Friday, January 8, 2010

Here's My Problem

Apparently, I have a penchant for telling someone what their problem is. i.e.: "You're problem is..." Supposedly I've done this a lot with Prissy Bower. And while some point to this as a character flaw, I prefer to think it a gift. After all, if you had a problem, and I knew what it was, wouldn't you want me to share it with you?

Now, as it turns out, I have a problem. Lucky for me, I'm in my life to point it out to myself.

I've been driving myself nutso trying to put this series pitch together for next weekend's SCBWI conference. How the heck does one go about this? Am I supposed to present an overview of the characters and the world they live in? Am I supposed to outline each book in the series? I've tried both, none of which make me happy about the one page/5 minute timeframe with which to pitch this series.

But that's not my problem.

I spent a good chunk of yesterday questioning whether to bother with writing at all. I've got a good job, earning a pretty decent living with minimal exertion. Why can't I be happy with that? Because I've never been satisfied. I've spend most of my adult life in search of the next best thing. The chase, for me, is where the excitement lies. The idea of becoming an airline pilot was much more exhilarating than the reality of it. I hope that's not true for the dream of being a published author.

I'd like to think each new story brings a new challenge. They're all new worlds designed to prevent boredom. But here is where my problem lies.

I spent a number of years writing the first Schmitty the Pirate book. Certainly, boredom took hold a time or two. I'd put it away, come back to it, and so on. I never liked how it began. I must have written ten different opening chapters. When I finally found one I liked, it didn't fit the story I'd written. So I wrote a whole new story. And, with it, I found the passion again. By the time I was querying, I was ready to write the next one. But then, I got sidetracked with the idea for Sister Very Pretty. I love the characters in the Schmittyverse, but it was refreshing to step into a new world. I decided to focus on Sister Very Pretty.

And then, this stupid conference came up. And then, the opportunity to pitch a series came up. And I found myself back on the island of San Iguana, with Schmitty and all his friends and enemies. Suddenly, I had a dilemma.

My problem is, I'm supposed to be focused on one thing, but keep getting sucked back into the other. And now, I'm totally jazzed to dive into Schmitty book II and...

"Well, who says you have to stick to one thing?"

"Huh? I...well, I do."

"So who are you?"

"Well, I'm the writer."

"So you say. But what are you writing for?"

"I don't get it."

"Why are you writing this stuff? Are you on a deadline? Is someone paying you?"

" Not yet?"

"Maybe not ever."

"Well, maybe."

"So what are you so worked up about? Write what you want to write."

"Well, that's awfully simplistic."

"Why shouldn't it be? Look you said it yourself. You have a good job. Your not sleeping in your car. You don't have any of the sob stories so many famous authors tell about when they got their big break. Face it, that's never gonna be you. Quit pressuring yourself so much. Think of it this way: You've got nothing to gain, so why not have some fun?"

"That's a good way of looking at it."

"That's what I do."


"I'm always here."

Huh? Problem solved...I guess.


Travener said...

Just promise me you're not writing on your laptop while you're flying the plane, even if it takes only "minimal exertion."

Traci said...

Wow - we were on the same wavelength today! I just posted a sort-of-similar entry in my blog 30 seconds ago!

You're definitely not alone in your thoughts. I wonder all the time if it's "worth" it, to keep pressing on, keep writing. But in the end, I just "need" to, as frustrating an answer as that can be. *sigh*

Lost Wanderer said...

Answering one's own questions is fab ;)

And your other self is totally correct. Do what you want to do.

I did this post over at my blog which stem from similar issues I was thinking about.

coffeelvnmom said...

I have the same problem, on a smaller scale. (Even when cleaning my house - back and forth, circle after circle.) I have a hard time getting anything done. At least you're excited about what you do - regardless of which project it is you're working on at that moment;)

Matt said...

Trav - Don't worry. It's highly automated.

Traci - I read your post yesterday. Maybe it got stuck in my subconscious.

LW - I remember that post. I'll re-read it.

CLM - I'm excited about both. I wish I could split in two to work on both projects at the same time.

Erica said...

Sounds like you figured it out, uh on your own... Good luck with the pitch. That's good advice you gave uh... yourself

"You've got nothing to gain, so why not have some fun?"

Follow your heart and your gut :o) (that's advice from my other half)

Cinders said...

Something must be in the air. I've been having a lot of similiar thoughts and I haven't even read a blog about it...until now.

Kathy said...

I talk to myself, too. Sometimes no one else wants to listen.

Nobody gets it the way other writers do. I hope you figure things out! Ultimately, it's your decision.

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