Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Eyes Have It and Other Things

I don’t write things here that are personal unless it has to do with writing.  But I think the fact that I’m having eye surgery on Tuesday qualifies.  This past week it has been impossible to write except for Monday as I’ve had one appointment after another.  I’ve never been able to write when I’m constanly interrupted.

The week before I did get two chapters done. And I liked them.  I still don’t know how I’m going to get where I want to go but maybe it’ll come to me after the surgery.  I have no idea how soon I’ll be able to see the computer screen again but I’m sure it won’t be more than a week or two.  Maybe not even that.  When I asked my doctor he said he didn’t know.  Very reassuring, as they always are.

Am I nervous about this?  Yes.  But I’m told it’s not a big deal.  Still, my niece, who is a nurse, says any surgery is a big deal.  I tend to believe her.  You never know.  Fortunately I won’t be under a general anesthetic so that cuts the risk way down.  But it’s my eye.  The doctor, to CHA I’m sure, told me that I could go blind, but that it happens in very, very rare cases.  Oh, good.

Meanwhile it’s been brought to my attention that Lee Goldberg sees my posts about writing as me being in agony.  I know I sometimes go over the top in writing about my troubles with writing so I guess I’d better make it clear.  I love writing probably as much as Lee does.  There’s nothing else I’d rather do except be able to sing like Barbra Streisand.  I’m not sure I find it fun…except on those rare occasions when it all clicks. And I certainly find it more fun than taking tolls on the thruway.  Any thruway.  Writing is more fun than working at a fast food place.  Or waiting on tables.  Or taking movie tickets.  Or being a stockbroker, or being in real estate.  Writing is more fun than being an electrician, or a plumber.  Or being in politics.  This is how it is for me.

But it’s hard.  I’m not a writer who hates it because it’s lonely.  I don’t find it lonely.  I like being alone.  In fact, having worked in the theatre and on a few movies that never got made, I know I’d rather be a novelist than a playwright or screenwriter.  I don’t like to collaborate.  But as Lee says, ( and I’m paraphrasing) I’ve been fairly successful and it’s never enough.

Some of you are at the very beginning of your careers, some in the middle.  I’m guessing Lee’s in the middle.  I’m coming down the homestretch.  Not that I’ll ever retire. But where once I wrote ten pages a day I now write maybe five.  And at the beginning and the middle I always had an idea I’d rather be working on than the one I was doing.  That doesn’t seem to be true anymore.  It’s harder to get ideas.  Harder to sit in my chair for three or four hours a day.  Still, I always made my deadlines right up to the last one I had.   Now I don’t have one.  After publishing 19 books I’m writing my 20th on spec.

Mark Terry on Lee’s blog says in a comment about all this “Sure. It's easy. Just like brain surgery. “  I love that.  Diana says “I suffer these insecurities about my writing every single day. At least she has been published!”  But that’s just the point.  It doesn’t matter that I’ve been published.  Of course it matters, I mean I’d rather have these troubles as a published writer than one who never has been published.  But the feelings don’t change.  And the idea that I or any other published writer should be through with these feelings doesn’t fly.  I’m sure when Diana gets published she’ll still suffer insecurities.  And Keith Snyder says, “Creative hell beats boredom. I've never been bored writing a book.”  Neither have I.  I don’t think anyone would find an allusion to boredom while writing, anywhere in my blog.  There are lots of other interesting responses to Lee’s post.  Take a look.

Now that I approach a possible time period when I can’t write I, of course, want to do it more than ever.  In a rational state I know I’ll get back to writing this 20th novel (20 was always my goal) and deep down I’ll love doing it, but I’ll still have problems and insecurities.  And I  know that’s okay.  That’s the way it goes for me.

I’ll be seeing you.

 

12 comments:

lynn said...

Interesting. Wish you well. Twenty huh? I'm still waiting for my first publisher. Groan.

Richard said...

Sandra,
Good luck and a quick recovery from the surgery! You'll be back in the saddle before you know it.

tess gerritsen said...

Sandra,
Good luck with the surgery! And as for writer's angst, I'm currently having 20th-book blues. The reason we obsess and wring our hands is that we CARE about how good the book will turn out. If we didn't care we wouldn't be so tormented.

Jurgen said...

best of luck with the operation. i've followed your thoughts with interest. these days the publishers seem to expect us to do all the marketing ourselves--but without those big advances you were mentioning!

ORION said...

I am so glad I found this blog. My first book is being shopped as we speak and I agonize!
I need to hear these things...
Thank you

said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lanzi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
xw said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
qwe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
fangyan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
yanhui said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
rhtehe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.