IWSG: In Which My Ego Turns Everything into a Blistering Inferno
The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writers Support Group. A fabulous blog-hop. Head to the list and support some other writers today.
I'm halfway through my big picture edit/rewrite of this manuscript and I'm ready to set it THE FUCK ON FIRE.
No but seriously. Burn it.
I thought I had my subplots tightened up. I thought I had my hero and heroine figured out. I've written the story essentially three times now. But here I am, ready to scream and break things as this manuscript refuses to be... GOOD.
Okay I have a couple of issues at play here. One is that I have been using scenes I've already written sort of piecemeal. "Oh, this scene will work right here!" So I move it. And now, I'm halfway through this rewrite/revamp/hell and I have completely lost the thread of tension and narrative. I don't know if it's moving too fast or too slow. No idea if it even makes sense any more. Argh! The second, larger issue, is my ego.
My friend Lyssa Kay Adams just indie published her first novel and it's effin' good, ya'll. So effin' good. Funny and snarky and well-written and the reviews are pouring in and they are all saying what I'm saying. The book is freaking GREAT. I'm super happy for her. She's rad and she deserves the applause.
What if I don't get that? What if my first book comes out to the sound of crickets chirping? What if none of our mutual friends say a word? I didn't become a writer for applause, I really didn't (and if you did, you're in for some pain, I fear) but I also don't want to be the suckiest writer out of my group of writer friends. This worry comes from a place of deep insecurity within me, I know. Many of my writer friends are professional writers. They were journalists or work in publishing or advertising. They know a side of the business that I don't and they are way more educated than I am.
Often when I'm forced to defend my genre from people who want to make me feel small about it, I say that many romance writers are highly educated and that a great deal of my favorites went to ivy league schools and teach writing. Which is all true and it's a great brag, but I'm not one of those people. I dropped out of community college because it was putting me into debt and it wasn't actually helping. I consider myself a fairly smart human being and I stand by that decision. Community college wasn't preparing me for a writing career and it wasn't worth the stress or money. But I never expected to be surrounded by so many educated, brilliant writers. I figured my smarts would carry me through. But I'm still never sure when I should be using a semi-colon and I still have to Google how to punctuate parentheticals in parenthesis and I feel like at any moment, I could screw something up and no one will ever take me seriously and I'll deserve it because I couldn't even hack community college and who do I think I am trying to write novels?
Worse yet, am I going to be the kind of unskilled writer used as kindling on the blaze of derision that eternally burns the romance community like wildfire? Is that labored simile my fate?
This has been bumping around in my head, bruising my brain for a month now. I am burning with insecurity and it's making my editing clunky and impossible. I am losing perspective faster than Supernatural episodes lose narrative cohesion, which is to say, FAST.