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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I am an author.

Period. End of sentence.

Okay, seriously, I titled this blog the way I did to hammer home the point (at least in my crazy head) - I'm an author. Sometimes, I need to remind myself of that. I may not be published yet, but I have a world I've been working diligently only for the past 7 months. I have more faith in this story than most people have in humanity. I don't need some sort of outside recognition of that fact to accept the label of author for myself.

Here's my logic. Our subconscious mind is powerful. It is, in many ways, the magic driving this machine that is life. It's just under the surface (Duh -- it has the prefix sub in it! HA!) and we can't escape it. So, why not then, make it work for you?

There are a lot of people out there who are working just as hard as I am, yet want to downgrade their work. "I'd like to say I'm an author, but I think I'd have to have something published for that..." Yada, yada.

So what?

You're setting yourself up for failure -- or at the very least, a long ass wait to get published. Why? Because in the back of your mind, you've given yourself permission to feel inadequate. To not push yourself to the brink of greatness. And guess what? You're great. You feel the desire to write for a simple reason: we need to hear your voice.

I know I bring her up a lot, but Jillian Michaels is amazing. She reminds me everyday in my workouts (Because I own every damn DVD she' ever made. Call me nuts, I can take it.) of what it means to go after something.

"Why would you choose failure, when success is an option?"

Why, indeed?

Recently, I've gone back to earlier chapters of my novel and found myself hating most of what I wrote. Not because it's necessarily bad... but because I've grown as a writer. It doesn't stop me from shuddering at it and wanting to drop everything to go back and make it perfect. (In case you missed it, I've a bit of a perfectionist at times. It's a condition I would happily pass off to just about anyone who would take it!)

However, I'm also deadline oriented. I've given myself this deadline of May 1 to get a full first draft done and I keep pulling myself back into that goal. The goal is not a perfect draft. The goal is a first draft. I want to be able to sit down, read it straight through and it makes sense. I can tweak afterwards, give myself a new goal, etc.

I am also really damn impatient. I want to share this world and the hardest part is having to wait. I think the universe is laughing maniacally as it teaches me patience.

"Ha ha, silly girl. You think you can tame me, you pestilent being!" ~Can't you just hear it? No? Just me, then? Wonderful.

Honestly, I know 7 months and counting is not a long time. In fact, there are many authors out there who's first novel took them years. Even J.K. Rowling. Especially when you are creating a whole new world from scratch. (Did anyone else have flashbacks to Disney's Aladdin right there? Yeesh.)

Anyway... What about you? If you're an author, how long did your novel take? How long is it taking?

It's days like these that I regroup and refocus. What's my goal? Why am I questioning things? Is there an answer?

Then I remind myself: I am an author.

Time will tell if that means anything to the outside world, but it means something to me. I enjoy what I do and even if I chuck out the entire second chapter... I'm cool with that. ;)


KendallGrey said...

"I am also really damn impatient. I want to share this world and the hardest part is having to wait. I think the universe is laughing maniacally as it teaches me patience."

That line made me laugh - it is the epitome of ME.

I've been working on the first book in my trilogy for almost 3 years now. Talk about perfectionist. :-)

Carissa Elg said...

Kendall, I KNEW I liked you! ;) It's so nice to have people of like mind around that get it. Thanks for the comment. I can't wait to read your novel(s)!

Ella Gray said...

I only truly became a writer last year and have gone through two incomplete drafts since then. It took me this long to learn enough about the craft to have a viable draft in the works. I'm taking a year-long course just to help me stick to a reasonable timeline and it has definitely kept me motivated.

It's hard being an unpublished newb sometimes, but one day we'll be the ones sipping Crystal on the beach of our private island... Dang! Well, at least the company is good.

Carissa Elg said...

LOL! I agree! The company is fantastic! ;)

TL Jeffcoat said...

I’ve scrapped my first book twice and started it over 3 times now. And after starting it the third time I decided I didn’t want it to be my first book. This was over a period of close to 12 years now. My current WIP is a totally different story that I combined from 2 different short stories I was conjuring up while trying to write my other book. So, it’s now my practice run before I take another shot at my “old lady” which is what I’ve started calling that other book that I can’t become satisfied with. I’m having similar issues with my current book, but I’ve learned to structure its design so that I will eventually finish it, and I’ll apply that same discipline when I write the next, and the next, and the next. You are not alone and its amazing to me how often I read a writers blog and I feel like they’ve been inside my head. For years, I thought I was just crazy. None of my friends growing up or those that I actually hang out with outside of social-networking are writers. I’m still new to all this social networking, but through it I’ve found a lot of people of a like mind as me. It’s comforting to know, I’m not the only one pulling his hair out over wanting to share his worlds.

This isn’t exactly what I was planning to say earlier when I read this blog, but it’s along the same line.

I'm still one of those poor saps who won't let me call myself author till I publish, but since I'll most likely self-publish (for reasons I'll discuss in my blog someday) I can publish it as soon as I'm satisfied. Hopefully his summer.

Carissa Elg said...

Thanks for sharing this! It's encouraging to know there are people out there who are in the same boat! One caveat -- you know it's coming -- you ARE an author. If you've been working on your books for 12 years, for all that is HOLY man, accept it. It's already chosen you. ;)

Anonymous said...

*waves* hello there! Great post!

Carissa Elg said...

*waves back* HEY! (And thanks!)

Anonymous said...

Awesome post Carissa! I love the fact that you emphasized the positive goal-oriented approach to writing. It's a breath of fresh air to read about personal deadlines. It took me two years to finish The Necklace, and even then I continue editing it while I write my second book.

It definitely is a journey for all of us writers. About 90% of the battle is won if we think of our work as publishable and worthy. The other 10% is external!

Thanks again for your great words!

Carissa Elg said...

Thanks, Jack!

I just feel the subconscious is so important and if trained properly, you can accomplish anything. In fact, I'd say the majority of my world sprung entirely from my subconscious and popped out surprising the hell out of me. I had a vague outline, but wanted to keep things as free as I could. What happened was beyond my wildest expectations. It's been amazing.

I get so sick of other phenomenal writers downgrading what they've done or accomplished before they've really even begun. If you have pen to paper; fingertips to keys -- you're not an aspiring author. You ARE an an author. You know?

Thanks for the feedback, btw! You'll have to excuse me, I've gotta go add your book to my Goodreads list now! :)

cherie said...

I love your post. So true. You know, that's exactly what I did when I decided to start blogging and come out of my shell. I'm letting people know that hey, I'm a writer, and I can actually write. ;) It took me long enough, but I wanted to stop being afraid of my dream. Of having a dream. So when I published that first post and linked it to my personal FB page, I was darn scared. But the feedback has been amazing and the support I've gotten has been overwhelming to the point that I am actually believing this could happen for me. =)