I just had an epiphany this morning. I love when the blogosphere has a conversation, and when different conversations intersect and cause me to think of things in a whole new way. And there's the magic: sometimes when I'm struggling with something, the blogosphere gives me the answer.
I've been feeling a little lost, motivation-wise, lately. I mean, I don't know which writing path to take two months from now, and I'm not feeling real fired up. (I think ahead, plus I'm booked for the next... oh wait, we're down to one month. Crap. My brain is usually six months to two years ahead!)
Anyway, Zoe is popping out great discussion after great discussion, a lot to think about as far as indie publishing goes. Mark added to it quite well with a bit about small publishers, and I sort of lamented that I felt a little lost. I kinda like where I am, kinda don't, kinda feel like I should be more fired up about NY, which doesn't seem to motivate me. Kinda feel like I should be thinking about the money of it more. I'd like to give NY a go, sure.
Then I popped by Jennifer Estep's post on Magical Musings, and she talked about motivation. She mentioned money, and I've said in the past that money and deadlines motivate me. They haven't been working too well, lately.
Really, I think they just pushed me to finish things. Finishing things is the hardest bit.
And then I went to Erica's blog on Aunt Mildred and crew, and like most of her posts, it got me thinking. She mentioned again about how she believes the traditional publishing route produces a better book.
And all that sort of coalesced into an epiphany when I wrote that I commented that I wanted to be a better writer. That seems simplistic, so I started to elaborate, but then five paragraphs in, I realized I should post it over here.
See, I love going to Borders and digging into the books, trying to figure out how they work, reading them backwards, upside down, trying to see patterns and make theories on why some books are bestsellers and others aren't. I study plot, paragraph size, pacing, character motivation, periods, punctuation, every single element I can find.
I spend hours in Borders. We're talking at least 20 - 40 hours a week doing that. I love every single second.
I love each time I discover new layers. Like... when I first started writing, I could only "see" very few (for lack of a better word) mistakes. One day, I realized that stories made me saddest when they didn't use the word sad, when they didn't name the emotion but said it all without saying it. COOL! Over the years, new layers unveil themselves, and each time, it's like a whole new world.
I love that discovery. When I realized all the bestsellers had impeccable rhythm like the best pianists? I'm still riding high. When I felt my mental image of a novel sort of flatten into ONE thing, rather than a sum of parts, I was beyond thrilled. I can never explain that, like the beginning was the end and the middle wasn't really the middle, but... more like the beginning and the end, too?
I'm still delighting in that.
I could go on forever. I LOVE deconstructing and constructing, I LOVE figuring out how to make myself a better writer. I LOVE reading a ton of books, analyzing them and digging into them, getting my hands messy. I love constantly trying push my mind to turn upside down and see stories and writing in a whole new way.
When you walk around and wonder what people are thinking and what their motivations are for you fiction, you start to do it with real people, too. And that always gets me into trouble.
I've said before that I don't want critique partners. I've had various excuses for this, but honestly, I didn't know why myself, not completely. I do love editors, but I don't want to send my stuff to them until I've pushed myself to discover every last thing myself. The thing is, I never really could put my finger on why I wasn't into all that.
To make matters worse, I actually love critiquing other people's stuff, because it's that whole deconstructing/analyzing thing, that discovery. I love that!
But I imagine that looks silly and hypocritical, like I think I'm better or whatever. Like I'm not willing to tit for tat. I worry they might feel insulted, because I would value their opinion, I really would. More than they could ever begin to imagine. I often imagine people think it's because I'm afraid to put my stuff out there. I imagine people think I'm making excuses for some fear or whatever.
Today, though, I realized, that's totally not it.
I totally get my writing kicks from the discovery, the analysis, the dissecting for myself what is missing in my work. Not to sound like a petulant child, but I want to do it myself. If someone else tells me my ending is weak or whatever (and while I definitely appreciate that from an editor before I make a fool of myself in the world, LOL), then I don't get to make that discovery myself.
It's true: I sell my stuff because I need the money. But I write it because I love words and I love story. I'm crazy about it. Head over heels.
I love improving myself and my writing. Love it. Every second. You've heard me agonize over endings, agonize over this or that as I'm writing, right? I even love the agonizing, swear to God, LOVE it. Revel in it. How crazy is that?
If someone told me I could fix it by doing X, I'd feel disappointed. I'd feel like I'd really wished I could have discovered that on my own, saw it for the first time myself, felt my mind flip perspectives all by itself.
Well, like I said, I could go on forever.
But I want to know: what does it for you? Where do you get your writing kicks? Casting aside ambition, casting aside career, casting aside all that sort of stuff. Day to day, what thrills you about being a writer?