Monday, May 14, 2012

three years and counting

When I hear about now-famous authors working on novels for 10 years, it makes me feel better that I've been working on my current one since 2009.

2009, for the love of maude. The way I feel about this novel -- a Southern Gothic retelling of Jane Eyre, set in post-WWI Alabama -- is completely different than most of the other stories I've written. It's more important. More personal. I've started and restarted it at least three times, which is unusual for me. Normally I just plow through to the end. I'm in my third rewrite, and only about 9,000 words and one ghost-appearance in.

I know in my head what I want the words to sound like. But - of course - they never come out that way. I think my career in journalism and dogged dedication to clear, concise prose in my working life has drained all the lyrical turns of phrase from my brain - if they ever existed there in the first place.

Do you ever wonder if your real-life job interferes with your creative-life job? I adore my real-life job as a magazine editor for a regional magazine, which maybe is part of the problem. It functions like a creative outlet. I know how blessed I am to have a paying job - in a journalism field (!) - that also is a satisfying career. Sometimes, though, I wonder if I'd get more writing done on my novel if I had a drudge job I hated, like waitressing or subsitute-teaching. (I was a substitute teacher for a while when I was a freelance writer and...just don't. Don't do it. Ever. Unless you are good at classroom management, which I was not.)

And then I think, that's just another cop-out for not writing. I have time in the evenings I could be writing. Instead I spend them watching TV or playing on Facebook or something else equally not worthwhile. (Although are you watching Sherlock? The second episode was last night. It's fabulous.)

Though I haven't been writing (much) I do think about my novel often, FWIW. Pinterest has been fabulous because I keep a board on there with images meant to inspire my writing. If you'd like to see, you can go here:

(Inspiration for my heroine. "Cynthia," 1917, by William Strang)

You can see my inspiration house, Rosemount Plantation, here.

I recently found more information about this beautiful and near-abandoned antebellum Alabama home, thanks to another Southern writer who loves it as much as I do. You can find a more detailed history of Rosemount on his site here, and find out more about him and his writing on his personal blog, The Literate Pen.

I promise to post more often about writing. That is, after all, why I started this blog in the first place. Life intervenes and I won't stop posting about other things, but I pride myself on being a writer. And writers... well, they write. The published ones, anyway.

1 comment:

Clare C. Greenstreet said...

I've been working on my book for about 10 years. One more edit and then I will be querying.

And I always think my real life job gets in the way of my writing. Just went back after a writing holiday, where I locked myself in my room and wrote, getting far more done than I normally do. And I only work 16 hours a week.