Many writers deal with it sooner or later. Writer's block.
I thought Jeremiah Tolbert's piece, Writing is a Sail Boat and I'm Stuck on the Reefs, described what I went through very well. Except perhaps, in my case, my ship was in dire straits of sinking and I don't swim very well.
There are many writers who call their creation their babies, and many online tend to mock them. All you have to do is go on Twitter and search for the hashtag #booksarenotbabies. Sure, some authors do tend to go on and on about their characters and stories like proud mamas, and when they rage against those who dare to point out their flaws and imperfections, especially in a public forum, they become entertainment fodder. That kind of behavior is known on the web as Authors Behaving Badly.
However one looks at it--baby or not--most books are written with a lot of time involved, borne out of the writer's love and need to create that particular story from start to finish. It is a fever very similar to the need to procreate, to make something that comes from oneself, that would perhaps be one's contribution to one's life. Perhaps, writing genre books, an accomplishment on which many already look down, might not be comparable to that Ivy League Baby of Literature that holds everyone's esteem, even if the latter sucked the boringness out of boredom. Those works are treated like fragile babies, come to think of it.
As a reader, I don't know the book I'm reading's particular journey. I can only enjoy it. Or not. Yet, as I continue in my own journey as a writer, I'm too aware of all the things that can make or break a writer's concentration. And in that sense, I understand the "this is my baby" phenomena. When writer's block happens--for me, anyway--there is a sense of panic that is equivalent to seeing a child sick and being unable to take away its pain.
The feeling of helplessness grows and grows to the point that the pages I keep writing don't seem to make sense to me. At the same time, one can't share one's fears and pain while one's writing friends are happily chirping about their pages and creativity for the day/week. It's like Mr. Tolbert's analogy--shipwrecked on an island, alone and depending on oneself for survival.
But talking about the pain of writing is like sharing TMI in a conversation, isn't it? And defending one's work is like the biggest No-No in the world of writing-correctness, especially if one came across as a shrew (but even if one didn't, it's an automatic accusation, regardless of gender of writer). Or (gasp!), get threatened to be put on somebody's Do Not Buy List. So it is better not to talk about the pain of writing in a forum that's making fun of writing, especially one's own at that moment. Unless you're like me, and just want to unleash your inner devil's advocate and start calling everyone mean just so I can hear the We're Mean Girl Pride speech.
These things have been on my mind lately and I'm just processing it. Thinking and putting it out here would probably get me in trouble. But hell, if I could survive a shipwreck, I could survive somebody making fun of my baby.
Note 1: I don't actually see my books as my babies. My poms are my babies. Make fun of that and you incur my wrath. You may make fun of my books as long as you've paid for at least one of them new. I can be insulted for a quarter or a dollar (royalty depending on bk).
Note 2: So what the hell are you babbling about on this blog entry then, Jenn? Aha! Suffer writer's block and you'll understand.
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