Saturday, September 13, 2008

The most intimidating thing in the world for me as a writer...

Some people have an illusion that writers sit down at a computer, start typing, and fart out the Great American (or British...or Scottish...or Tibetan...) Novel with all the effort it takes normal people to mop a floor, but with infinitely more glamor.

As I grow as a writer, I am certainly seeing just how far from the truth that really is. Writing is hard. It's stressful. It's aggravating.

A lot of people say they want to write. They have an idea, a thought, or maybe they just like the glamorous idea of having their name on the cover of a New York Times Bestseller (wouldn't we all love that?). They say, "someday I'll write this." I've often wondered, what are they waiting for? Or, more appropriately, what are you afraid of?

As I near the end of my current fantasy novel, in what I sincerely hope will the last total rewrite, the task of writing is almost done. After this, it's revision, rewriting (scenes, not the whole thing), and generally getting it polished enough to see the light of day. But for the most part, the end is in sight. It's edging towards 120,000 words, and could wind up in the vicinity of 140,000 by the time I'm done (so much for being done at 120,000...), much of which will have to be scraped off in order it a saleable novel.

I've put 11 years (off and on), countless sleepless nights (yes, really), and I would venture to guess close to 1,000,000 words (most of which have been deleted) into this book. I have created characters, grown to know those characters almost like I know real people, killed some of them, even erased some of them from existence.

But I'm close to the end.

Which brings me to: What comes next?

What comes next? Besides revising and trying to publish this book -- what comes next next book. I have several other ideas in store, waiting in the wings for their time on ye olde word processor.

And that brings me to the most intimidating thing in the world for me, as a writer. Deep down, I think it may also be what keeps many wannabe writers from writing.

So, what intimidates me more than anything else in the world?

Maybe that seems silly and ridiculous to some people...but there you have it.

A blank screen. Chapter 1. Flashing cursor. Go.

The journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step. I think that first step is the scariest.

1 comment:

  1. Blank paper scares me.

    I do all first drafts on Paper (can you believe that?) but the sentiment is the same. I scare the crap out of myself staring at it trying to turn this scrap of paper that could just as easily become a scribble pad for a toddler or a chewing apparatus for my cat into something that is worthy of another person spending a portion of their life reading, knowing that whatever time anonymous people may invest into reading my words is time that they will never get back so I don't want to waste it.

    Oh yeah blank paper scares the fuck out of me.