Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Missing in Action

The fact of the matter is I stink. I really do. What kind of rotten knitting writer/writing knitter would just disappear into the wilderness like that and not even drop in long enough to say Happy Thanksgiving?


It's not that I haven't thought about you because I have. Lots. Every time I pick up my knitting needles or thumb through the gorgeous new Harmony guides or sit here (literally) beating my head against the laptop, praying for the right words to finally FINALLY appear on the screen. It's been a long tough grind to reach the place where the story finally has a life of its own, a life separate from me.

For some reason I had a wicked time shedding the characters from my last book and slipping into the hearts of the new characters. I've been alternately overwhelmed, intimidated, terrified, uncertain, anxious, ready to grab my AmEx and race to the airport, ready to board a plane for anywhere but here.Poor Dallas and Poor Nancy have heard all about it in email. At length and ad nauseum, I'm afraid. (Nobody on the planet can whine more effectively and endlessly than a writer on a killer deadline.) The clock keeps ticking. Those calendar pages flip faster than I can register. And I waited and waited for the paragraphs and pages to mount.

There's a weird syndrome common to working writers that I call The Butt Springs Syndrome. I was telling Goldisox about it this afternoon and, brilliant thought he is, he just didn't get it.Me: It's like the second the writing starts going well I spring up from my chair and run as far away from it as I can get.

Him: I do that too when I'm procrastinating.

Me: No! No! It's not that. I said it happens when it starts to get good.

Him: You mean the words are flowing and you know what's going to happen next?

Me: Yes! That's it! All of a sudden the words are there and they're flowing from my brain to the keyboard without human intervention and something comes over me and next thing you know I'm at Shop Rite.

Him: (very long pause) That's just weird.

And it is. And also extremely common. I mean, I could understand running for the hills when the going gets tough. That's just good sense. But when it's good, when it's there, when you're finally in the zone: what the hell is that all about anyway? I mean, you'll never see me put down the needles when the cables are forming effortlessly. So what is it about writing that sometimes makes me want to flee the country?

crossposted to Romancing The Yarn


Anonymous Liane said...

Barbara, I can totally empathize with what's happening. But I can't offer any explanation, either. The minute I'm really into my writing, I have to stand up and get something to drink, or make a snack, or practice playing the piano. I guess the only cure is that which you've mentioned before -- Sitzfleisch!

All the best,

November 28, 2007 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Brandy said...

I'm not a writer, so I can't help with this strange phenomenon. I can say as a reader, I have done the same thing. When a book has gotten to a very good point, I'll put it down and find something to do. *g* And I have no idea why.

It was good to "hear" from you, though!

November 29, 2007 7:49 PM  
Anonymous KaliAmanda said...

I understand it perfectly! (I think...) I do it when I read I book, the moment I realize I love it, I stop reading. It's an ineffective way to hold that joy a little longer -- if you don't finish it can never end, right?

Twisted logic, but you can't argue with these things.

November 30, 2007 10:21 PM  

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