This is what I wait for, really. This is one of the times that being a writer isn’t a mind-crushing endeavor, but at the same time, it’s one of the most intimidating moments.
The blank page.
At midnight, my “mental vacation” will be over and I’ll be okay to start work on the fourth book in my Broken Mirrors series. After finishing a draft, I force myself to not write anything for a couple of weeks to let myself rest and build up enough anticipation of starting a new project that I can power through the first page jitters.
In a way I guess it’s how NaNo writers feel on Halloween as they watch the clock tick by. In a way I envy and at the same time don’t understand NaNo writers. I’m jealous of the ability to produce 50,000 words in a month, but at the same time I have to wonder who in their right mind would try to manage that kind of production. Maybe it’s to purge some of the “10,000 shitty pages” that one writer brought up, the idea that we have to write so much dreck before, magically, the pipes are cleaned and it’s quality stuff from here on out. Or maybe the guy’s just doing his take on that “10,000 hours” thing that’s bandied about here and there.
I guess I can get behind that idea, but my issue is that 10,000 hours isn’t the only requirement. You have to actually like what you’re doing, and most importantly, and I know I’m drawing a line here, but you have to have some talent as well, you know? And the 10,000 pages, well, I have an uncle who’s written about that much and his stuff is still knockoffs of The Night Stalker.
I guess my issue with the “factor of ten” fad is that it’s all too easily digestible, you know? Too Point A to Point B. I think any writer who doesn’t consider their writing to be a hobby would agree with this, because let’s face it, writing asks for a hell of a lot more than just 10,000 shitty pages.
And since the “10” theme is en vogue with this stuff well…
Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, and I can’t imagine doing anything else, but I refuse to romanticize writing.
What about the 10 relationships that are likely going to end because of your writing? Maybe they won’t understand your career, maybe you’ll neglect them, maybe they’ll stray while you were enrapt in wrapping up a chapter, maybe you’ll simply grow apart and lose touch, but trust me, 10 relationships, be they romantic or platonic, are going to wither and die because you’re a writer.
What about the 10,000 things you’re going to miss out on because you chose to write instead? I’m talking about family outings, dates, hanging out with your friends, delayed trips and vacations, time lost to apologies, sporting events and parties.
What about the 10 knockdown drag-out fights you’re going to have with family, friends, lovers, and even yourself about whether or not what you’re doing is a “real job”? Face it, it might take 10 years for you to reach the point where you can actually have a life like other people while getting by on royalty checks, it might take a lot more, but 10 years is a long time and shit’s going to suffer while you’re grinding away.
What about the 10 trashcans filled with rejection letters where you have no idea how to process it?
None of this is covered in the brochure.
Maybe you were one of the lucky ones who was born with decent brain chemistry and plenty of activity in all the right lobes, or maybe you found someone who totally gets what you do, or have a supportive family, or a kickass day job, or some combination or all of it, and you don’t need the 10,000 hours or pages or whatever. Maybe you can take a long look at that “10,000” platitude and realize that’s all it is: a platitude. A simple light at the end of the tunnel so you won’t feel you’re blundering about in the dark.
And maybe you realize you don’t need a light at the end of the tunnel, because you’re not walking through a tunnel, you’re trying understand an analogy about writing… instead of writing. And you know what they say, analogies can be dangerous because the world is like a sandcastle.
Anyway, enough of that. I need to get some caffeine in me if I’m going to kick off the next novel tonight.