About a month ago (almost exactly a month in fact) I was sitting in Panera with a friend, sharing our lamentations over bottomless cups of coffee and desserts that were certainly NOT gluten-free. She could understand my woes with such clarity and perfection, being a writer herself. Being a writer and one of my closest friends also helped as I would hate to thrust my venting and ranting on just anyone. If you’re reading this blog, well, you’ve volunteered for the torture. *g*
Writers are constantly having to create new material. Not only is this a necessity for a vibrant, thriving career, but it’s a damn requirement for living. Eat, breathe, sleep, write. Eating and sleeping are negotiable. But in the creation process, 1% of the time, we fill like badass artists, throwing letters into words like fucking glorious paint onto canvases which will change the lives of whoever sees it.
Yeah… 1%…. the remaining 99%, every word jotted down or typed looks like absolute shit. I mean, really, the rankest old man’s jockstrap wrapped around a dirty diaper and left out in the sun to ferment.
Even when we send our writing out for critiques and take strides to guard ourselves from harsh words said about our “babies,” it doesn’t seem like it’s enough. Beta readers, contests, and random blind markups with a stranger’s red ink. Still, it’s not good enough! Our writing needs to be stronger, tighter, faster, meaner, stronger… Ahem.
No matter how much we do “what we’re supposed to do” to make our writing perfect, it’s never going to look that way in our eyes. We’re always going to find new flaws.
So, what does this have to do with pumpkins?
Maybe it was the plethora of pumpkin lattes percolating or the pumpkin muffin sitting on my plate, but right there in Panera, I came up with an analogy for this whole problem. And yes, it’s pumpkins.
This time of year, we’re buying pumpkins for all sorts of tasty and creative reasons. To carve jack-o-lanterns and make delicious treats like pies and muffins. Both, to the best of my knowledge, involve scooping out all that pumpkin goop inside.
That pumpkin goop? That’s how we see our writing.
No matter what awesome end results for the pumpkin and that icky stuff, we’re still going to see the handfuls of gooey, gross, disgusting pumpkin goop. Everyone else is going to eat the pie and enjoy the terrifying holiday decorations. They’re even going to tell us (except for the weirdos who just hate pumpkin) how delicious or amazing our creations have turned out after all of our hard work. It doesn’t matter! We’re still going to see pumpkin goop.
EMBRACE THE GOOP, PEOPLE!
Well not so much, because that would be messy, but what I’m trying to say is that writers shouldn’t stress or feel guilty. They can’t see the pumpkin pie for the pumpkin goop. Big whoop! We get to enjoy others savoring the pies and oh-ing and aw-ing over our lanterns. And that? That’s a great feeling. One of the best!
And, in all that goop, we find the seeds and they become the big idea for our next book.