exploring with my writing. I started writing a Paranormal Romance. It’s… interesting. I’m having a lot of fun with it other than the usual first draft nonsense.

Meaning: It’s odd. I used to enjoy first drafts so much. The art of creating and not having to worry about “thinking deeper,” etc. These days, I long for some editing time. It’s such a rush to make a book perfect. And perfection cannot happen with a first draft.

So there’s that. But I’ve also had an idea for a commercial fiction. That’s something way outside my usual fare. I don’t know if I want to spend any time on it, actually. Is it that I’m afraid to write it? Perhaps. It’s an overwhelming concept. Eh.

I’m trying to write and create – to not worry at all about where it goes from here. Because, honestly, I’ve been stuck on this tilt-o-whirl for a long time. And I want to get off.

***


The biggest news around here is we’re moving at the end of the school year. The decision was somewhat of a surprise to us (even though we made it). We’d decided early on to stay in Okinawa for another three years. That was the plan… all the way up until we needed to turn in the paperwork. We did something at that point that we probably shouldn’t have done (heh) and asked what our options were.

It turned out there was an opening at the schoolhouse. Rare. A long shot because schoolhouse jobs are very difficult to get. You know, regular hours and no deployments are seductive and a lot of people want it.

We put in for it thinking, well, if we get it: score, but we probably won’t and we’ll stay here. No big deal.

And then we got it! *THUNK!* You have no idea what went in to actually getting it and I’m grateful to the MstGuns for putting in all that effort. I appreciate it very much.

Right now Steven works 4:30am to 7-ish pm, Monday through Friday and then most Saturdays. I’m not quite sure what’s up with all the weekend work. It sucks. I’m looking forward to having a duty station where I actually get to see him. It will be a novelty.

Come the summer we are Arkansas bound.

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