Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (Turn and face the strain)

Standard

changes

Still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets and
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test

Changes, David Bowie

I’m freaking sick of changes — with my writing, that is. I’m pretty sure I can find things to revise indefinitely. Every time I give a manuscript “just one more run-through, to polish it,” I find something to improve on. My critique partners attribute this to a kind of fear of flying — or fear of submitting, anyway — but, I promise you, this is not the case.

I was submitting things that I was absolutely sure were wonderful a year and a half ago. I want to crawl in a hole and hide when I think about those submissions. I know I could make them a lot better now, and I’m trying to do just that. The problem is, when will it end?

I’ve been a professional writer for about twenty years, making a decent — if not particularly well-paid — living by words on the page/computer. But I only dove into the fiction pool about two years ago. That pool is deep and murky and scary, but thrilling, too. Problem is, I’m still learning how to swim, fiction-wise.

pravs-j-try-harder (1)

I’m no spring chicken, and I’m used to writing-as-work. Deadlines? No problem? Marketing? Pshaw, I’ve been doing my own marketing for years. Working with editors, publishers? Been there, done that — and we’re still friends, even though my books are long out of print.

It’s an odd feeling to be old and new at the same time in this writing game. I’m learning things I thought I already knew, and my writing is getting better, both fiction and non-fiction. I’m confident about some aspects of my writing, while other things have me shivering like a kid in a haunted house.

You don’t have to tell me I’m writing this blog as a form of avoidance — hello? Why do you think I started the damn thing? But sometimes slipping over here gives the scene I’m stuck on a chance to coalesce into something smoother or sharper. (Come on, brain — I’m still waiting for that light bulb to go off!) I’ve deleted as much as I’ve written in this round of revisions, and I’m sure that’s a trend that will continue.

changes 2

When will the changes stop? Will I ever be able to look at a story and say, “This is absolutely word perfect; there is nothing left to fix.” I have trouble imagining that. I read once that Garrison Keillor will mark up copies of his printed books with improvements he’d like to make — ooh, could I ever relate!

Bowie said it best: “My time was running wild, A million dead-end streets and Every time I thought I’d got it made, It seemed the taste was not so sweet.” That’s exactly how I feel whenever I think a story is just right. And the Faker — Imposter Syndrome — keeps insisting I retake that test. I’m sick of the bloody ch-ch-ch-changes, but I’m still not sure the story is ready to submit.

What about you? Does Imposter Syndrome cause you to make constant changes to your stories? Are you trapped in an endless cycle of revisions and write-and-delete, too? (Please don’t say it’s just me!)

About anyadavis

Anya Davis writes in the real world, on a slightly tilted axis. Faux angels, humans with the genes of gods . . . and wolves. Dark suspense and wickedly erotic paranormals: reality, reimagined. Anya is a member of the Ohio Valley chapter of Romance Writers of America. She is unpublished, but working hard.

9 responses »

  1. “It’s an odd feeling to be old and new at the same time in this writing game. I’m learning things I thought I already knew, and my writing is getting better, both fiction and non-fiction. I’m confident about some aspects of my writing, while other things have me shivering like a kid in a haunted house.”

    Well written Anya, I think this is wise and describes my life as well. M.

  2. Oh, B O Y !!! That’s a good one! Umm, you know me as well. I’m still fearing my publisher’s rethinking the offer. No kidding. I won’t finish stories because I’m frozen–convinced my work is frivolous fluff. Yeah, I’m reading your WM now with awe. Intimidated? Uh, just a little. I AM A GREAT WRITER! 😉

    Fabulous blog, Anya! Fabulous!

  3. Gabriella, I’m just writing like crazy, trying to get more ready to submit before you have a damn anthology in the bookstores!! (As you will before long, I’m 100% sure!)

  4. And I cannot see you unpublished for long if anyone’s reading what you’re submitting to them. WM kicks a**!–Oh wait, I can say ass on here since you’ve got the restriction posted!
    Anyway, all in due time, with a shit-load of perserverence, and even more patience! All in due time.

  5. I can so relate. I had a chapter reviewed by my critique group last night, which I thought was pretty dang perfect… Yeah. Not so much. 😦

    But, I do believe growth is logarithmic, meaning there are a few key craft issues that, once nailed, will make a huge improvement in my work. The more one learns, I hope, the more the changes become cosmetic and less structural.

    I also cling to the adage that readers will forgive a good story with poor craft, because I do think I have interesting stories.

    In the end we do it because we love it, right? Right? 🙂

  6. I think the glitter mouth that sends off sparkles is the best. That would be good for giving presentations that are brilliant.

    Guess the painted fingernails that give off sparkles would be the inspiration for a writer that is brilliant.

    Maybe for Nano, we should all get glittery nails that spark.

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