Posted in Perhaps...I'll Let You In, Writing and all its cousins

Self, This Is Self

I set out to write this story, to purge myself of the pent-up words and emotions inside. I have always been told that I express myself better on paper, maybe all writers do. And I set out to do the same thing every year, run amongst the crowd in November in the quest to claim the prize:  50,000 words in thirty days.  It isn’t so much the climb out of the mosh pit but the experience itself, to say, “I did it; I survived; I nearly lost my mind in the process, but I made it out alive and fairly unscathed.”  And so that is what I aspired to do,  to release this melancholy that has followed me since daddy’s death.

Sure, there have been cheerleaders and words of encouragement along the way, even when I unreasonably made the decision to take part this year, despite the fact of having carpal tunnel surgery less than a month prior to the competition. Not only surgery, but a somewhat botched one that involves my dominant hand–the one I desperately need to type out or even write this conceived tale formulating itself inside my, at times, over-active brain.

And yet, there are other issues as well. One being that I am a person with a high level of control—or at least that is what I have been told. Not the kind where I wish to dominate others but more so of wanting things to run smoothly, orderly, and with a sense of logic. Mainly attaining to keep myself in order.  Thus the problem with stories and me. I tend to over think them.

First drafts aren’t neat and tidy. At times they don’t even make sense. And I want to say, “Hey, do what I tell you. Do as I think, not as I write. Do what the girl in that book did.  No, you know the book I’m talking about. The one by that really cool, best-selling, NY Times top ten list author. Yeah, her. Do it!!!”

Emotions aren’t always logical either, no matter how much we strive to make sense of them; and this is the problem I usually run into mid-way through a written piece. My beta readers respond with stuff like, “Shouldn’t Rachel be steaming? If I’d been {insert catastrophe here}, I would be livid. I wouldn’t worry about what the guest or my mother think; I would be throwing things and slitting tires and turning up bottles of vodka.”

And so the same with the high hopes I have for this…novella? Which covers the span of daddy’s death and the series of craziness which ensued.

My initial thought was to intertwine it with my subconscious (a little trippy and hard to explain, I know); so let me back track and attempt to clarify.  Some of you may recall the brief free write I did in which I visited my so-called “happy place.”  (I had to create one when working in retail because without a happy place you will certainly crack up in that line of work 🙂

So, anyway, yeah. And that is where I am twenty-seven-thousand words later because (a) that ingrained sense of control won’t allow me to explore my deeper feelings on said subject (b) my inner editor is going berserk. It yearns to come out and play with me and (c) the thought of so many words/pages is at times overwhelming.  Oh, and I suck at outlines.  I dreaded it in school and still have a hard time creating one that is detailed enough to buoy me pass the first five chapters.  And without a solid idea of where you are going—well, lets face it, you can wind up all over the  map.

Excuses, excuses…  I am aware of the fact so shush.

Conundrum: How do I rehash this in a way that is—that puts that “must be right” side of my brain to sleep while, at the same time, not re-opening painful memories over and over again. (I swear if I have to re-read that hospital seen while scrolling one more time!  And how do I collaborate the two stories?

Ooh, I have an idea! A slightly different approach, but…  Yeah, it just might work!

Your Turn:

What difficulties have you run into lately with your creative projects?

How did you resolve them?

Or are you still trying to figure that part out?  🙂


Please feel free to share your thoughts and conundrums under comments.



2011 Nano winner 2009 special mention in Writer's Journal for "Silent Words" Poet, avid reader, lover of art, average Jane

2 thoughts on “Self, This Is Self

  1. Well, I wouldn’t ever attempt to write a novel, so I admire you for your ambition and determination. And reading your work over the years Shonte’ I have no doubt you will accomplish your goals.

    My difficulties seem to be fractual. I am all over the place and can’t seem to focus. My writing has come to a halt. Why? I don’t know… Actually, I think I do know why. The pressure/influence from others as to what I should and shouldn’t be writing. (Hmmm, revelation moment!)

    I am also struggling to learn to draw and paint (all mediums, but focus on watercolor lately) I am so frustrated that I cannot seem to master anything. So, I plod along, getting lost in what I am doing, and hoping something creative evolves from the chaos. You know, like how the folks say the universe came to be. 🙂


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