Friday, May 29, 2009

Author in distress

Tip of the day: Did you know if you're a teacher or a librarian, you can nominate titles for the ALA Best Books for young readers? The nomination form can be found on this page (click on Nominate a Title) www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists/bbya


So, last week I quit. I quit writing. I got up out of my chair, went into the kitchen, made dinner, trying not to cry, all the while thinking, I'm done. It's over. I can't do this anymore. It's too freaking hard.

In the past few months, I started writing two books. One of them I only got through a couple of chapters before I knew it was not the book I wanted to write. The other one, I got to 20,000 words when I said to myself, this is crap. Now, of course we know, first drafts often are just that. But there still needs to be a great premise, a great voice, a great *something* to hold on to. I had a friend read it, and she said she liked it, but still, something was really bugging me about it.

The day after I quit, I woke up and I asked myself if still wanted to quit. I thought about all the amazing books I've been reading lately and all the reviews for amazing books coming out later this year. What if those writers had quit when it got hard?

The thing about writing first drafts is that, for me, I don't outline much, and so I have to just write the book, letting the characters lead the way. When things go the right way the whole way through and magical moments happen without effort, it's a wonderful, happy thing. But things don't always go that way. My book, IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES? That book came almost effortlessly during the entire first draft. I wanted my current book to be like that book. But each book is different, and just because a book makes you struggle more, it doesn't mean it's not good. Right? Please tell me I'm right about this!!

In the end, my resignation lasted all of a day. I took a deep breath, opened a new document, and started the book over. I've gotten about 10,000 words done. This weekend, I plan to write up a chapter-by-chapter outline because obviously, with this book, I need one!

Hard? Yes. But necessary. And in the end, probably easier than quitting.

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career

8 comments:

lisaalbert said...

Oh, I'm glad you're inspired again! I've felt the same way but I'm too stubborn to give up. LOL

Emily Marshall said...

So glad to hear your quitting didn't last long :)

Rhonda Stapleton said...

((hugs)) oh man, i think most of us have had days like that. i'm glad you got back in the saddle, though!!

Kate Fall said...

I'm sorry you've been struggling, Lisa. I totally believe that some ideas are harder to execute than others. Maybe it's always darkest before a breakthrough.

Carmella Van Vleet said...

Good for you for having the courage to keep moving. I find writing is kind of like making your way through a forest. Sometimes you go down one path but discover it's a dead end, not the right one. Then, you gotta backtrack and pick another trail. You're right. Each book will take you on a different journey. Embrace it!

Steph Su said...

Ah, writing. So rewarding, so cruel. It often doesn't work right when you NEED it to, and flows effortlessly when you least expect it. As long as you keep on writing, that's the most important part. Have you ever read Anne Lamott's book on writing, called "Bird by Bird"? Her essay in there, "Shitty First Drafts," is one of my favorites (and the title almost says it all *smiles*). Have faith in yourself! :)

jody said...

It's not that every book is different for me ... it's different every time I sit down to write pieces of the same book.

I've begun to believe that if you don't get frustrated and walk away from time to time, you may be settling for less that you're capable of doing. Hard doesn't come with pillows.

Glad you're back!

Lisa Schroeder said...

Thanks all - for the great comments. I think it's important to talk about the hard times, because we all have them, and it's good to know we're not alone!