Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tightrope Walking


Yesterday, Therese blogged about kicking herself in the butt and entering Writer's Boot Camp. She had that vague pit-sinking feeling you get when you've been frittering away time instead of working on the wip.

I, on the other hand, have the opposite problem. Creature of habit that I am, I get up most every day at the same time and stare at the screen whether or not I have something to write. Inevitably I'll slap down some crap I'll end up deleting anyway in rewrites. I'm also something of a tinkerer, and I'll tinker and tinker the life out of a passage until I want to vomit, and yet I can't stop polishing. Sick, I know. [Aside: John Robert Lennon was featured in Sunday's NYTBR; he'd written a short story about a writer who'd kept editing her novel until she was left with only a haiku. It cut frighteningly close.]

So in my own way I've been eating up just as much time as Therese. I've got a jumble of words that need sorting. You've heard me whine about it here and here ad nauseum.

The muse is a fragile thing. Sometimes I think it's ok to take an extended break away from writing and let it recharge. But we're trying to chisel our way into a business that's pretty unforgiving toward creative people who want or need space for their writing. Ask Laura Kinsale.

And so the anxiety piles up.

The writer walks a tightrope between the fantasies in our brains and the reality of our lives. I don't pretend to know the best way to write a book, because every project I've tackled has been messy. Maybe that's what we have to accept. Each book has its own special flavor of frustration.

I'm looking forward to following Therese's experience with Boot Camp. When she's on the other side of it, we'll compare how Boot Camp measures up against the editing method I'm using this summer, Holly Lisle's One-Pass Manuscript Revision process. Hopefully we'll have something valuable to share other than commiseration.



4 Comments:

Blogger Therese Walsh said...

Love this artwork. It looks like Tim Burton abducted Irene Haas.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Old_Navy_Babe said...

The artwork is beautiful!

10:39 PM  
Blogger Kathleen Bolton said...

Thanks! I got it from Google images: keyword Tightrope. It just popped up. I'm sure I'm violating some copywrite...I hope Johnny Law doesn't find me!

8:06 AM  
Blogger Elena Greene said...

Yes, that is beautiful artwork.

And yes, it's a tightrope between pampering the muse and driving her too hard. Here's to all of us who are walking/teetering/occasionally falling off and getting back on!

4:39 PM  

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