I wrote a short story yesterday. Not a ‘story’ really, more of a world-building exercise. I wrote about how the world of Aurelian (my current ginormous project) came to be in it’s current state. How it was formed. What it looks like. Who lives there.
It was an incredibly freeing bit of work. I had all that information in my head, some sort of idea what it looked like, but to finally put it in words so others can ‘see’ it too… It was a unique experience. One that got me thinking about this crazy venture I’ve plopped myself into.
Isn’t it my job, by definition, to make others ‘see’ what I have in my mind? To take the worlds and characters that flit around the edges of my consciousness and put them into words for others to read and experience? The answer should be a resounding yes. Why then was it so hard to rip my other manuscripts and stories from my gray matter and slap them onto the page? Shouldn’t every day be as exhilarating as yesterday? Shouldn’t I get that rush every time I show up at the page?
And if I don’t have that, if it feels like more like dental surgery than creating, why am I doing it?
The thing I wrote yesterday is 2000 words of unedited block text. I used a very detailed outline, so everything fits together nicely, but it needs a bit of spit and polish before it sees the light of a computer screen. And that’s something I’m looking forward to–the dreaded rewrite–because I get to dive in and explore my world again, see it fresh, and show it off with the enthusiasm of a preschooler with her first hand-shaped turkey drawing. I forced myself to wait, to not touch it today, just so I get to see it with fresh eyes.
It proves a greater point, too. I was excited to write that 2000 words. I was even excited to write the outline. It was the happiest I’ve been since I took this leap, and that includes the 62,000 words I wrote last month for NaNoWriMo. It was also the most satisfying.
When I wrote To Andrei, With Love, I made myself show up at the page everyday, diligently, like a good little writer. Some days the words flowed. Some days getting the words to the page was like pulling teeth. But it was never, not once, satisfying.
At this point, it does not matter if I’m just having new writer angst about my first creation, or if it really is just bad. I frankly don’t care. What matters to me is that the work, the time, the effort, seem wasted, like I’ve cheated myself. Yesterday proves that. And if I’m cheating myself, what does that mean for the reader? Haven’t I cheated you too?
So. As of this Saturday, December the 3rd, TAWL is coming down. Maybe not forever, but it will never again see the light of day in its current incarnation. But, fear not! Because I will replace it with the (edited) story I wrote yesterday. Then next Wednesday or Thursday, I’ll post another one, the one I’m outlining today.
I have a goal of writing 6 new short stories before January 1st. As I finish them, I’ll post them. I can’t say they’ll be award-winners. I can’t even say they will be good. But I can say I enjoyed writing them, because if I’m not enjoying it, they won’t get written.
That’s not to say that every day will be sunshine and roses, because it won’t. But I love this story, and I love showing it off, just like my daughter loves showing off her preschool creations.