OK, I’ve faced it. I know what my problem is, why I can’t write. I’ve given voice to it a couple of times to friends, but I never really believed it…
I can’t write because I’m afraid that anything I write won’t be as good as Chocolatier’s Wife. I know that’s silly, but the whole thing was sort of a miracle. I bit into a piece of chocolate, then walked up stairs and started typing. I knew the whole story, and I couldn’t wait, every night, to sit down and type on it. Since I was sort of doing it for the Gather Contest, I had a relentless deadline, so all I did for the two months it took me to write was eat, sleep, go to work, write. It filled my head and after I was done I was so exhausted I was sick…throwing up and feverish sick…for two days and a weekend because I’d run myself down so much.
And when I was done, I had something that, while I knew had to have flaws, felt…good. Perfect. Every other single thing I’ve done in my life I have these flashes of contentment with, but I’m just sitting there, knowing that a million people can see the flaws and if I don’t see them, too, then I’m being too proud or cocky. I don’t do this with this book. It is one of the things I’m proudest of ever having accomplished, and it makes me feel confident and proud…and I’m not guilty that I feel these things. I’m not saying that the other stuff is not worthy or lovely in its own right…it is, really, and you should read it because it deserves it and will make you (and I keep wanting to insert something like, probably in here, but I won’t) happy. Even with Blue Moon I feel self-conscious. Chocolatier, not a bit.
And the reviews support this. I did something good, that only I could have done, and I actually feel it.
Which has a downside. I keep starting things, and not finishing them. I feel like Chocolatier was the top of my game, and a place that I can’t possibly reach again. That anything else won’t be as good, that people who loved CW won’t like this, and I’ll be a failure.
Now, the cigarette smoking rum drinking Dorothy Parker wanna be that sits in the back of my head, about this time, puts a clove ciggie in its holder, takes a draw, and proceeds to tell me what an idiot I am. Because a) Not everyone likes CW. It’s not possible. Just like there are people who don’t think *gasp* historical fencing is the greatest thing since electricity. Hard to believe, but true. It’s no 8th wonder of the world, it’s just a book that I was lucky enough to have a feel for, that I was motivated enough to actually pound away at. B) That nothing I write will be like CW…thank God. I have other things, other worlds in my head. Good worlds. Characters worthy of being on paper. All I need to do is sit the frak down and do it, and not think about what I’ve done, or whatever, just try my damndest to write something fun and original and good.
I know this. If one of my writer friends came up to me and complained about this, I’d tell them to “Sit down and write. That is the only cure for any of this…sitting down and writing.”
But it’s advice that’s not so easy to do. Partly because I want to finish something, so I keep going back to things I’ve done bits of. Maybe I need to sit down and start something new, despite the fact that feels like I’m giving up and going backwards. But I need to prove to myself that I can do this…I’ve finished three books, for God’s sake…that I really am still a writer, and that nothing in this world, especially my own head, can daunt me or keep me from my goals.
Sounds good. Now let’s see what really happens.