Monday, March 1, 2010

When the Internet Turns On You

I spend a lot of time on the internet, probably way more than I should.  The thing I love about the internet, it has loads and loads of information that is accessible within a nanosecond.  The thing I hate about the internet, it has loads and loads of information that is accessible within a nanosecond. 

The seemingly interminable waiting game that is the querying process has really started to weigh on me.  For some reason it makes me feel like I'm moving forward with my writing to endlessly surf writing related blogs, websites and forums (rather than, you know, actually writing).  I allow myself one hour of surfing time after I put my daughter to bed and before I add some more words (hopefully bunches and bunches of really good ones) to my current WIP. On Saturday I came across this post on Nathan Bransford's forums.  I read the discussion in full and followed all the links, including this one which took me to author Natalie Whipple's blog and then from that one I found this one also by Ms. Whipple. In reading how many drafts people did and how much they went through before they decided they weren't just 'good enough', they were ready to submit, I decided my manuscript was crap, I hadn't worked hard enough on it and I was nuts for submitting it at this point.

Don't get me wrong, I did drafts, lots of drafts and had a professional edit and then did more drafts and then a couple spot edits, but from idea conception to first query was almost exactly a year, none of this tinkering around for three or five or eight years.  Now I'm beginning to think these rejections that are coming my way are because I wasn't ready.  It's crazy making because prior to reading that forum thread I honestly felt that my book was strong enough to get published.  I didn't send in something I felt was 'good enough'.  I sent in something I felt I had given my all to, something I was really proud of and something I honestly felt was worthy of publication.  Now, not so much.

After reading this post, I opened my current WIP, stared at the screen for awhile, turned my computer off and read Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon while desparing that I'd never ever write something that good.  Sunday gave me a full twenty four hours to shake off the funk before attempting to write again.  Guess what?  No good.  I didn't write a word.  That forum robbed me, for the time being, of my belief in my ability to write and without that belief, I couldn't, not a word, not a letter.  In fact, I barely restrained myself from deleting all 40,000 some odd words of my WIP. 

The internet, folks, turned and rended me.  I know this funk will pass (hopefully it won't take too long. I'd like to get my first draft completed before the bun in my oven is cooked to warm golden brown and ready to come out).  When my belief in my ability to write resurfaces from the gallons and gallons of criticism and despair I've poured over it  in the last 48 hours I need to remember that while I'm cruising all those fabulous tidbits of info on the net, it's a good idea to have some salt near by.  Anybody have a shaker handy?


Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

Is it the internet or the general writing life? I find that I have these wild oscillations. From vibrating with the thrill of writing WORDS and seeing the potential they have (I have!) to wanting to chuck my computer out of the window and get a job at Starbucks.

angfla said...

I think if we were able to ask Edgar Allan Poe or Shakespeare or any of the greats who wrote long before the internet sullied the creative waters we'd probably find out it's just writing life. That said, I do find reading about other writers' journeys and comparing them to mine, which is way easier to do with the internet around, tends to get me to the chucking the computer out the window point a lot faster than anything else.

Kami said...

Just so you know at first glance I thought I read the - When the Internet turns you on! ha ha!
Have you thought about writing for magazines? Your style is easy to read and interesting. Just an idea...
Can't wait to see your work in print. Keep writing just for the love of writing!

angfla said...

I know blogs are supposed to be open and honest and all, but I hope I never get so open and honest as to do a post called 'when the internet turns you on'. That made me laugh. I have thought about writing for magazines, but I wouldn't even know how to go about attempting to do that. I guess I could always google it. I don't know, we'll see.