Monday, November 05, 2007

It is Finished.

Sometime just before 7pm I sent The Exorsistah to my developmental editor. I can honestly say that I have never struggled so hard, or felt so completely lost during the writing of a book.

Maybe some of you will write and say, "You feel that way every time. I can show you transcripts of our chats." But you'd have to show me, because it always feels like this was the worse one ever.

Some of you have read my rough drafts, and you know they are unapologetically rough. It's in writing like a nut job that I find the startling and surprising. I have to allow myself to go wherever I want to go. Sometimes I have to see how a scene feels, even if I will likely scrap it. In my drafts a whole lotta scrapping goes on.

I couldn't grasp this story though. It slipped out of my hands whenever I tried to hold it. Characters walked around confused, wondering what to do, and I couldn't tell them. I wished I could. I'm not joking when I say I have no skill. I'm a cheap story teller that has found myself in a world that I'm certain I don't belong in.

I feel awful.

There's like this tremendous crash, and a mild hysteria that takes hours to dissipate. Maybe days. I think, "This one will ruin me." At some point tonight I will cry my eyes out. I may be crying right now. I won't say.

I never want to disappoint a reader. Books aren't cheap, even if I say I'm a cheap storyteller. I want people to have an experience. I fail every single time. And yet, here I am doing the thing I've always dreamed of. What I couldn't have anticipated in my dreamy longings was this wound. This sense that I can't say what is really inside. That grappling with the ineffable. I never want to do it again. But I do.

I see why writers are often alcoholics.

Then again, maybe someone can offer me some cheese with this whine. Tell me to go to sleep since I've only had two hours worth in 48 hours or so. Say, take a hot bath. Dream of the pain medicine you don't have to halt your physical aches. Go to bed early, Mair. And pray that you'll clean it up in the copy editing phase.

Or that your readers are merciful.

You know what I just thought of. Jesus. Remember when he was dying, and that thing he said. I'll give you a hint. I named the blog post that. He said, "It is finished." He may have been crucified, but He didn't say, "I am finished." That'd be my spin tonight. I think it's a grace for Him to drop that bit of hope in me. I'm still here.

I'm still here.

We'll see what tomorrow holds.

Thanks for listening.


Cathy West said...

"I see why writers are often alcoholics..."
Oh, you're hilarious!
Listen, shut up already! If you want to read something really awful, I'll send you my manuscript, okay? Seriously. I've sent it out and wished I hadn't. I'm just waiting for the rejections.
We ALL feel this way. We're writers. Filled with angst and pent up emotions...
And we listen to each other rant and rave and scratch our heads, asking ourselves, "I don't do that do I?"
Well, this writer does.
And hey, when I'm published, it'll be worse. I just know it.
So wallow in your misery. I'll come kick some mud around with you. Okay if I bring the whine?

spwriter said...

Your readers are merciful, but I don't think you'll need their mercy. Take that bath. Drink a glass of wine. Then sleep for a day or two.

You've been writing a hundred miles an hour for months. I think you need a few days to let the lingering words and ideas and uncertainties and angst and hopes and fears settle.

Or just call me and we can talk about nothing for a while.

ragamuffin diva said...

Okay, that so made me laugh and feel better. I got the cheese, baby. Bring that whine!

ragamuffin diva said...

Thanks, lovie Steve. You may get that call soon. I almost sent you the manuscript today so you can talk me off the roof.

spwriter said...

You know you can call me anytime, whether you're on a roof or in a basement or hiding behind your RAL couch.

Of course, if I were in Inkster, I'd probably just climb up and join you for a while. We'd lie back, dangle our feet over the edge and stare at the stars looking for some cosmic clue that we're doing at least something we're supposed to be doing in this life of faith.

It will probably be a long night. We'll need food.

I'll bring the fried Twinkies.

ragamuffin diva said...

Could you please bring skinless *roasted* twinkies? I'm tryna lose weight. Most of the calories are in the skin.

spwriter said...

I'll have to go to Whole Foods Market to get 'em, but I'm sure the health savings is worth the markup. Or I could just bring rice cakes and Diet Coke...

ragamuffin diva said...

