Writing is not getting any easier.
I hoped, of course, that it would. But as another writer once said (I can’t remember who, or the exact quote), every time I sit down to write a story, it’s like learning how to write a story all over again. The lessons from the past don’t carry over--not completely--and it’s a different learning curve each time.
I’ve spent the last few months struggling with an awful, jaw-grinding mess of a story. It’s way longer than I ever meant it to be. The narration swoops in and out of present and past tense. I can’t judge its success. There are part of it that I love. But I don’t know if all hangs together in a coherent whole. There’s a character that hasn’t quite come into focus for me. There is a passage that is still niggling away at my mind, that doesn’t seem quite right.
Be careful what you wish for, they say. I wanted to see what it would be like to spend a solid month or two on nothing but fiction writing. I turned down potential freelance (paid) gigs to do this, and I have found that two months of solid devotion to craft has nearly driven me bonkers.
Perhaps it’s just this one story. But I suspect that I’m not cut out for fulltime fiction writing. I suspect that my brain needs other interests and pursuits to function. Fiction writing was once my escape from science; I suspect that a return to science reading and writing (starting this month!) might also serve as a necessary escape when the fiction machine stalls out on me.
Anyway, the too-long story, “Between Sea and Shore,” has been put to rest for the week while I work on other things. Tomorrow it goes up for critique on the online writing workshop I’ve joined, Critters! And yes, I am nervous about it. I’ve done a few critiques in this workshop now (which is another post; I find that I actually love critiquing and I feel it’s really helping me as a writer) but this is the first time I’ll have my own work up for critique. And somehow this prospect is far more nerve-wracking than hitting the “Send” button and sending my work out directly for acceptance/rejection to a faceless editor at a literary/genre journal.