I had one of those days today. See, in my head...my writing, my stories, are dark and fraught with monsters that reach out from the dark to snatch the light from your eyes. You know those songs that are slow and slinky, the melody you wouldn't want to listen to at night? That's what I always imagine my writing to be.
Reading the couple chapters I've written of my current story had me curled on the couch, gut-punched by reality. My writing isn't like that at all. It's not as if Edgar Allen Poe and Karen Marie Moning had a book baby in my head. All I could think was that it was terrible and why did I bother?
Reality is harsh and doesn't care about your self-expectations. Reality doesn't pull its punches or respect a desperately called for time out.
This is another reason why having someone else read your work is important. Every writer has those moments of this sucks, I need to give up, throw it out and find some other hobby. When you've got someone who has read your work and won't lie to you, they can take reality and show you how you fit into it.
Today, that person was my mom.
I've always let my mom read what I write. Because she's never lied to me, and sometimes she has really good suggestions -- she's the average reader, and she is who I would be marketing for if I got published. I'm not looking to impress literary professors -- I want the average person that picks up a book for an escape. So, when I need technical advice--plot progression, character arcs, etc--I go to my CPs. I go to my fellow writers. But when I need, does this jar you out of the story? How do you like this character? I go to my mom. Because she's the average reader.
Just so happened that my mom was here today when I had my little writer-freak out. I'd just reread my work and I curled up on my couch under a fluffy blanket (guys, my dog attacked my face like she knew I was upset. The entire scene was pathetic.) and moaned. And mom gave me possibly the biggest compliment I could've gotten at that point.
"You are never going to be Stephen King or E.A Poe. Your book is not Bram Stoker's Dracula or the Lost Boys. Your work is Buffy. You have the potential to be Joss Whedon with boobs. You are not emo or goth-- and your writing does not reflect that point of view. You are a happy person with a whole lot of snark. Just like your characters. Embrace that."
Like, damn, mom.
But she's right. I'm never going to be E.A Poe, no matter how much I'd love it. I do need to embrace the fact that my writing is not as dark as I'd like to think. That doesn't make it bad. It's just not what my expectations were. So I'm going to make an effort to embrace what my writing is, rather than bemoaning what it is not.
Have any of y'all had that Reality Gut Punch? How did you deal with it? Did someone help you through it?
Til next time,