Friday, May 27, 2011

Suffering from ISS? Don't Worry: There is a Cure!

So, last night I got in a funk. I was reading my work and thinking, "Wow, this sucks." My critique group loves it. Friends say they love it. Why can't I believe them? Turns out I had a short (but awful) case of ISS, or I Suck Syndrome. It was as if some nagging, whiny, hurtful, and hateful hag infiltrated my thoughts and actions.

Amongst my tumultuous ranting I started thinking about the publishing industry; how the odds aren't in my favor. I started to think about how I am not happy with some of the parts of my story, etc. I won't go into too much detail (there may have been some screaming and crying), but I will tell you the outcome.

I had sent the first chapter to a friend/ fellow YA reader early yesterday morning and she replied in my hour of need. Not only did she give an awesome critique, but she ended with:  "This is brilliant! But I'm sure you already know that." (HA! If she only knew). "You inspire me. Your drive is almost inhuman, and I wish I had some of it. I can't wait to see where your future takes you. You are going places for sure." Little did she know, but she had just given me the cure for ISS; a healthy dose of encouragement.

And you know what? She's right! If it's one thing I have on my side, it is stubbornness and tenacity. I can fix the parts of my story that I don't like. I can push back the fears of facing the publishing industry. I can tune out that negative voice that threatens to take my sanity. These are things I can do. Things I actually have control over. And yes, this novel may not get published, but that's not why I wrote it. I wrote my novel because I have a story to tell, and it needed to be written. Do I hope/wish/pray it will be published? Of course.

I know every writer will tell you just how special writing is to them. How in a world where no one understands or "gets" you, your characters always do. They are there for you when you want to give up. They take control of your brain until you have to tell their story.

Sometimes a temper tantrum is necessary to get you over a hurdle. Writing is hard. It tests your drive, your patience, and your skill. But most of all, it tests your faith in yourself.

Sorry that I have rambled on and on, but if you are suffering through ISS, persevere! You have a fabulous writing community that will be there to help you get through it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

First Draft High =)

I have been missing for a month! But, I have a very good reason as to why:  I am almost done with the first draft of my novel (yes, you can probably hear me screaming for joy from wherever you are) and it is probably the most challenging thing I've ever done. I just finished graduate school in May, and I don't think writing my thesis was as hard as writing a novel. I had a year to do my sampling and collect data and then writing it was the easy part. I actually wrote it in about 20 hours over the course of two weeks.

Writing a novel is hard. It makes you happy, sad, fearful, anxious, gives you ISS (I Suck Syndrome), and tests your drive. Luckily, I persevered and it is a fabulous feeling. I am about 8k words away from saying "I HAVE A FINISHED NOVEL!!" Albeit a crappy first draft, but a draft I can work with. I cannot WAIT for revisions. I know some of you may think I'm nuts, but I love to revise. I was a journalist for a few years and then did technical/scientific writing, and revising has always been more fun for me than drafting.

So I guess this blog post is an apology for my lack of posts, but also to share my good news.

Tell me some of your good news! Or tell me what part of the writing process you like most; drafting, or revising? Or something else? I would love to know =)