Writing Updates March 2016

I keep thinking this is going to be a regular thing for me, and then I go several months with nothing.

Anyway, here’s what I’m working on now.

Since the end of February I’ve been working on edits for Becky, which I’ve been coming back to off and on for a little while now. I got some critiques back from my main Critique Partner, and also the critique group I recently joined, and I’ve been doing some partial rewrites and some slight rearranging. I was hoping to be done with it after this edit, but I’ve changed juuuuuuust enough that I’d like to get eyes on it one more time before I give it a final polish and then begin to query. Hopefully there are no more big changes I’m inspired to make…

I’ve also begun writing a rough draft for another middle grade fantasy story. I had a good luck with the first third/half, just writing like a fiend most days, but I’ve slowed up a little bit. I’m struggling a little bit with the direction the story’s going, which is normal, but I’m also getting worried that it’s not exciting/original enough, which I don’t think is a healthy thing to think about right now. It’s just a rough draft, after all, so it’s going to be 90% problems that I’ll have to fix, or rearrange, or remove altogether. Best to just get it done, and see what I have to work with after that.

I’m also getting the urge to go back and work on another work-in-progress of mine, a new adult (I think?) supernatural story. My feelings about this story are weird, where I feel like I want it to work out more than anything else I’ve ever written. So many things make me think of the story, music and movies and books, in a way that doesn’t always happen with other things I’m writing. The main character is super precious to me, and I’m extremely worried that I won’t portray her as wonderfully as I see her in my head. I’m also worried that the last portion of my plot doesn’t make sense, but that’s not nearly as important as getting this character perfect.

So that’s me, working on and thinking about too many things. But having all these projects swirling in my head gets me excited, and I actually spend more of my time writing and brainstorming because of it. I guess I’m just one of those people that functions better when there are multiple things to work on?

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Animated Distractions: Pixar’s Inside Out (It’s Okay to be Sad!)

(Not too many spoilers, but maybe a couple, depending on how you look at things.)

This weekend, my husband and I went to see the new movie, Inside Out. I’ve been looking forward to seeing it: it’s a Pixar film, for one, and I was really intrigued by the topic they touched on. Emotions, and how they affect and control what we do.

There were some great themes in the film: family, growing up, and realizing that emotions are more complex than just Disgust or Fear. Wonderful — I loved all of it. But there’s one point that was clearly going to be one of the bigger, more obvious ones, and I couldn’t believe it when I figured it out. A few minutes into the film, Joy, who’s narrating, introduces the other emotions and what they do: Anger makes sure things are fair, Fear keeps Rile safe, and so on. Then she gets to Sadness. “I don’t know what she does,” Joy says. And I knew — Joy didn’t understand Sadness. Through the course of the movie, Joy was going to learn about Sadness.

This was a movie telling kids that it’s okay to be sad.

Freaking out.

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Writing Problems: Paralyzing Moments

Today I had one of my crisis moments where the same paralyzing thought echoed through my head: What am I accomplishing, exactly?

Every project that I’m working on right now is at a point where I need to edit, and while that can make it easier — I just have to fix, I don’t have to create from nothing. But that’s also the problem. I don’t feel like I’m creating. And when I’m not creating, I have too much time to pause and wonder, why can’t I get things out there? Why can’t I look up more magazines, more agents, send out more letters and submissions? Why can’t I get noticed when I do do those things?

When I feel this way, it’s actually harder to get anything done. I feel it all the way out to the tips of my fingers, slowing me down. I forced my way through it. I completed a round of edits on a short story and an essay, and I sent out three (3!) query letters. A decent day. But the thought kept eating at me, devouring me from the inside: What am I doing?

I keep reminding myself of all my little personal pep talks, but when I get this feeling I can’t talk it away. I gotta let it ooze out on its own.

 

Maybe I should go to yoga more.