Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Should I let it in?

A while back, I started working on a novel. It's not the first one, but the other had been set aside because I just wasn't in a place where I wanted to work on it. When I started this latest one, I went whole hog for awhile and even shared the first few chapters with various people (and got positive feedback). Then I set this one aside too. Not consciously, but in avoidance of the emotions that I knew it would make me experience in the writing. Basically I locked it out of my room. Bad novel! Get out!

So I went back to working on short stories and my beloved poetry. But now that novel is scratching at the door. And I'm afraid to let it in. Especially right now. There's a lot going on in my life, some of it not too pleasant. I don't have time to write a novel.

What am I afraid of? I'm afraid I might use it to avoid life. Real life. I'm afraid that it will seem, to me at least, that I'm abandoning my other writing (though truth be told, I've not been working on that all that diligently either). That I'll no longer write short stories just as some I've already written are about to be published. That I won't work on poetry just as I'm started to find my voice and confidence in it.

But that novel is whining, making whimpering noises, "Come on, write me, you know you want to, look at my cute belly, don't you want to rub it? Go ahead, scratch behind my ears."

This morning my husband forwarded a press release he received (one that has no bearing on his work, which he always finds funny) about a woman who in her mid-forties wrote her first novel, sold it, and went on to become a bestselling novelist. It had always been her dream to write a novel (same here). And she is living her dream. And encourages others to do the same, and that's basically what her novels are about. She herself calls them "beach reads." (Note: I'm not listing her name here because I'm not sure she'd want to be linked on the internet to erotica. If you're really interested and want to know who, just email me, my addy's in my profile.)

I need all the encouragement I can get right now.

He sent it to me after listening to me being self-pitying and saying that maybe I should give all this up (my dream of being a "real" full-time writer) and go work in a grocery store scanning stuff that other people can afford to buy.

Yeah, I'm having "one of those days/weeks/months/years." But, I can hear it panting under the door. "Please."

Do I let it in and risk being taken in by its puppy eyes? The way it licks my hand and curls up at my feet?

Hell, I'm a cat person, not a dog person. Why do I think of this novel-writing thing as a puppy?


Danielle said...

ah robin..let the left one in..:-)the question is not if you should let it in..but if you can let it not in..can you..can you stay away from the words in your head...from its serene voice?....let it in let it in let the magic beginn:-)

Jo said...

Jesus, if it wants in, let it in. What are you thinking?

Open yourself to what it brings. OF COURSE you can do it. This is probably why you haven't been doing much of the other. Some people can just ... work at it - others of us have to wait til it calls.

Danielle just said the other day that writing a book is no fun. I can see how that is absolutely true.

But Jesus. Having written a book? How good will THAT feel?

Do it Do it!

Vegetarian Cannibal said...


Writing a novel is a serious commitment. Depending on your schedule it can take anywhere from a few months to a few years!

I used to crank them out like nobody's business when I was in high school...but they weren't very good and I ended up deleting them all. Writing well is a glacial process, especially when writing a novel!

I say go for it! If you got a good idea, don't let it slip by! At least draft the thing down, and then when you get time, write it out later! :D Good luck!

Craig Sorensen said...

Go for it. You don't have to stop other work. Be methodical, take your time. Vegetarian Cannibal's suggestion is a good one. Let the idea flow, don't try to edit at first pass.

Don't be afraid to step away and come back to it as needed, but keep at it.

Sophia Valenti said...

Oh, Robin, let it in. There's never a perfect time for anything. You just need to go for it. Otherwise you'll be left wondering what if, which would be the worst feeling of all.

You can do it. Believe and allow yourself to give it a chance.

Erobintica said...

Thanks everyone. Good points from all. Now to actually sit down and open the file...

Anonymous said...

Really, this a no-brainer. Let the damn puppy out before he shits all over your manuscript.