trixie wrote:Okay, so June was NOT a banner month for me.
I'm going through a crisis of confidence, to say the least. I feel guilty for not getting the proof copy of my NaNo book. However, if I was going to have to pay for the proof anyway, I told myself I'd rather wait and print out a copy that was closer to final than what I have now. Maybe I was just making excuses, I don't know.
Okay, sorry for the vent. Carry on.
No carrying on. We're here to support each other through thick and through thin (skin or otherwise). Maybe it's a midwest thing because I have the same problem, but it is so hard
to admit when you're struggling, when you feel weak, when you feel vulnerable. It's like, why would any of these people care about my problems? They've got their own.
But it's so much easier to cinch together over these things because none of it us unknown to any of us. They are the trials and tribulations of our chosen career. They are universal and that makes it comforting when we can just let it all hang out, the ugly and the gross and embarrassing. It can be so cathartic to just explode all over the place for a second.
I hate writing groups. I mean, I love them and I hate them at the same time. They have to be absolutely perfect, perfectly aligned stars and people you can trust and maybe there's a sacrificial virgin or two just to be sure....then they are invaluable. Your writing partners need to be completely in sync with you and they have to be as invested in your career as they are in theirs. This is a sort of bond that comes from time and compassion and friendship and trust, and it's almost impossible to find because (no one get grouchy with me please) but writers tend to lean on the side of the dramatic and self-centered. All of our being and all of our precious spare time is going into this one creation that may or may not pay off and asking us to feel that same way about someone else's work is a lot to ask. It's time consuming. Time we could have spent on our own work. And let's be honest, there's a degree of competition there as well. It's hard to uplift someone who has more skill than you do or a better story or a better handle on where there story is going. And not everyone has matured to a professional place where they can support themselves and someone else without feeling jealousy or discouragement. Most writers will get there, but that takes time and a degree of confidence that takes time to attain.
Then as writers we are too in touch with how people feel, it's how we know how to write believable characters, but it makes our own feelings so much more volatile. We're too vulnerable already - the thing we produce isn't just a skill. Imagination is part of the fabric of our identity built out of our own personal experiences, emotions, wishes, desires, and learnings. When people critique that, it's hard...maybe impossible to truly separate that from ourselves. That's why when writing groups aren't a good fit, they can have a singular power to destroy you.
So, getting off my little soap box, your writing partner's theory that because you wrote it for your nephews and not for yourself it won't get picked up makes me want to put out my own eyeballs. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life. It's like saying because you're a girl you can't write about a male main character. Or because a writer hopes to make money, they never will. That's too much writerly voodoo superstition for me to swallow. But I also don't believe in muses or that characters talk to us, so take that for what it's worth.
Here's the thing and again, take it for what it's worth, but it feels like you've opened the flood gates and you're allowing the outside world to submerge you. All of the things bothering you are outside influences, things keeping you from getting down to the heart of the writing. In the end, you don't need a writing group to succeed, you don't need Twitter or your blog, and this is going to break my heart to say, but you also don't need us. Sometimes, like right now all these people running to form a human pyramid of support, we're great for you, but also look at number two, we can also be a burden. And maybe one or two of these things by themselves wouldn't even put a crack in your defensive walls, but all at once and it's too much. Somethings going to give and I really don't want it to be your writing. Maybe some time away from the noise of your writing group and the forums and twitter and your blog and let it just be you and your manuscript would do you some good. Maybe giving up two of those things would help you reconnect. I don't know if it helps to say that what you are feeling is normal and that I go through spastic phases of writing almost nothing to writing 50,000 words in three weeks. Sometimes I look at my work and I don't even know what the hell I'm writing about. Sometimes I think I couldn't possibly have written something that good. I think it is normal. Frustrating, but normal.
I'm taking a writing vacation next week. Just me and a hotel room for 4 days. Can you give yourself something like that?
Also, with my new awesome supervillain powers, I'm perfectly happy to pay your writing group a visit. Let them know what's what. *evil grin*