I’m sitting here banging my head against the desk trying to figure out what to write. This isn’t a new occurrence for me. Oddly enough, I feel like I do it almost every day. Maybe that’s why I get so many headaches.
So there’s this myth out there that writers know what to write. That ideas are running crazy in our heads just hammering to get out and be put to words. Well, the idea part might be true, but there is a whole lot of white space between an idea and a finished novel. Filling up the pages is the hard part and sometimes it’s pure torture.
There are some books that seem to fly onto the pages, but I’ve found those to be a rarity. And never, ever has the entire book just landed on the screen in polished glory after one draft waiting to be delivered to my editor who gushes how wonderful it is and has no edits for me. Ha! Wow, that is one hell of a dream.
So yeah, most of what I write often comes out feeling like crap to me. More often than not, every word I type feelings like I had to drag it across a pit of hot coals to get it on the page only to hit the backspace key a second later and erase it anyway. And no matter how well a book is going, I inevitably reach a point where I’m positive it is all crap. Every word, scene, sentence—all of it! Crap!
Of course, next comes the truly brutal part which is cleaning up the crap I dumped on the pages the first time around. Now I have to “edit” it. Make it flow. Keep the story together. Track the character arcs. Hit the turning points. Get rid of echoes and repetitive sentence structures. Yada, yada, yada.
And then I do it again. And again. And again until either the damn book is due or I call it quits and toss it. Sometimes into the circular file and sometimes into cyberspace via an agent or editor. Sometimes I say a prayer. Most times I just grab a drink or two or well, okay, three.
I won’t even go into the rounds of validation either. I’m talking about when you get that email back from said editor or agent confirming that yes, you submitted crap. Oh the joy of overhauling the crap you’ve already plowed through more times than you can count.
And now I’ve successfully filled up this blog post with four hundred words of crap. Yeah, me! And this is the writing life, one crappy word at a time.