Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Page Envy

Some things are hard to write about. After something happens to you,
you go and write it down, and either you over dramatize it or you underplay it,
exaggerate the wrong parts or ignore the important ones. At any rate, you never
write it quite the way you want to.

--Sylvia Plath

Okay, I know she killed herself, but Syl makes some good points. Many, many times, darling invisible friend and reader, I have a vision in my head, a clear picture or soundtrack of what I want to write. Sometimes it's so clear, it's like watching a movie, but still knowing what's going on inside the characters heads and hearts. It is those moments that I find what ends up on the page is complete and utter crap.


And okay, so it's crap. I can edit crap. As my beloved big-whoop-de-doo-author friend Cherry says, "You cahn't edit invisible ink!" Yes, that is how she sounds. She's from South Africa. She is! Well, then you ask her. Here:

As I was saying, I can deal with writing crap. Cherry's been a huge help in that arena and gosh, if a BWDDA like Cherry can say that, it must be true. Right? Right.

But the whole snail's-pace writing thing. That, my darling, makes me mental. I just wish I had a really good excuse. I'm single. I have no children. Okay, yes, there is this job thing and it really does interfere with stuff I want to do. I know! And they actually expect me to do work type stuff while I'm here. It's just weird.

I want to write faster. I just can't quite figure out how to make that happen. Most of the time I accept this deficiency in myself but the other night, the enormity of this lack crashed down on me like a drunken lounge lizard. Only less grope-y and smelly. I was having an IM conversation with my friend Karina, whose first book will come out in May. She is, in case you wondered, a BWDDA-to-be. Look! Look!

Yummy, huh? Anyway.

During our conversation, Karina mentioned that she'd felt out of sorts all day. Tired. Unable to write. When asked, she theorized that her general malaise and fatigue might have been caused by writing too much the day before. Yes, in the future, Karina said, she should probably stick to writing fewer than thirty pages a day.

That's right. Go back and read it again.


And she overdid it by writing more than that.

No, I didn't actually vomit. I wanted to. But I didn't.

I comfort myself with the memory of a keynote speech given by Patricia Gaffney [a BWDDA in her own right] at the Romance Writers of America's 2001 national conference. She spoke about her own inability to write faster than she did and cited April Kihlstrom's work "Book In A Week." As I recall, Pat said;

"April, April, April. I can't come up with the title of a book in a week."

God bless you, Pat Gaffney.


  1. Sing it, sister.

    To think it used to fly from my fingers, wake me up at night, insist I had to get it all down and now! No matter how it looked or sounded but get it written.

    Now, I stress, fret, snarl and basically shut down when it comes to writing.

    Yes, you may whap me now.

    All you can do, dearest, is keep writing forward, not looking back, and believing in yourself and the story you're writing.

    For if there isn't that, then...well, you become me.

    And that would be a tragedy of unspeakable words.

    So be you, be the writer you are and write that "crap" because you have a few that would love to read it and see you published.

    Now back to the shadows I go.


  2. I have to write a 'personal statement' for my law school application. I've got two or three paragraphs down(with footnotes!). I'm afraid to show it to certain loving, supportive women who care about me and know bad writing when they see it. *sigh*

  3. sending good MOjo your way.....