Thursday, April 25, 2013

Day #9011 - Just Jump In, Already!

When I'm feeling stuck with my writing, I like to read about writing and seek out as much advice as I can on how to make it work.

Needless to say, I do a lot more reading about writing than actual writing these days. And it comes down to one simple reason: I'm terrified. I've had very little success on this journey in the grand scheme of things, and I do so much dreaming and have so many ideas but then when I do have time to face the page, everything comes out all wrong and awful and it SUCKS.

But enough of that crap. I'm sick of being scared, so I'm taking to my writing in the same way I've had to take on other aspects of my life in the last few months: just jump on in and hope to God I figure something out along the way.

It's actually all thanks to the authors I've been lucky enough to meet. Meg Cabot signed a book for me along with a card stating that I'm the world's best librarian and suggested to start small - make it your goal to write at least one page a day and if you do that, you'll have a 60,000/200 page manuscript in 6 months, maybe less. I met my critique partner at a Maggie Stiefvater signing where the author gave the advice to write the story you've always wanted to read but haven't found on a bookshelf.

But really, the debut authors are the ones who have gotten my butt in gear. I look at my signed copy of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and remember how excited she was to be on her first tour for her first book, how cool she was and supportive and how I left believing in myself. I remember Jen Bosworth, author of Struck, who had an idea that maybe others thought was wacky but she went with it and it was incredible. And they were both so nice to me, and it meant the world.

Which is why I finally feel ready to face my latest idea. There have been two ideas duking it out in my head for the last few months while I've been terrified. One is fun, contemporary, so completely me (or at least who I've always thought writing-me is/would be) and I started writing it last summer, got 100 pages in, got stuck, recently reread it and figured out what I need to change, except I still can't get it to work the way I want it to. I mean, I know first drafts are supposed to be shitty, but I can't even get enough to work on the page to even approach shitty.

All the while, there's been this other idea that is just so not me. It's science fiction-y, dystopian-but-not, delves into a lot of social and political issues and I can't believe this idea ever came out of me. I mean, this idea is so BIG and it terrifies me because I want to do it justice. I love that this weirdness came out of me, but can I make it work? I think this could be something different, special, or maybe just completely crazy. And I want to see where it goes, so I'm just going to jump in already and let that other idea incubate for a little while longer. I have no doubt it could work someday, it just needs more time to simmer. In the meantime, I have this THING that is just SO WEIRD that I need to see where it goes.

After all, if Leigh can turn the Darkness into a villain in a world with beauty and magic and passion and all the feels and Jen can have a girl who's addicted to getting struck by lightning stuck in a battle between two warring religious cults in the middle of the apocalypse, maybe my idea isn't so crazy. Maybe it would be right at home with these other ones and this is me finally finding a voice that will be heard.

So, on the count of three. 1...2...God help me 3!