Writing Diary: Baby Birds and the Foxes that Eat Them
I re-read the notes a writer/editor gave on my first chapter. I avoided the notes for six months. Gosh, I felt like a total failure as a writer.
But I still wanted to write, so I kept writing while ignoring this little gut feeling. Unfortunately, ignoring it only made the feeling grow stronger until it turned into a voice that cried, “YOU ARE A TOTAL CATASTROPHIC LOSER AS A WRITER. Enjoy anonymity because that’s where you’ll be forever. No one will ever publish your book. It’s stupid. You’re stupid. Want some wine?”
Finally, I ventured into editing again. This required opening the email with notes that had been burning a hole in the bottom of my stomach for the past six months.
Guess what? It wasn’t that bad.
Actually, the notes pointed out a lot of things I’d already noticed as I’d kept writing.
They also pointed out some things I didn’t notice and might make the work stronger.
They also suggested cutting some things that I put in to make my work “fit” the genre better. But honestly, I didn’t really like it.
When I try to make my work “fit” it crashes like a baby bird during its first flight. It sputters like a vehicle after it’s run out of gas. It poops out fast, causing me to smack my forehead and ask, “Who wrote this? Your eight-year-old self?”
Nope, I can’t make my writing fit. As they say, a good story is a good story. Conversely, a poopy story is a poopy story. Along the way, there will be some genre-isms that’ll need to be cut or added for pop culture. But for now, the story is more important.
Another thing: as I grow, so does my story. My story has gotten better over the past three years because I’ve not only grown as a writer but also as a person. I hate that who I am effects my writing so much (and I just gasped because I’m not sure if I should say ‘effect’ or ‘affect’).
I feel like I’m floundering like that baby bird trying to fly. Can’t I just be in the air already? Then I remember from some documentary somewhere that the fluttering of wings on the ground actually makes the bird develop the muscle it needs to fly.
I also remember sometimes these baby birds get eaten by foxes before they can take off.
It’s a harsh world for birds.
Will the writing world chew me up and spit out the bones?
Sometimes I think it will.
But today was a good writing day.
Today, my wings are still flapping.