Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Are You Headed In The Right Direction?

It's not usually a good idea to start second-guessing yourself in mid-stride. Yes, you want to pop up and take a sighting on a regular basis, but if you start worrying about your direction in the middle of a book, you can simply derail yourself. Or to stick with the "mid-stride" idea, you don't want to trip yourself up.

However a Karmic slap upside the head will trip you, derail you and lay you flat. And that is a good time to get up and take a sighting on where you're going before you head out again. But then, I don't know that you can help but stop and assess things when you've been knocked for a loop.

So I'm picking myself up, and processing through my father's things, and what he wanted and what I want. And it's giving me some clarity that I didn't have before. I mean it really has cut through the nonsense that I knew was nonsense but I couldn't eliminate.

It's time to stop fooling around. Time to stop obsessing over shit that doesn't matter.

I talked before about the difficulty of finding that one unifying goal in fiction writing these days. For screenwriting, I could choose something symbolic - the Nichol Fellowship competition - which was a single thing that encompassed most of what I needed to do at that stage of my career. You had to write well, you had to write a lot, and you had to put it up for judging. Fiction has no central thing that is equivalent in standing or universality. Indie publishing sort of gave me a bit of the same drive....

Except it didn't give me the focus. As a matter of fact, indie publishing is full of distractions.

It has been a good thing to do, but that is not the prize my eyes should be locked on to. It's the velvet case the prize sits in, maybe, but it isn't where my eyes should be. August Wilson put it perfectly:

"You're entitled to the work, not the reward."

Whoa. Yeah. That's actually it, right there. It's all about the story.

So the prize is the work, and the way to get that is via Heinlein's Rules of Writing. That's my focus now. That's my mantra. And this blog is a part of that. It's the commitment to keep going. I'm still a little punch drunk from the karmic slap, but I think I'm on my feet now.


KevinMc said...

Wonderful blog, Camille. I just popped over here via your link on Dean's blog (your replies). Thanks for writing so well and eloquently. =) Very sorry to hear about your father; I hope you find your feet and that his memory gives them wings.

Best of luck,
Kevin McLaughlin

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks, Kevin.

I'm hanging out a lot on Dean's blog these days. He's a great one for getting your focus back where it should be.