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I want to quit

(I added an addendum to this, so you might want to read that as well.)

I want to quit. I want to pull all my books off the Internet, go curl up in a ball, and cry myself to sleep.

How dare I even try to write an entire book. Who am I to think my words would be worth reading. They are stupid, grammatically incorrect, full of inconsistencies and pov issues, unworthy of anyone ever reading, let alone actually paying for.

I knew a lot of this before I wrote a novel. I knew, for example, that I almost always miss compound words because I just don’t know when a word is a compound or when it is two words. I often over use commas (according to some), and I sometimes forget to add dialog tags because I just don’t think about it.

I knew all of that, and more, but I dared to write a novel anyway.

Then I got the edits back, and I struggled through them for days. I learned about dialect issues, and phrasing. I learned that subtle points of description are sometimes pov issues. I learned that words and phrases I use every day aren’t considered “proper English.”

When done with the edits I was exhausted, sad, and feeling like I made a mistake. I expressed my frustrations and heard “the editor is only trying to help” and then I went in my room, and I cried.

Editing hurts.

This was my first “professional edit.” I’ve gotten edits before, but this was completely different, and it hurt. It cut deep and it left me thinking “what the hell was I thinking trying to write a novel? You’re not good enough, Crissy. You don’t even speak proper English, how can you write it? You never should have tried this.”

I’ll be honest. I haven’t written anything in three days. I’m trying. I look at the page and all I see are all the mistakes. I can’t get out of editing mode and get back to writing. And yes, some of it is definitly self pity, but a huge part of it is just me unsure if I am good enough to do this thing that I’ve always wanted to do. Is there a good enough?

Every editor I’ve had before has added some encouraging comments. They said they liked a line, or I used that punctuation right, or when returning the manuscript there is a note just saying how much they really enjoyed it.

This editor did none of those things.

Gregg reassures me that the editor is doing their job. They are paid to edit, not hold my hand and encourage me. And I get that, I really do. But it doesn’t sting any less.

I want to quit. I want to run away and forget I ever tried this.
But I’m not going to.

I still think my stories are good stories. I still think they deserve to be told. I want them to get out and be read.

Maybe it’s the “professional writer” part I’ll reevaluate, and just be happy being a pulp fiction writer. It’s not a bad thing. I love pulp fiction books. Millions of people read pulp fiction every day. Maybe it’s not exactly what I wanted, but it beats not writing at all.

Am I happy I did the editing? Not today. Today I’m raw and hurt and unsure of everything I’m doing. Give me some time and maybe I will be.

Did I learn anything from it? Lots of things. In that way this experience was good for me. Hopefully it will make my writing stronger. Only time will tell.

Will I do this again?

I’ll be honest with you…My confidence is a fragile thing. Every time I get shredded like this I hear the ex husband in my ear telling me over and over and over that I’m not good enough. No one will ever love me. No one will ever want me. “Who told you to think that way?” I hear it, and slip back into the victim I use to be. I start feeling useless and worthless like I will never, ever, be good enough for anything. And I retreat into the shell I carefully built around me to keep from being hurt. It makes me want to quit.

So no, I won’t be doing this exact process again. I need the little bits of hand holding, and encouragement. I need to know that the person editing my work genuinely likes it so that when the red ink starts flowing it doesn’t hurt quite as much.

Maybe in a few years my nerves will be a little less raw and I can try again. But not now…not after this one.

And the best part? I have two more rounds of editing to go. I’m going to do it. I’m going to pull up my big girl pants and I’m going to wade through the red ink. Then I’m going to go cry a little more and do it all over again.

Because sometimes making good art hurts like hell.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2015 in On Writing

 

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Footprints

footprintsmini And “Footprints” is OUT! Only 99 cents for the weekend.

A short story about a man who loses his father, and goes away to a cabin in the woods to deal with the memories and emotions that threaten to overwhelm him.

But he isn’t alone. There’s something in the woods. And now it’s stalking him.

