Month: March 2014

On Ego

The more I give up my ego, the stronger writer I become. Sometimes I feel like the world and its many personalities distract me from the meaningful. When I worry I’m not good enough, I start writing for the wrong reasons. To put it another way, I shouldn’t write to be heard; I should write because I have something to say. For the last two years, I’ve been thinking a lot about nothingness: no good or bad, no right or wrong, no incorrect or correct, no ego. This concept of void ended up being a predominant theme in my manuscript, but I still struggle to achieve this state of zero. Strip away our cities, our walls, our rules, our senses, ourselves. Strip enough away and nothing remains. Like a post-apocalyptic world… “Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world.”—from The Road by Cormac McCarthy I don’t know why that quote has stuck with me for so long. Maybe it hits a little …

On Faking It

Even though I’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for almost a decade, I still sometimes go to Fisherman’s Wharf and pretend to be a tourist. I take pictures of sea lions at Pier 39 and try on funky hats from that one crazy hat store. I’ll even buy a pretzel from the hot dog stand I used to work at. When you’re a tourist, it’s okay to be out of place, to be lost, to be in a place that’s not home. Every now and then, I need to remind myself that. I don’t get to travel as much as I’d like to these days, and sometimes I worry that the older I get, the more comfortable I become. The best parts of my life happen when I’m in an uncertain place. Like I’m trying to find my balance on an edge as sharp as a knife, except it’s not about balance, it’s about picking which side to fall off from. I found this tidbit on Neil Gaiman’s blog this morning: “I loved how comfortable I’m …

Developmental Editing Afterglow

I finished the 17,0357th draft of my science fiction manuscript last October. I’d changed the story so much through previous drafts that I needed another pair of eyes to tell me what was working and what wasn’t. I hired a developmental editor to begin work in December and got back a ton of notes in mid-January. And by “a ton” I mean a 5,000-word document PLUS detailed notes throughout my manuscript PLUS a one-hour phone consultation. He emailed me to see if two weeks would be enough time for me to turn in my next draft. I made some funny noises when I read that, then replied back, “HOW ABOUT MARCH?!” It took me no less than one week to find the courage to open his notes. I had to put on my big-girl panties, and even though I don’t drink, I really really REALLY wanted to drink, because damn it, I felt insecure and scared. Because what if the thing that I’d spent the last two years working on wasn’t good enough? And blah blah it takes time to be …