Friday, August 12, 2011

The Writing Game

It's crazy. I am seventeen years old and caught up in the Writing Game. And seriously Sara Shepard? I think this is more dangerous than anything in which Aria or Sutton ever got involved.

Because despite its misleading title, the Writing Game isn't even a game at all. Yet it's the most competitively played, most psychologically tempermental sport I have ever willingly signed up for.

From the moment you put your pen to paper with the intent to "write a book," insecurity sets in. And I know this because I have virtually been to every writing blog, writing site, writing conference (in LA) and never once have I met an author who claimed total confidence. So from the moment you start (and even before that! When the seed called an idea is planted in your brain!), this little voice works its way into the back of your brain. And it might not become audible until you finish the first chapter, or get your first brain freeze, or hit the 30,000 word mark, or finish the first draft thinking it's perfect to later realize it... wasn't.

It's all part of the game. With insecurity comes self-doubt, and that's when most of us start looking around for all the advice and writerly info we can possibly digest. This part of the game seems to be helpful (and sometimes, really is), but some of the players get stuck in the "what else have you got?" phase. Which results in never finishing that first draft. Never getting it to a decent draft. Never polishing it to near perfection. Never finding the agent that could possibly fall in love with it.

Some take what they learn, though, and they move into the revision phase. Which makes us feel either completely unintelligent for having such sucky first drafts, or completely relieved that we had the chance to fix up the craziness before submitting. Revising tends to take longer. Much, much longer because we want to reach perfection. And some of us get stuck here because the manuscript can't ever be perfect. Because it's "not ready yet." Because other things get in the way. Because we start to wonder if we were meant to be in the pool of people who never will be published, traditionally or otherwise.

And some start to query, the mounds of rejections so discouraging they decide to fold. Or the good news of a new author's new book being so new and fabulous that you feel as if you may as well give in now.

Agh. It gets so weird talking about it like this. Because, in hindsight, writing is just something I want to do. It's not a competition. It's not a game. It's not what we're set up to believe it is. It's got an entire industry behind it, sure, but that's not all it is. Writing is the art of telling a story with ink. It's worth the hard work, the dedication, the blood, sweat, and tears. And if you don't think it is, then don't do it! There's so much more out there for us as human beings with creativity and imagination. Find what's right for you, and just love it.

Follow the dreams that your heart longs for most,
Deserae McGlothen

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