Sometimes I think, life is just a rodeo. The trick is to ride and make it to the bell.
Lately, writing to me has felt a lot like the opening lyric to "Rock & Roll Girls". If you substitute 'life' with 'writing', it pretty much sums up the death of a thousand paper cuts that I'm going through with my writing.
I started off 2011 with a basic plan: submit LINE 21 to the publishing masses (be they agents or publishers) and continue working on DANDELION TEARS. For the first four months, it worked out pretty well. I did a few submissions and added a few thousand words to my latest project.
However, when summer rolled around, I some how, some way, deviated from the plan. Once I got the last of my agent rejections, I stopped submitting my novel, and it wasn't because of the rejections accrued (long gotten used to that). I think it was more to the fact that when I decided to start submitting directly to the publishers it meant that I had to create multiple re-formatted versions.
So I found myself in the type of quandary that I did when I was creating my query letter and synopsis. If you recall, it took me about a month or so of poking and prodding myself until I finally said, "F this!", sat down at my computer and hammered out three rough drafts of each and then the final product.
Not really wanting to face the inevitable just yet, I put that issue on the back burner and turned my attention to my writing.
Problem: I gradually lost the incentive and the drive to write DANDELION TEARS. Solution: work on something else. Sounds ridiculously simple, but in my world, it wasn't. I pulled A LASCIVIOUS LIMBO out of my container of unfinished stuff and made another attempt at writing. Since I found myself in with the same problem as before (needing to write a wake, a funeral, a suicide and a semi-HEA ending), I decided to do the next best thing: apply all 108 pages of editing notes to the manuscript and print out a fresh copy.
While that needed to be done, I still had the problem of not writing. Now I don't know about you, but the last fresh and completed story that I wrote was about a year ago this month, when I applied the last of the edits to LINE 21. Going a whole year without writing something to completion to me is like riding a bull to seven and a half seconds and then being tossed off.
So I came up with the semi-original idea of tweaking a few of my old stories (all of which I wrote and completed in 2009) in the vain hope of trying to get them published. I did succeed with one of my stories that I wrote during Halloween week 2009, so buoyed with that success, I tweaked another one and submitted that to the same e-zine that published my previous one.
Still left me with the same problem: no original writing. Try as I might, whenever I sat down to work on A LASCIVIOUS LIMBO, I was still faced with the daunting task of writing what I needed to write in order to finish it. At this point, the original story that was serving as an outline had fulfilled its purpose as there were only four pages or so left to use and I've read them so many times that I got the damn thing memorized.
At this point, you can probably guess that I'm doing everything under the sun to avoid opening the file to work on my book. I did complete a chapter prior to all of this pathetic nonsense, but now I'm stuck. No writer's block, just stuck.
I'm almost ready to cry Uncle Elizabeth and simply resign myself to the fact that no original writing is gonna ooze from pen any time this year. But I do have one more trick pony up my sleeve.
Mr. Grainger was kind enough to forward me a PDF file of his fantastic e-chapbook called "The Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles" last week for me to peruse and partake at my leisure. Which is what I did last weekend, and I so thoroughly enjoyed it that I promised to write a review of it. Hopefully writing a review of his e-chapbook will somehow provide the nudge that will allow me to start writing again.
After all, writing original offbeat prose has gotten me to where I am today and I would hate to think that 2011 winds up becoming my Waterloo because I wasn't able to think of anything original to write about.