Author’s Log: #IWSG and Random Ramblings

stevemartin Writing is funny thing. Not funny-lol, just funny peculiar. One day we’re flying high, the awesome in the proverbial sauce. The next we plummet to Earth with a big ol’ SPLAT. One day we’re burning the keyboard to charcoal hunk with the fierceness of our productivity, the next we’re staring at the blinking Cursor of Doom like a writer trying to figure out a math problem.

Good days, bad days. Up, down, up, down, up, do–

Jane! STOP THIS CRAZY THING!

Honestly. No wonder so many of our brilliant forebears hit the Absinthe a mite too enthusiastically. It’s exhausting, this writing gig.

Don’t get me wrong: I loves it, precious, and all that. I can’t not do it–to make the attempt is to implode from the need of getting the stories out, so they let me sleep at night, straight jacket and all.

But, yeah. Exhausting. Liberating pent up emotions is often that way. It was the same when I was a dramaturg (where all maladjusted misfits who can’t afford therapy end up). As soon as I keyed into what made a character tick I tended to drive off like Ferris with the Ferrari. I find myself pushing myself through to a breakthrough when I’m writing–beat up those characters until they can’t be beat no more, and then hit ’em again.

Search for the pain. Root it out. Rub salt in the wound. Mock them. Punch your fist through their chest and rip out their still beating hearts. Dig them a hole so you can take them even lower, to the core. Tap into your own pain, and make it resonate.

And then find a way for them to rise above, to WIN. Make them fly, and take your readers with them.

There’s nothing better. But you can’t take your characters (and readers) to the highest point, until you take them to their lowest. You have to take them to Hell before you can take them to the stars.

If you’re doing it right, and you’re writing deep and hot enough to scar, the experience can be cathartic. But it can also take it out of you. And doing it over and over again can be difficult on your equilibrium.

So take a break. Walk away for awhile between drafts or even scenes if it’s a particularly difficult one. Refresh yourself. Do something silly and fun. Get your balance back.

Because then you’re going to be sending the thing to Beta readers, or agents, or an editor. And the emotional rollercoaster starts all over again, in another way, and you still have to keep writing.

IWSG

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13 thoughts on “Author’s Log: #IWSG and Random Ramblings

    1. catemorgan says:

      Ah, yes–farming. One eye on the skies, the other on the ground. And prayer. Lots and lots of prayer, for possibly very little payoff. You’re so right, Jess!

      Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

  1. Far Away Eyes says:

    Hey catemorgan, nice to meet you. Charlie and Ferris all on one blog post – we could become good friends. It’s the’ keepin’ on’ that keeps most writers going and I’m no exception.

    1. catemorgan says:

      I was hoping to crowbar in a Doctor Who or Whedon reference, but the opening just wasn’t there–maybe next week!

      Thanks for stopping in, and for the comment. Nice to know not all my references are going awry, all underappreciated. 🙂

  2. ChemistKen says:

    You’re not kidding about those ups and downs. I can experience several of them during the course of a single day. But after a good night’s sleep, I’m always ready to jump back in and keep writing. Thanks for sharing with the IWSG.

    1. catemorgan says:

      I seem to experience them every 1,000 words or so these days–gets a little crazy sometimes, but I don’t want to do anything else!

      Thanks for dropping in, Ken!

  3. chancelet says:

    Sometimes you have to take that break and try not to let it bother you. Pretty soon, I’m sure, the characters will start to politely knock on your consciousness, start to bam and then begin to break down the doors. That’s when the writing thing happens again! But, the fear is always, what if they don’t start knocking again, even tapping, or what if we don’t hear them because other priorities are closing your ears to them?

    As proclaimed writers, the characters will eventually force their way through…when it’s time.

    1. catemorgan says:

      They DO get a mite violent if you ignore them for too long, don’t they. “But I’m not ready to write that story yet.” Characters: “Too bad–WE’RE ready. Ever seen Misery?”

      Thanks so much for taking the time to stop on by!

  4. cluculzwriter says:

    I loved your line, “If you’re doing it right, and you’re writing deep and hot enough to scar, the experience can be cathartic.” It’s so right-on, so essential to any good story.

    Nice to meet you, Cate. Glad you’re here with us at IWSG.

  5. cefrancies says:

    So true. Writing can be both traumatic and exhilarating, and sometimes at the same time! But working through that grief, joy, euphoria, and pain can often produce something really meaningful if you ride it out to the end. Yet we need to pull away and recover in between to keep from keeling over or being completely overwhelmed. Great advice. Good luck.

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