This story has an underlying paranormal aspect, but like most of my tales it is about the human aspect. The emotion and the lose. The paranormal aspect is just a backdrop.

Designing the cover for this one was fun. The footprints started as bear prints in the snow. I had to add an extra toe, and reshape them to give them the right aspect. The trees, are also free-form with a little texture from snow covered trees thrown in.

Also, I have to say that it feels good to publish something. I haven’t published anything since October. It’s understandable since I’ve been working so hard on my novel, but after putting out so many short stories and novellas it almost felt like I was neglecting my publications. The fact that “Zombie Swarm” has been so difficult to write doesn’t make it any easier.

“Mermaids Curse” is now 85% finished, and getting closer every day. I’m working on the ending at the moment. It’s become a high fantasy novel, filled with magic and curses, with an underlying love story that runs through it.

Maybe that’s what my stories are. Stories of heart, lose, and love, set in fantastical places. I love the idea of creating new worlds, and creatures. I love using magic or advance science to do things that aren’t quite possible in this world. But the human aspect, the heart, is just as important.  Now I just need to come up with a tagline for that.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2014 in On Writing, Stories

 

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Being called out

I’ve been trying to surround myself with people who believe in me, and who push me to do… better… to do things I am not comfortable with.

Alright, lets be a bit honest. I think I have a touch of social anxiety disorder. No, I haven’t been diagnosed, and I don’t think I have the full onset disorder. I just know that sometimes I have to retreat from everything, and everyone, and hide in a little space where I slowly breath and cry, and try so hard to forget there is anything outside my little head. Try to find a place that is safe, and secure. One where the world isn’t closing in on me.

I do this as a self preservation technique. I actually started it when I was in my teens, and during my marriage it got worse. Since my divorce it doesn’t happen very often, but when it does happen the moments can be almost more overwhelming. I think because it use to be a constant stress that I was holding my walls up against  and now that the stress is gone I have let most of the walls down, so when a sudden stress happens it gets closer to me. Closer to my core, and my identity. It hurts much more and I have a bit of a freak out. But I also recover a lot quicker then I use to.

So that brings me to today, and The Story Telling Podcast. Sigh, and YAY at the same time.

Okay, I really like Garrett, and I consider him a friend. An internet friend, to be sure, but a friend. He’s read one of my stories, given me a nice review, and said “KEEP WRITING” often. That means a lot to me. Oh, and he’s actually laughed at my jokes, which doesn’t happen much.

So today… Garrett asks for people to call in and leave voicemail, and he CALLS ME OUT! Okay, so I watch every episode. I tweet them during the show. I comment, etc. etc. I suppose I deserved it, but…

No one knows this. I’ve been trying to get the nerve up to do some audio recording. I’d like to record one of my own stories, or just a little mini podcast on my blog here. But every time I pull up the recorder I look down at the glowing red button… and… freeze… It scares the hell out of me.

I am so afraid of sounding like an idiot. With type I can change the words, rewrite, edit, and adjust things for a while, and then release it to the world. With audio it starts with the fact that I absolutely hate my voice, and ends with the fact that I can’t think of words when I am speaking. They just suddenly fly away into the surrounding air, unwilling to land upon my tongue. I have no idea why I don’t have that problem while typing, but with speaking… it’s a HUGE problem.

But, on this journey that is my life I am trying to improve myself. I am trying to do things that make me uncomfortable and doing more. Doing things to get where I want to go.

So yes, Garrett, I will send you a comment or question. I will be your “bathtub girl”, lol. I will be scared, but I’ll do it anyway… Because I can.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2013 in Commentary

 

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The Past Hurts Sometimes

I spent much of my childhood trying to do “the right thing”. How does a child even know what the right thing is?

I knew that if I did certain things at certain times I’d get a little more attention from my parents. But they were so busy with everything in their lives that they really didn’t have all that much time for me.

It seems a silly thing to complain about sometimes. You see children who have no food, or suffer incredible abuse. My parents just didn’t have any time for me.

