First, the background: I have been wanting to be a published short story writer and novelist ever since I was ten years old. I wrote my first novel (front and back on a 70 sheet spiralbound notebook, no skipping lines, in pencil, in cursive handwriting) when I was 12 years old, which I lost. I used to draw cover art for my future novels and write short synopses of what the novels were about when I was in middle school. I succeeded in finishing yet another novel (I was 14 by then) but it sucked so badly that I threw it into my parents’ fireplace. I’ve thought of three other novel ideas, of which only one I’m currently working on (off and on), and the only thing that I’ve finished and don’t feel sucks 100% is my thesis for my MA in English / Creative Writing. My dissertation topic includes one woman’s artistic vision how that vision dictates the form of story that she ends up writing, a sort of “form and function” union in the creative process.
So, I be havin’ some experience in dis creative writin’ thing, yo.
The hell that is creative writing is that what’s in my head never ever comes out right on that sheet of paper, on that computer screen. I think *big* — whole worlds, backstories, geneologies, whole histories — but I’m so impatient with the whole writing process that what gets out is equivalent to those half page synopses that I used to write when I was 13. Instead of 200 pages, I settle for six. I get antsy, want to move around, want to *talk* — but writing is a “sit still and don’t move for hours on end” sort of thing, which drives me up the freakin’ wall.
And I have an MA in this thing, and I *teach* writing, for God’s sake!
But I love writing — that’s the kicker. The one thing that frustrates the stew out of me is the one thing that I even remotely feel competent in. I don’t know if it’s the artist temperament or it’s just me or what — creative writing is both a heaven and a hell, and when I’m in it, I can just weep in frustration and, then in joy. Makes me wonder if all artists have a little bit of bipolar in ’em.
And I’m thinking of this as I’m about to start on a new story (for a biannual creative writing party that’s been held for over a decade now), and, yet again, this is an idea that really ought to be 30 pages long *at least* but will likely end up being five instead.