Tuesday, September 04, 2007

So Here's Something Interesting

(Quick note: the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit (GCC) was mentioned in Sunday's New York Times! Check out the article on author tours.)

So, as I noted last week, I'm back in the swing of writing my manuscript. I took a few months off as we shopped it around - I was able to sell it on the first 100 pages and a synopsis - and I dove back in about two weeks ago. And here's something I've discovered: I'm not so sure how much I actually like writing. Hmmm, interesting isn't it? :)

Let me clarify. I LOVE spending time with the characters in my head. I LOVE crafting obstacles and dialogue and all of that. But for some reason, even as my brain spins in the story - which these days, is almost a constant - I DREAD sitting down and writing. Weird, right??? I mean, I will do just about anything to procrastinate. I get into my office, so full of enthusiasm and ideas and bursting to put them on to the page, and then I open up the document, and I'm just sort of like, "ugh." So I surf every last gossip blog, and I check in on all of my writing forums, and if there's even a teeny-tiny thing that I need to buy, I'll cruise from website to website browsing.

The only way that I get anything done is that I set time deadlines for myself. I nervously eye the clock on the lower-right hand corner, and know that say, as soon as it flips to 10:30, I have to focus, come hell or high water. Once I start writing, I accelerate and all of the ideas snowball, and I'm always glad to have done it (and enjoy doing it too), but for me, I think it's the anticipation of the work ahead that I dread. Sort of like how some people can't stand to think of going to the gym, but once they're there, they dig it.

I actually recently interviewed Peter Hedges, the author of What's Eating Gilbert Grape and the director of the soon-to-be released movie, Dan in Real Life (so good, go see it when it comes out in Oct), and he said something similar. He was trying to wrap up his new novel and had taken a lot of time away from the book to work on the movie. And he said something like, (I'm paraphrasing here), "I always kick myself when I take time off from a manuscript because it's so hard to get back into it. I stare and it and wish that I could get back those months when I did nothing."

So hey, if an incredible writer like Hedges feels the way I do, I can't be that off my rocker, but tell me, do any of you guys feel the way I do? That sometimes, writing is a battle, albeit a necessary and even enjoyable one, but a battle all the same. Am I making sense? Or am I just weird and alone in this? :)

11 comments:

Jennifer Bianco said...

Hi Allison,
I completely agree with you.
I love all the pieces surrounding writing (brainstorming, plotting and even editing), but the actual act of writing I'm not in love with. As a matter of fact, most of the time I detest it. I have five chapters left on my current WIP, and I'm already itching to begin outlining my next story. Not writing it, mind you. Just developing all the juicy bits. :)

kathrynoh said...

I think what makes it hard for me is that I know I'm going to get so far into this other world that takes a big leap to leave the real world behind - it's getting your brain into a whole other space & living in that world for a while. I guess that happens even when you're reading, but when you're writing, you're not just in another world, you're the god of it.

Patti said...

i liken it to going back to school after a long lovely summer. there are new supplies to be happily bought (who doesn't love getting new crayons?), there are new faces to eagerly learn, there are new clothes to wear (and maybe a twirl or two)....and then, as we load up the backpack with all our new goodies, wearing are sparkly clothes, eager to see those new faces, we arrive at school. dangit, school. the long classes, the boring assignments, the mysterious food...

to me it's like that....

Alison Ashley Formento said...

The comments and this post have hit the proverbial nail on the head for me, too. It makes me feel better to know that we all struggle this way—just trying to do the work. Which I must do now.

Trish Ryan said...

I'm so glad it's not just me! I've done two loads of laundry, walked the dog, and organized the bag of clothes to be donated to Goodwill...all because I'm procrastinating. Sigh. You'd think that no matter how challenging a day of writing was, it would still be more fun than organizing the bag of clothes for Goodwill. You'd think...

Karen said...

It's bloodletting. Who wants to make the cut? But then it flows.

Carleen Brice said...

Yeah, it's funny. Some days I love nothing better but sitting at the computer and it flows. But other days.... And there's always procrastination! The first hour of "writing" is reading blogs and checking email and doing anything else I can think of to delay.

I found it helps when I leave myself something to work on the next day. Can't remember who said it now, but some famous writer stopped in the middle of a scene so she wouldn't have to start the next day without knowing what was going on. I don't necessarily do that, but I try to leave myself a note for the next day. How's that for crazy?! Writing notes to my future self.

Distressed Jeans said...

Yes I know how you feel. For me its those endless pages stretched out before me...wondering how I am going to come up with 80,000 words. Its daunting and scary.

What if I run out of steam around page 100? What if I cant finish the book? What if its awful?

I wish I could just channel my thoughts into book format.

xoxo
Cindy

Susan said...

Media Bistro just published an interview with writer Melissa Walker, who echoes your sentiments. She says the high point was selling her novel and the low point was writing her novel!

Allison Winn Scotch said...

Carleen-
That is so funny because that's exactly what I've started doing this week - unintentionally at first, actually: I'd get pulled away and haven't been able to get back to the ms until the next day, and it's SO much easier having a middle point to come back to. I'm going to start doing this regularly.

Susan-Hee! I feel that way exactly!

Sara Hantz said...

YES, Allison. You're so right. I think some people enjoy the process of writing and some people enjoy having written once it's finished! I find myself in the latter category.