Tuesday, March 4, 2014

When you drown

I have a complicated relationship with writing.

Most people who know me know that I'm a very fast writer. Some people think I pride myself on this or think finishing quickly with lots of words is some kind of accomplishment. That's not the case. I write fast because when I'm writing, I'm drowning, and at some point I need to breathe.

Recently I returned to a story of mine that I haven't read in a long time, tuning it up for my agent, and as soon as I opened the book I remembered how overwhelming this character's experiences tend to be for me. It's an emotionally exhausting experience to invite the character's perspective and swim around in her mind, and while I'm glad it's so immersive (since that's what allows me to write authentically, I think), it's also ridiculously draining on the mental resources I have left when I surface.

I'm going to have to return to this perspective sometime soon to write the sequel, and I'll have to spend some time voluntarily drowning again. I expect to plow through the drafting of that book like usual, because I have to limit my time in that mindset or it will be terrible for me long-term. That's daunting, to be honest. I love writing, but I know exactly what will happen. How useless I'll be and how crushing it will be to write what's coming for this character.

But what also happened while I was reading was that I remembered how much I want to share this story with the world. I want to find that editor match with someone who connects with the character--the way my agent did--and through that match, bring these experiences out into the world. I want people to meet this character and learn about her world. I want to share it. I sometimes feel like I bled for this story. And even though I would have bled for the story even if nobody ever read it--and will continue to do so--I've just reached a point where the need for others to feel this story has become a really compelling ache for me.

I don't know why it's now.

But I'm suddenly full of renewed longing and hope for getting this story home.

1 comment:

  1. It does sound exhausting. I'm a relatively slow writer--took me about 10 months to write 130k words. I had about a pretty long break within that period (1-2 months) and even when I was done I still needed a couple of months off before I really got into another story. I was just drained.
    It can be taxing, but I agree that it's also both overwhelming and in a way rewarding.

    I'm assuming you're speaking about Bad Fairy--I know it's going to have a home some day soon. And I can't wait to read it :D