If you know me at all, you might know that I work from the two crappiest, most unreliable computers in existence. One is really almost dead and is literally falling apart, and the other has never really been the same since it was resuscitated from the virus from hell. I have the constant fear that it will eat my work, but am afraid to use my external hard drive because my friend who performed the Lazarus miracle was unsure if the virus could have infiltrated that. Who has the money to go to Best Buy to fix that? Not I right now.
Anyway, the point is that this weekend I discovered that I somehow did a scary awful horrifying thing. I had been working on my new project in two places. Somehow I had a copy saved in my downloads, and another in my documents, with the same file name. I didn’t even know that was possible!! Only when I sent it to a great friend for advice (and also, after she’d read about 20k words of it) did I realize she was reading an older draft — one she’d already read too, she must have thought I was really incapable of editing.
Thus ensued panic. Like, want to throw up panic. I have a lot of balls I am juggling right now between writing new project with a deadline coming SOON, working on things for Hush (omg the reality of this book almost being in everyone’s hot little hands is SO INTENSE), work, kids having multiple snow days because it was too cold, other writing projects for my other fandom life….figuring out which changes I made where sounded like a hall of horrors I couldn’t even fathom.
Luckily I have an awesome editor who actually knows how to work this newfangled technology (read: Word. I’ve become such a luddite in my old age), and showed me how to compare them. Which is way easier but also time consuming and daunting and takes away from the whole, you know, writing and editing the manuscript in time.
This is not my first foray into the Writing Hall of Horror. There are so many times I’ve been there — I am sure all writers and artists have. Set backs, wrong turns, storylines that just don’t work, having to rearrange book length manuscripts, research that fails — there are so many ways these things can go wrong.
I’ve been asked why I do this, put myself through this, when the rewards seem so little. I assume by this people mean financial rewards, for which there have been none yet in my writing career.
I guess all I can say is that passion, and living dreams, being honest about who you are and that calling in your core — those are the rewards worth more than anything to me. I grew up with an artist, and although I never made art like she, I knew that I had words. I’ve known since I was little. But the rewards people expect you to reap for such hard work (mostly, money, status, prestige) made living that dream in anyway but the fringe seem frivolous.
Once I gave myself permission to do it, to write regardless of what was expected of me, it’s like the whole world opened up. I found that I have great strengths in writing — one of which I explore in Hush, which is the way that intimacy, sex, power dynamics can be used to really examine character growth and development — and that I have things to work on. Luckily, communities of writers and readers exist to help, encourage, give constructive criticism.
Today I’m thinking of the Hall I must venture into in order to sort the shit storm of this dual document hell, the research hell of figuring out where to place my characters, figuring out how much I need to know about one character’s profession, trying to ignore my fears about Hush… but thinking about who I am, how passionate I am about this, how necessary it seems — it’s maybe less scary and a whole lot worth it.