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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Thoughts on Facing the Page

We've all been there. If you're reading this blog, then you are most likely a writer, and we writers have all been to that place in our work when sitting down and facing the page is the last thing we want to do, right? We scrub the toilets, we reorganize the bookshelves, we surf every editor and agent blog on the internet - anything to avoid the dreaded WIP that is for some reason or another giving us trouble.

It's what we do.

But here's the thing. We can't leave it alone. Even when our work (or the lack thereof) tortures us and we just can't make the scene come out right or find the perfect word to describe the way our MC walks into a room (without using an adjective!) we feel the itch. We have to scratch it. Because the only thing harder than writing is not writing. Writers write, after all. And we want to be writers, so we do the dance, dipping and twirling between exhilaration and despair. For us, there is no choice.

That's what facing the page means to me. It means having the balls/guts/determination/compulsion/discipline/insanity to sit down every day with pen or computer and create when creating's hard. It means not giving up. Even when you a.) feel unworthy because another writer's work is better b.) are disgusted because another writer's work sucks and they're agented/published c.) are frustrated because your editor/agent/critique group/significant other doesn't get it d.) feel certain that your editor/agent/critique group/significant other gets it - but you don't e.) have just discovered your plot goes nowhere/your mc is not sympathetic/your dialog is wooden/no one likes your story f.) etc., etc., etc.

Do I always face the page bravely in my own work? Ha. Just ask the group here how often they have to soothe the insecurities and push me back on track. But I'm here. And so is the page. And once I stop procrastinating/fearing/avoiding/loathing, the page and I are going to have a great time.

1 comment:

John said...

Hi Linda!

It's a similar position for illustrators, the need to just keep drawing. I'm generally a misery to everyone around if I'm not working on something.

It's frustrating when bad writing gets published while good writers languish. Recently I illustrated a series of four chapter books for a large US publisher, I was glad for the comission, but the stories were lame ducks. The final book in the series was scrubbed when the first volumes flopped (the art director assured me it wasn't because of my drawings). You wonder what factors are at work with editorial decisons sometimes.

John