Friday, June 19, 2009

The Glass: Half Full, Half Empty, or Cracked?

Writers’ opinions of their work in progress fluctuate like an amusement park ride with an operator methed to the eyeballs. “This might be the best thing I’ve ever written” can change to “What a piece of shit,” and then to “It doesn’t suck” within the course of three days. (Fewer, if certain substances are indulged.)

Inactivity has its own effect. An entire week was lost earlier this month, due to my daughter’s high school graduation and its preparation. During that time, my current WIP was considered (by me) to wander, have pointless dialog, an unconvincing plot, and outdated characters.

The following week saw my usual allotment of AIC (Ass In Chair) time, and perceptions improved. Feedback from my First Listener (aka my Beloved Spousal Equivalent) was good, the characters were fully formed, and what had been holes in the plot became time well spent on character development, though I changed not a word.

This week saw family and social obligations lead to missing four days, and, as I type this, the book sucks watermelons through a garden hose.

What I read also has an effect, though it’s much more unpredictable. Reading dreck on a good day can be disheartening. (How is this schmuck published and I’m not?) Reading dreck on a bad day can be encouraging. (Hell, even shit I wouldn’t read aloud in an empty room is better than this. There must be hope for me.)

Reading a good book on a good day can be inspiring. (This is the caliber of writing I want to do.) Reading a good book on a bad day can be depressing. (What chance do I have if this is the competition?)

No wonder writers drink.


pattinase (abbott) said...

It's all so difficult. Right now, I am finally back at it but writing from the middle out because I fear ending it and having to go through the finding an agent thing. It's becoming like a woman with the biggest waist and skinniest ankles in the world.

Dana King said...

I know what you mean, Patti. I'm now at the point where I've accumulated enough rejections for the current effort that it's time for a new batch of submissions, and I dread it. That's the hidden downside to email submissions. The rejections come in so much faster, you have to get the next batch ready while you're still recovering.