Today's Darklight On... is with Jodie C. Welcome, Jodie!
The Pen, The Paper and the Paranoia
I have to admit, doing my first post about writing is more than a little daunting. It’s like asking someone to write an article on sex when they’re stuck on second base. Yes, I do write, but I don’t consider myself a writer. You see, I’m a newbie. I can’t even complain about my pile of rejection letters because to be honest I’m yet to finish one of my stories.
So today I’m not going to be writing about the hunky, executive type with the Midas touch and the killer eyes – who I’m currently writing about – instead I will write about the rollercoaster ride I have already taken....before publication, before submissions, before the painful synopsis writing and before even finishing a story.
It all started about five years ago. I was pregnant, already on maternity leave and remember cringing when my sister in law handed me a copy of Twilight to read. What the hell was Twilight?? And why the hell would I want to read about teenagers and blood suckers with sparkly skin??
I haven’t stopped reading since – and it’s not the occasional read, a book or two every month – hell no, it quickly grew into obsession. After devouring the Twilight series, I read everything I could find and five years later I am averaging about fifteen books a month.
So, the reading turned into reviewing on www.goodreads.com, the reviewing turned into blogging and the next step after that was to start my own writing.
I have always had an overactive imagination. Like many writers and women in general I fall asleep in the arms of a different man each night. No my husband doesn’t mind – he has no clue. Each night there is a new scene, a new man, a new first kiss, a new climactic event that makes my heart ache. And all these scenes continued to overtake my mind. I started not only living them in my mind, but narrating them as if reading a book. How would I describe these scenes? What words would I use to explain the intimacy of that first touch? The first caress? The first brush of lips?
It seemed only natural to put my fingers to the keypad and start typing away. And it was easy. I wrote page upon page, scene upon scene, the words flowing like a torrent trying to escape my teeny, tiny mind. Then I came across RWA – should I join? Should I take the next step? I ended up finding a competition set to end in only two days time and decided to bite the bullet. Here goes nothing. I tried my hardest to read over my work, had a few friends read it to help me out then submitted it with a chest filled with hope.
Six or so months later and the email came back telling me in subtle terms that I sucked better than a Hoover. Ok, a little over dramatic, there were some great comments, some good comments and a whole heap of depressing comments. Not being the most confident person I took it to heart. I seriously suck total ass. So I pulled the piece back out of the depths of my computer and read over it. HOLY HELL, they were right. It sucked!! No, really. It sucked. In such a short space of time and with a lot of help from a recent RWA conference, I had learnt enough to realise my piece was truly horrible. And I had let my friends read it? It really woke me up to the realisation that you shouldn’t let friends read your work if you are looking for an honest opinion.
But I DIDN’T give up. I agreed with the majority of the comments. It made me grow even more as a writer and almost a year later I am still plodding along.
For me the biggest hurdle with writing isn’t the creativity. I can get words on the page relatively quick – they aren’t polished or perfect, but the story is always flowing – my problem is the paranoia, the confidence, the drive to continue even though the words may never be read. The hours spent perfecting a character all gone to waste if no one wants to read it.
I start a story then get half way and decide....”Hmmm, that isn’t good enough. I need to start something else.” I think it’s a coping mechanism. If I don’t finish anything, I can’t get rejected right? Or I will get into a good writing groove, putting down a heap of words each day then decide to pick up a book by one of my favourite authors – then BAM, I take a detour to Suckville. How could my writing ever compare to the likes of Cindy Gerard, J.R. Ward or Kresley Cole? It’s pointless! I’m never going to be that good.
Thankfully I have a few great friends who keep poking me with really large sticks. They remind me of my goals, they encourage me to continue and they always have my back.
So my goal for this year? Finish ONE piece. Get to the point where I can write ‘The End.’ Bite my tongue through the negativity and reach that coveted finish line. And I am determined to do it. I haven’t set my goals high. I have realised I’m not Super Woman, no matter how much I wear the costume. My goal revolves around a small story and I’m already averaging 500 words a day, so I will get there....I will.
And that’s when all the fun and games will begin...submissions....competitions....rejections....world domination.
Thank you, Jodie.