The Struggle Is Real
There seem to be some people out there who believe that writers live glamorous lives filled with relaxing days sitting behind their computers in a cute little coffee shop, with smiles on their faces and a perfectly mixed latte in their hand.
I hate to break it to you, but that’s not entirely true.
More often than not, I hide behind my computer in my writing corner praying my kids don’t accidentally knock over my now cold insta-coffee as I bang my head against the back of my chair. (I’d say desk, but I don’t even have one of those).
Now, that’s not to say that writing is all bad. If it was, I couldn’t see any sane person continuing the process. But, suffice it to say, a writer’s life is not all sunshine and rainbows. Especially when their story doesn’t seem to want to cooperate. And let me just say, THIS IS MY LIFE right now. My current project is a retelling of Jim Barrie’s classic Peter Pan. And while I love the concept and I know the book has awesome potential, it is literally giving me fits.
Let me begin by saying I love retellings. I have since I was a little girl, and being able to write them now is one of the coolest things ever. In fact after Peter, I have ideas for a couple of other twists I’d like to tackle. We’ll just say that Fantasy is my happy place.
So what’s making Peter such a challenge?
Well, while Peter is absolutely staying true to the fantasy aspect of the genre, for my version, I’m also incorporating quite a bit of Science Fiction. This in itself seems like it shouldn’t be a huge issue (I love sci-fi movies AND I’m a science TEACHER for goodness’ sakes!), but I’ll be honest and admit my Sci-Fi reading list is rather short. This is something I’m working to remedy, but as I’m writing this first draft I definitely feel pressured to represent the genre right. I’m not saying this is a bad thing by any means, but it has slowed my process. Instead of just writing, I find myself questioning whether or not the idea I just had is good enough, or feasible, or ‘too out there.’ Some days I’m amazed I get words on the dang page at all.
Ultimately, in the scheme of things, this is probably not a bad problem to have. Frustrating as it is, the critical questioning of ‘Peter’ will only make the story stronger in the long run. It will benefit my world building, rid my plot of potential holes, and enrich my characters.
But blast it all if it isn’t hard.
(Hence, the head banging)
I don’t know if sunshine and rainbows are on the horizon for me and Peter, but if I had to guess, I’d say no. Once I finish my first draft, I’ll have a whole new set of challenges presented. Revisions, editing, rewrites and all that good stuff. I can only hope that the hurdles I’m jumping now will make the ones I come across later easier to clear. But if not, I will persevere. Because as a writer, it’s what I do for my craft.
So, I guess if you wanted, you could argue that writers are a little crazy. But as Mr. Lewis Carroll so appropriately wrote, the best people usually are.