It’s a public holiday in America, which is awesome, because public holidays rock. They’re even better when your boyfriend is working with the American Army, so he got Friday off as well (except it does mean that I spend a lot of time not doing the things I maybe should be doing—like studying for tomorrow’s exam. Oops). Anyway, it means we can all actually be happy about the fact that it’s a Monday (at least, those of us in the USA). It does, however, also tend to mean that I find it hard to do anything more than sit on the couch and catch James up on Sherlock Season 3 so that we can get tingles of anticipation about sinking our teeth into Season 4. The fact that I got this blog post out is a minor miracle.
As will become more and more apparent with some of my upcoming blog posts, I’ve got a lot of different writing ideas kicking around in my head at the moment. It’s an awesome situation to be in, but it presents its own unique set of challenges: namely, getting started. Having a bunch of what you think are pretty cool ideas is a giddy whirlwind of possibility. The problem is, once you start putting pen to paper (or fingers to laptop keyboards, whatever works for you), you can no longer live in the beauty of that possibility: instead, you now have to cope with the necessarily-messy process of creation itself. Don’t get me wrong, this part has a lot of fun in it, but it also demands that you do some bad writing in order to reach the final product—as I’ve said before, it’s a bit unrealistic to think that you’ll reach the final work without some ugly writing in there somewhere.
And that can be demoralising. It’d be naive to think that re-reading through your work—whether that’s to allow you to write the next bit, or as part of your editing process, or just something you like to do with tea and bikkies—is always going to be fun. Newsflash: it’s not. A lot of the time, it’ll be a little bit cringeworthy, maybe deserving of some groaning and eye-rolling and dramatic cries of, “we’re ruined!”
But that means that it makes the good moments even better, because one of the most exciting things about writing is that instant when you can’t help but think, ‘yeah, I got this one right.’ Like I said above, it’s probably not a common feeling. In fact, in my current manuscript, finding a delightful and enjoyable piece of writing is somewhat akin to a sighting of a mythical creature, which is probably part of the reason (in addition to countless plot problems) that my novel is starting to feel a little mouldy, if computer documents can get mouldy. So when those tiny heartbeats of delight happen, I grab them with both hands. I snuggle in close to my work and read it once, or twice. I enjoy the shiver down the spine and sometimes the threatening of more obvious emotions. [Disclaimer: getting teary about your own work isn’t lame. It’s… sensitive. I think].
I allow myself to enjoy the fact that there is something I’ve written that resonates with me.
It may not survive the second round of editing—or even the first, depending on how strong I’m feeling—but it provided a bright spark, a wonderful and tantalising reminder that sometimes, even if it doesn’t feel like it’ll ever happen again, I’ll get it right. Take the time to enjoy the exciting bits of your writing, to wallow in them for a little bit: after all, we all need some encouragement sometimes!