stuck inside. me

I’ve had a book inside of me for almost 10 years now. Ooo that sounds painful and it is.  I did try to write a book once.  It came out as a short story and it was a good short story.  I had the editing genius of my good friend, Corrie; she was relentless with spelling, grammar and, most importantly, boosting my confidence along the way as it had a tendency to lag a bit. 

I submitted my masterpiece to numerous publications and finally one accepted it.  The problem was I had to literally butcher it from the original 5,000 words to 1,800.  Butchered.  I hated it.  It went online as part of an e-book (I can’t even find it online anymore thank goodness).  It was a book for a charity in England where you were on your honour to donate to the charity then download the book for free. 

It was a thrill at first, seeing my name in the table of contents.  But when I decided to read it again I cried.  Not because of its poignancy and smooth sentences and clear ideas but because it lost everything I put into it; all the love, memories, tears, laughter and work was simply gone.  Just like that.

I tried putting it in my blog in installments (way back) and rewriting it all the while. When it came to the last installment I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t put it in.  It was still not right. 

I ended up have a relapse with my meds, became quite ill and didn’t write again for 4 years.

When I went back to my blog the first thing I did was delete the installments.  I knew it could be better.  It would be better.  Then I didn’t write a word anywhere for 3 more years, 2 of those because of another relapse. I was more ill than I’ve ever been yet.

This past year is the year I have consistently wrote and been mostly healthy mentally.  I cannot stop thinking about that story.  It’s getting downright distracting!  I’ll wait at red lights when, out of nowhere, I’m expanding a scene from the story in such fine detail I can see it in front of me. 

Until somebody honks. 

But still I hold back.

I haven’t started it yet.  I want to.  Oh, I want to. 

I’m not saying I won’t do it, I know I will.  It’s just all so daunting. 

How can this affected brain of mine have this incredible work in it?  Maybe only I will think it’s wonderful and meaningful.  It won’t change the world in any way.  Why is that important anyway?

So after writing today on my blog I realized I should write the story for me and make it mine again.  I need to remember to be gentle with myself.  I should not think about publishers and manuscripts.  I know how hard it is to get published with all the wonderful stories there are to tell out there.  I can’t read those fast enough.

So, now I need to make a date with myself and get started.  All you experienced writers out there, what advice will you give me?

6 responses to “stuck inside. me

  1. ladyberrington

    I am not an expereinced writer, but think of myself as a slow to aspire one.

    This is my most thought about “I feel sorry” for artists kind of story.
    Being an artist of whatever craft, is about expressing oneself in whatever unique way that you can/are.
    Then so often in order to be ‘successful’, most have to adjust to what will sell. How can your feelings/ emotions/ thoughts have a word count? Think of going back into the history of many musicians, for example…and watch their ‘evolution’ from then to now…it is very sad. Success is subjective and whether or not an audience will like you is up to them…not you to have everyone like you….Know what I am getting at?

    Good for you for thinking this is worth the revisit…I say delve into it with a close to same the passion that you had then…and be sure to let your experience since then show in what you do with it now…. Who knows it might make you want to take another look at some of your other previous works

    • Thank you, m’lady, for the wise perspective. I definitely heard and felt something click withyour words, “Success is subjective…” You’re right, absolutely. I believe the work will have evolved and matured and will be better than what I envisioned in the first place. I have to be careful what I wish for!

  2. I’m not a professional writer, by any means, but I would advise to not stress over pleasing others with your writing. Write your book as a gift to yourself and you’ll most likely find that others will be interested in reading it. I know I would!

    • Deborah the Closet Monster

      I’d like to second what Sprinkles said! I spent five years not writing because I feared I’d only been able to write before because I was in Japan. (Yes, it’s such a magical place, it actually makes you write.) I’d try writing something and think, “Well, shoot. That’s not perfect.” I’d use that as evidence the writing bug was–for me–Japan-exclusive, and that I ought not bother here.

      I then had that dream about mermaids a few months back. I remembered a (rather dark) story I wanted to write when I was fourteen and figured that was the universe’s way of saying, get thee to paper and write this stuff down!

      I’m glad I took heed. It’s satisfying building/rebuilding worlds through words, even when they don’t come perfectly the first time! (Really, what does come perfectly any time?)

  3. To thine own self be true…

  4. “I’ve had a book inside of me for almost 10 years now. Ooo that sounds painful and it is.” Oh, I know that feeling! Slow and steady wins the race… or, err, um writes the book! Take your time!

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