Sigh. Thanks, Steve. I miss Whole Foods. don't bother about the rice cakes. Diet coke is fine, and hey, if they only have regular twinkies just get those.

Anonymous said...

You'll always be my heroine! Don't mess around with Steve, he might buy you a bottle of cheap wine like Charles Shaw to drown your sorrows. I, on the other hand, would indulge you with a bottle of something like Caymus or Opus One. (JJ Stevo) Forget the glass, drink the bottle! Hey, you're one of the most talented people I know. Just being around you inspires me. - Tom Davis

Alison Strobel Morrow said...

From one writer to another, I feel your angst and fear, and pain and fear, and trepidation and fear. You need sleep. And a very long stretch without deadlines, which I know you can't get right now, so maybe just two or three days away from Microsoft Word without feeling any guilt about not writing. God gave you that story, and he gave you this career, and even though you don't feel like you know what you're doing, HE does, so rest in that.

ragamuffin diva said...

Tom! How's your novel coming!!!!

Thanks, Ali. You always know just what to say or do.

I love my raga-d family.

Elysa said...

I'll email Scotty and see if she and Charley are any where in your area, if so, I'll ask her to bring by some cheese. I think Charley might even be cool with it since its for a great cause...YOU!

And yes, your characters might be wandering around confused...but ain't that reality? I know, I can't REALLY write like reality or else it probably wouldn't sell many books, but let's face it, life IS messy and crazy and often we can't figure out what the heck God is doing with our story. But in the end, He's using it for our good and His glory. Just like I'm SURE He's going to do with the beloved Exorsistah!

Sending BIG Southern Belle Kisses your way and some curvy hugs, too!


Heather said...

let me just say it.
thank you.
thank you.
thank you.
just today i posted about last night.
last night where i cried and cried and cried because i realized i've been writing utter crap and i wanted to trash the whole thing and that meant that it's all been a big, horrific waste of time.
thank you for sharing. now i know i'm not alone.
i thought i was alone.

ragamuffin diva said...

You're not alone, Heather. As you can hear by comments by writers, we all feel that way. All of us, no matter how good we (or people) believe we are.

Keep writing.

Katy McKenna said...

One of my dear author friends told me, upon learning that I'll be submitting my manuscript within days, that I'll feel SO much better after I hit send. I know she really believes that, and it must be true for her, but I will feel scared out of my wits. It is good to be in such wonderful company!!

ragamuffin diva said...

If you aren't afraid, Katy, I don't think you love it enough.

I am so happy to hear you're submitting.

May God be very kind to you.

Cathy West said...

m'If you aren't afraid, Katy, I don't think you love it enough.'

And you didn't think you could write...ha!

Oh, I finished my whine, sorry. But if you come to Bermuda to visit me, I'll find more...
I'm not coming your way - it's too cold!!!

ragamuffin diva said...

You could definitely talk me into Bermuda, Cat.'s stay clear of the triangle thing.

I'd really need to get back here. Cold and all.

And it IS cold. A lovely 43 degrees as I type.

Katy McKenna said...

Raga, I am hanging onto that piece of wisdom, girl. Thank you for it. I will "do it afraid."

paula clare said...

Hey Girlfriend,
*BREATHE*...and collapse. BREATHE and collapse. shampoo. rinse. repeat.

I am completely amazined how your writing experience sounds exactly like the spiritual "ecstatic experience" of some writers. You know, the kind where they liken communion (Eucharist) to having sex? Well, needless to say, I'm not terribly comfortable with that euphemism...however, in regard to writing, it may be appropriate...accurate even????

No WONDER you are spent, wiped out, exhausted. I believe the subject matter this time was especially difficult...because so much is unknown in the realm of demons and spiritual warfare, you know? I mean, do you INTENTIONALLY pick topics that are nearly impossible to define? (teehee)

You are an amazing writer...and whatEVER the process, the finished product is always what it should be. I can't wait to get my hands on the book!


Shanna said...

Congratulations. So proud of you. Always am.