Friday, August 31, 2007

The Last Excuse (I hope)

About a month ago I told myself that after Labor Day I’d try to start a new novel.  But that’s not going to happen.

A week from today I have to have minor surgery.  I know that leaves me Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but I can’t concentrate because I’m nervous about the surgery.  Maybe others wouldn’t be, but I am and that’s that.

So I’ll start on September 10th.  How do I feel about that?  Anxious.

I also hate to give up all the reading time I’ve had these last months and months.  Despise having to get on a schedule.  I know I posted awhile back that I wouldn’t have to be on one, but I know me.  I need that structure.

I’m not going to be able to take my laptop down to the new Starbucks and sip coffee and write.  That’s a fantasy.  I’m going to be right here, staring at a blank page in Word on my nice flat Xerox screen.  During my writing hours I’m not going to peek at email or log on to Sarah Weinman's Blog to see what I should read next.  And I can’t check Ed Gorman's Blog for interesting reflections or pop over to A Writer's Life to see if Lee Goldberg is writing about me again.  I kid my Lee. 

Nope can’t do any of that stuff.  I have to sit here from nine to noon, or a little later, and tap out what I can.  Yes, I have an idea.  I still don’t know if it’s viable, but I have give it a try.

If it ends up like my last attempt, 200 pages or so and not being able to finish, I don’t know what I’ll do.  I won’t swear that I’ll hang up my computer, but I might.

The lure of writing that 20th novel is still with me.  I’m going to give it my best shot.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Eye of the Beholder

Lee Goldberg has posted his response to my blog of the last few months.  He’s upset that my posts have been down.  He writes: “I find her posts disturbing and sad”.

I tried to tell him that my blog is about the ups and downs of this writer’s life.  I’m not going to write positive posts when there’s nothing positive to say at the moment.

Lee also writes, “It's unpleasant to see her in such a self-defeating, bitter retreat.”  Unpleasant?  Where does it say that I have to be pleasant? Self-defeating?  I don’t see it that way.  Should I get some positive mantra?  Should I lie on this blog and write only good thoughts?  Bitter?  Well, perhaps some are bitter.  The ones about publishing probably are.  On the other hand I don’t see them that way.  I see them as telling it like it is.

I state at the top of my blog that the blog is about writing and not writing, good and bad days.  It’s true that my bad days have lasted for quite a long time now, but I think that’s important for other writers to read.  To see that they’re not alone.  Because if Lee thinks I’m the only writer who feels this way he’s living in a dream world.

He goes on to write, “And I'm not so sure it's healthy for her career to be posting about it on her blog...then again, that's probably exactly why she's doing it.”

Healthy for my career? At this stage of my life I don’t think this way.  Lee is a completely different kind of writer than I am and probably it wouldn’t be good for his career to post some of the feelings I have, if he had them. Lee is in the middle of his career, and it doesn’t have a lot to do with the publishing world that I deal with.  This is not to put Lee down but merely to explain that our careers live in two different worlds.

“then again that’s probably why she’s doing it”?  What does that mean?  I’m writing these posts to make my career healthy?  I don’t get that.

I think Lee entirely misses the humor in these posts.  Many people don’t.  That’s not to say that the humor mitigates what I feel.  I recognize the humor in my thoughts as well as the plain ordinary truth of what I’m feeling.

In his response to my comment he writes, “Read your posts. They are bleak and depressing.”  So what?  I don’t see them that way, but even if that’s true, so what?  Does Lee want me to put on a happy face?

He writes that even when the posts aren’t about myself I express, “dark views about the state of publishing.”  Don’t we published writers know that the state of publishing is dreadful?  Why shouldn’t I write about that?  That might be helpful to a new writer who is getting rejection after rejection.

Lee writes, “Surely there are some "ups" in your writing life (or in your thoughts)

Well, no, Lee.  If there were, I’d post about these ups as I have in the past. And if any come along (as I hope they will) I’ll post them immediately.

To be fair to Lee he says some very nice things about me as a writer.  And I thank him for that.

Lee, you’ll be the first to know when I start a new novel.  And I hope that’s soon.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Baker's Blog

What phases are involved in the creation of a text?  This is the question John Baker asked a number of writers to answer.

He’s been posting them since July. There are a lot of interesting answers, descriptions of the way a writer works.   Many have things in common, some are different, all are worth reading.

Well, sure … I’m there, too.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Why?

Why am thinking about writing this book that I’ve had in the back of my mind for a few months?  What do I know about the things I’d have to include?  Who would be interested in this? 

I’ve said to myself and maybe here that I would probably start after Labor Day.  That’s 21 days away.  On Labor Day I’d be facing writing the next day. When I think of that it makes me sick.

If I start in September and don’t have interuptions (this has never happened) it’ll take me four to six months to complete a first draft.  And another one or two to rewrite.

And then what?  Give it to my agent?  She’ll hate it.  So maybe I’ll have to find another agent.  Not easy.  Or maybe my agent will decide to try and sell it.

Nobody will buy it.  Or even if somebody does it will fall through the cracks and three people will read it.

Why bother?

I’m going back to bed.