Becoming a writer is a journey. It doesn’t happen overnight, though I wish it did. It takes a hell of a lot of work, both of the pen to paper, learning the craft kind, but also of the internal, emotional struggles kind.
I’ve spent a lot of time putting pen to paper (er, fingers to keyboard – god, that just doesn’t have the same poetry, does it?). I’ve completed an 80,000 word first draft, and I’ve revised it once and am currently working on draft three. I’ve even done fits and starts of two other books (another dsytopian novel and my Mississippi** novel, remember that one?).
I’ve also started doing a lot of work of the learning the craft kind. I’ve read dozens of books on the subject, internalizing the lessons of each one and slowly beginning to put them into practice.
The book I’m currently reading is called The Plot Whisperer. It’s a good book on the craft, with some really good exercises to make you look deeply at your plot. But it also forces you to address your own writer’s journey. And in that way, it has inspired today’s post. She asks that you answer the following questions about yourself and I figured, hey, why not answer them on the internet, for the whole word to see? What could be more painful than that??
So here you go: my answers. If you’re feeling up to it, I’d love to hear your answers as well!
Writer’s Emotional Development Profile
What is your writing goal?
I want to publish a novel. I want that novel to be successful. I want to make enough money to support myself by just being a writer. I want to write something worthwhile, something that might win prizes. Basically, I want it all.
What stands in the way?
Agents, publishers, readers. Ha, just kidding. Kind of. Seriously though. My own reluctance to write at times. The day to day bullshit that gets in the way of just sitting down and writing. Migraines. My struggles with revision. The million other writers trying to get an agent. The luck of the draw element in actually getting an agent. The publishing schedule that editors have to stick to. The “I like it but it’s just not what I’m looking for” response that I’ve heard so many writers get from agents.
What do you stand to lose if you’re not successful?
I’ll have to go back to being a lawyer. Dear god. Let’s not even talk about it. I’ll lose the flexibility of being a writer, the sense of being my own boss, the control I have over my life. I’ll have to go back to working a 9-5 job (or, rather, a 9 am – 3 am job). I’ll lose the ability I have to spend lots of time with Adeline and with the next little one. I’ll have to give up on my dream.
Name some of your flaws as they have to do with your writing
Sometimes I procrastinate and can’t make myself just sit down and write. (But once I do, I can go along pretty well.) I don’t like pre-plotting, so I can get a little lost in the middle. I hate revision. I like the flow of writing a first draft, so I struggle with the hard look that revision requires. I want to just write it and be done.
Name some of your strengths
Once I get going, I can really write. I’m good at accessing the inspiration and once it’s there, I can allow myself to let it just flow. I have a lot of big ideas and, if I can access them, they do me well. I’m not a quitter. When I’ve really set my mind to something, I usually accomplish it.
Name some things you hate about writing
Name some things you love about writing
The feeling you get when the inspiration is really flowing. I mean, seriously, it’s like magic.
Name some things you fear
I’m afraid that what I write is really just crap. I’m afraid of feedback, as much as I know I need it. I’m afraid that people will read my book and roll their eyes and mutter to each other, “How could she possibly think she could publish a novel?”
Well, that wasn’t quite as hard as I expected. Although I’m sure we all know I could have gone deeper, especially with that last one. But I think this is a pretty good start. So let’s hear it: what about you?
** As an FYI, in case anyone cares, I’ve started work on the Mississippi novel again and I’m pretty excited about it. Yay!