Thoughts On Being a Writer

This has been a strange week.

Of course, when you’re a writer, every week is a strange week. I have characters popping in and out of my head all the time. We have little conversations every day, my characters and I. I know these people better than my own family members, and sometimes they just don’t like me and the situations I’ve put them in.

This week, after trying to write a scene that had been in my novel for as long as I’ve been trying to write it, I hit a wall. No matter what angle I tried writing it from, my characters rebelled. They hopped in a car, and like Bonnie and Clyde, fled the scene, killed some darlings, and went rogue on me. This happens sometimes, but it’s still weird when it happens. You sit there thinking, Wait a minute. This is *my* story. I’m supposed to be the one in control here. How can imaginary characters–out of my own mind–run over me roughshod like this? But somehow they can, and they do. If you want to keep your sanity intact, and finish the damn book, you just have to let it happen. So I did. I think the story is better for it.

And of course, when things are back on track and starting to go well, what does my brain do? It decides to go into the ADD death spiral, and spins me out a perfectly constructed, super interesting plot–for another book. Thanks, brain. So now I’m distracted by the pretty new shiny thing in the back of my mind, and am having trouble staying focused on the novel I would finish if I could just get my shit together.

And then there is the matter of the book I did finish. When you’re a writer, especially when you blog and write poetry and pseudo-memoir like I do, you put yourself on the page for all comers. Even if those comers are your ex-husband and his new wife. I don’t know how she stumbled upon Courtesan , (thanks, Google) but she did, and in an act of what I can only characterize as masochism, she’s reading it. Awkward.

But here’s the thing with writing. The things I write are from my point of view. First person limited all the way. The narrator is so, so unreliable. And anything I create is not written in blood or set in stone. It’s a snapshot of a moment, of however I was feeling the second I wrote the words down. And thoughts and words are fluttery, un-catchable things, that either allude you, or land on you, or come to you crawling, and over time, start flying.

That’s one of the things I love about words. They’re so capricious. One sentence strung together with random words means one thing. Take one away, the meaning changes. Add another, and it changes again.

My world is full up with words right now. My novel, my next novel. The books piled on my nightstand that will frustrate and inspire me, and make me doubt my sanity and my talent. The 8 page snippets from my writer’s critique group waiting for critique. Twitter. Facebook. WordPress words.

If I am quiet, and you want to know where I am, that’s where you’ll find me.

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