I spent a great deal of time alone. To clarify, I have two sisters. We didn’t get along very well. I found it easier to just spend my time outside, away from them, and avoid arguments.

I spent so much time trying to make my parents happy, and proud of me that even the small things hurt. Once I made dinner for my family. I usually did because both of my parents worked. I think I was 14 at the time. Steak, mashed potatoes, and some sort of vegetable.

My dad took one bight of it and got very unhappy. You could see the disapproval oozing off him. He was mad at me because I didn’t put any spices on the food. I forgot. I never ate spices on food, and I forgot. And he told me how bad dinner was, how horrible it was.

I learned a long time ago that I was never going to be able to please the people around me. And then I got married.

New mother, new baby, new home, and I cleaned the entire house. Even got on my knees and hands to scrub the kitchen floor because we didn’t have a mop. My husband came home. I thought he’d be so happy with me… No, there were things up on top of the computer case stashed out of the way that I hadn’t gotten too. The rest of the two bedroom apartment was clean, but there was paper up on top of that case. He was so disappointed in me, and I was that little girl trying to get approval. Trying so hard to earn someone’s love.

It took me a long time to learn that you can’t, and shouldn’t EARN someone’s love. Love is a gift you give. Love is free. Love is beautiful. It is full of hope and joy, and all those wonderful things of acceptance.

And even now, at 35 and trying to start something brand new I feel myself shutting down. Hurting. Afraid to try and earn someone’s love and attention. Will they like my books? Will they care? Will it affect anyone?

Who knows. And I shouldn’t care. I should be doing this because I love the writing, not because I’m trying to find that illusive acceptance somewhere.

My parents will never be proud of me. I accepted that years ago. And my life is saner now without them in it.

My husband would never be satisfied with anything I did. So I divorced him. And I have been happier without him.

But you can’t close yourself off from the world. You can’t satisfy the world. You have to satisfy yourself before you can do anything else.

That’s my struggle every day. Somewhere inside I am just that little girl still trying to find approval. And I suppose I always will be.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Commentary

 

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The Leftover Pieces

I don’t have much from my past. I had three life changing moments where I was left with only a box of things, and everything else had to be donated, trashed or sold, so only the few things that meant a great deal to me managed to make it to my home now.

 

But I’ve always thought those things, those precious memoires you choose to keep even when the world is collapsing down around you, those are what define you. They are what show what really matters to you.

Of all the “things” that survived the upheaval in my life, being homeless, a failed marriage, moving to four different states, and crossing thousands of miles of land with just a little suitcase to my name, the only thing that truly survived all of that was my writing.

I have the paper I stole from school, stapled together, and wrote in bright orange marker about a nymph in a forest. I have the poems I typed up on an old typewriter, stapled together, and marked with “1cent” up in the corner. I have the first school assignment that asked for a story about a picture. Some of these are 20+ years old, and I have them all.

In fact, over the last 30 years of writing I have lost only one thing (that I know of). Half of the very first novel I ever completed. Called “Deaths Gate”, it was about a girl who was unable to ever get close to anyone because Death marked her as his bride and would kill anyone who tried to claim her as his.

The novel took five years to put together. I started it in my Junior year of high school, and continued on through the first few years of my marriage. We moved around a lot. Had children. Got our first PC. Had to put all the hand written notes into the PC for the first time.

It took five years of a sentence here and there to get through the 200 page manuscript. It had elves, hunters, battles, nymphs, magic, and one lost young woman who simply wanted to claim her life as her own. It was terrible. Poorly written, and full of Mary Sue’s. But I finished it.

Then my computer crashed and took it with it. All of my hard work just gone. Lost. Unrecoverable.

I did find half of it in a drawer somewhere, the last half, and I still have it. No one else will ever read it, but it will follow me to every home I move to from here on out.

When I took some college classes I tried figuring out “what do you want to be when you grow up?” for the first time since my divorce and having my life in my own hands. I looked back n those leftover pieces and started to think about what was important. What made me “ME”.

What do you have as leftover pieces?

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2012 in Commentary, Stories

 

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