Sunday, January 2, 2011

Please Don't Ask

So, I know in the past I've always done a wrap-up post for the year -- talking about what books I've read/loved... what I accomplished/didn't accomplish with my own writing..., possibly followed by a post talking about what I hope to accomplish during the new year.

Well, I'm not doing that this year.

I'm just not.

There are a few more things I won't be talking about, and I hope you'll indulge me in this request.

I started working earnestly on FI again yesterday. (Okay, so I'm sort of a sucker for the romantic idea of starting afresh with the new year. I also have two full days to do whatever I want, which is rare... and they just so happen to fall on New Year's. Interpret this however you like. (g))

It was weird... working on this book again. But at the same time, it felt like home. I know these characters, I know this story and where I want to take it. It really just boils down to sitting my butt down in a damn chair and doing the work necessary to get it there. Only thing is, I've been in this very same spot for a veeeeeeery long time now. So what's different now?

You could say I have the eye of the tiger this go 'round, but no, I don't think that's it.

You could say I'm giving myself a big ole' kick in the ass to finish -- for whatever reason you could possibly imagine. Hopes of publication, need of moolah that comes with said publication, dreams of moving on to the next story...blah blah blah yada yada yada.

I'll tell you what. I don't think it's any of those things.

It's just time. Time to finish this story. If for nothing else, but for ME to be able to read it from start to finish...to know how the hell it ends. It deserves that opportunity. And I deserve to know that I can get it onto the page in the best way I know how.

The past couple of years, I haven't allowed myself to do that. I've hit roadblock after roadblock that I've allowed--yes allowed--to stop me. And I've figured out why that is..

A very well meaning friend and I were chatting on IM last night. I was talking about FI, how it felt so good to get back on the horse...how I really hoped to just put my head down and finish this time. We chit chatted about this and that and then whammo, she hit me with a question I wasn't prepared to answer:

What do you plan to do with it once you finish?

I'll tell you what, folks. Two days ago this question wouldn't have given me the slightest pause. I would've rattled off the same ole' spiel I've been telling people forever. i.e. Well, of course I have to send it to DA... maybe that other agent who showed interest... but yeah, I'll have to give DA first crack... blah blah blah yada yada yada.

And I sort of did just that. The only thing is that as I was typing my response, I could literally--and I do mean literally--feel panic start to set in. I physically started tensing up, and the joy of having written over 2500 words that day slowly started seeping out of me as I contemplated the answer.

Hello, epiphany!

What I realized is that my answer should've been a very polite, "I'm not going to talk about that."

And I won't from here on out. Not to anyone--not to myself.

So, new ground rules:

1. I will not be talking about what I plan to do with this book when it's finished. Period.

2. I will not be talking about when I think it will be finished.

3. And finally, I will not be talking about when I think I'll have it ready for betas or what project I plan to work on next...

Please. Don't. Ask.

I promise that this is nothing personal against you. This time it's ALL about me and what I need at this particular point in time. And that's a stress-free writing experience during which I'm NOT thinking about the end game. All I want to think about is this story -- how to make it the best story that I possibly can -- without all of that other baggage attached at the end, weighing me down into immobility. I've done that for far too long. And last night's experience is the perfect testimony to it.

And really...if you boil it down, I don't NEED to think about any of that stuff now because none of it matters until I have a completed manuscript in hand. So why do it?? Yes, easier said than done, but this time... I'm making every effort.

Please indulge me in this request. Thank you. :)

6 comments:

Claire Gregory said...

Hey Jen!

Your resolution and mine sound very similar (g). I'm heading into the same territory- planning on pulling back the process from public view quite a bit- and I reckon it'll pay dividends for both of us.

So, I promise I won't ask you any of those questions- I'm just delighted to see you working on FI again, and always looking forward to more Maddy and Gabe.

Go to it (g).

Jennifer Hendren said...

Thanks, Claire! Excited to see you finish up your book, too. It's hard to put your head down and just work, but man, I think it's really what I need to do in the end.

Cheers to us both. :)

Jen

Tara Parker said...

Excellent resolution! Now finish the damn thing. ;)

Jennifer Hendren said...

LOL, Tara! No pressure, no pressure! I'll crack. (g)

Beth said...

I'm very late offering this comment...but this sounds like a really good decision. Pressure at the wrong time can be a creativity killer. Sometimes we need to remember why we write.

Jennifer Hendren said...

Thanks, Beth... yes, it can seriously hinder your creativity. Will not think about it. Will not think about it. (g)

Thanks for dropping in!