Thursday, May 25, 2006

Funny....what my radio show does...for me

Here's basically what I wrote this afternoon to two writer friends who are are my critique group:

I am So unmotivated to work on my novel right. I have almost 300 pages, but I find my story boring and I'm not quite sure what to do right now. Or what to do with it.

I've tried thinking of what I would tell my students.

I would say, you've got almost 300 pages! Oy vey! Just finish!

Or I'd say, take a break. Maybe you need some time away from it.

Thing is, I Have been taking a break. I have been knitting. And reading (just read Aria by Susan Segal. I LOVE this novel. If you love opera, or even if you don't--if you love literary fiction, read it!).

What can you say to someone who feels like they have all the answers, who can rationalize up the Empire State Building and back down, and still have more reasons why?

I've written two unpublished novels, prior to Pen on Fire (which obviously did get published, after a million months and a ton of work and a ton of faith that it would. Does faith weigh anything?).

My two unpublished novels....thank God they never were. Now I would consider them embarrassments.

Oh, and I have one novel, 100 pages in, a mystery, that I stopped when I learned I was pregnant and was afraid of continuing because I feared I would scare my baby in utero. So I started and finished my 2nd complete but unpublished novel.

So now I'm 300 pages into a new novel and I think, so what? I think: But publishing is so harrrrrrrd.....



And then I left to do my radio show. I talked to Susan Segal, author of Aria, the novel I mentioned above that I like so much, and Diana Abu-Jabar, a talented novelist and memoirist whose work I also love, and who has such a great sense of humor--in person and in her writing.

And after my show I felt rejuvenated. And felt like I wanted to work on my novel some more. Strangely, I imagined I felt the way people feel who listen to my show, or to the podcasts of my show, and write to me and say how much they love listening.

Today I loved listening.

(The show will go up next Tuesday.)

I asked Diana what happens when you get bored with your own work and want to quit?

She laughed. She said I must have been in her office with her today.


It's a great show. Do listen, esp. if you ever feel this way.

You just have to keep the publishing industry at bay and you have to write because you have to write. So simplistic. And so true. Writing is the antidote to all these crappy self-loathing feelings.


Lacy: Who Needs a Hat To Sing? said...

I'm glad to hear even the professionals feel that way!

jordan said...

Stop thinking about it and just do it. A glass of Pinot Grigio is permitted to prime the pump - to grease the wheels - to break inertia - to start the engine - to knead the dough - to proof the yeast - to light the fuse. The writing will probably stink but you'll be too numb to notice or care.

Lynn Green said...

I used to do some writing, but other things began to absorb my energies. I teach high school English. I'm involved in politics (Democratic). I work in union activities. I'm on our church's board of Deacons. Still, I miss doing my journal. I write an occasional poem about my wife who is an constant source of inspiration. But I never seem to have energy to do something significant.
(I've bookmarked your blog.)

allesandra said... fire the cracker - to poop the deck - to pump the iron - to weed the lawn.

sue said...

nothing breaks the inertia of starting like just starting. sometime's when it feels hard, or resistance appears, it's because i'm avoiding something emotionally. the only way i've found to get past this is to just basically "puke" out all the cringe worthy stuff on the page, let the chips fall where they may, keep putting down words, setting a time i have to write for if necessary, and figure i can edit it all later. sometimes a wrong turn 100 or more pages back has to just be copied and pasted to the "future possible story" file... just keep typing !

Leslea said...

Your show does that for me. It is like medicine for the anti-creative impulse...the "slug" impulse.

I am ten pages away from finishing the (first) edit of my draft, and about to take research trip...your show has a lot to do with my willingness to keep pushing on with this project despite not knowing any novelists, not having a support group or writing group, having the weight of being the primary wage earner for my household, despite having young children, etc...

Never underestimate the power of Writers on Writing! :)