I love this quote because it reminds me that even the greatest writers of literature had to keep tweaking their work until satisfactory. Rough drafts are okay! Stop being a perfectionist, Becca!
This quote reminds me that it's okay if my story is about something no one wants to talk about, because that's exactly what stories are supposed to do - push us out of our comfort zones and make us feel and think and end up somewhere beautifully new.
My job, if I would just choose to accept it, as a writer is to transform the reader's boring everyday life into a life of wonder, dreams, ideas, adventures, choices, and experiences that make him/her feel like they have blissfully escaped for a while. If the reader isn't escaping, then I tweak it or scrap the writing and start over and work until the writing does just that.
Dude, this is it. This is the time. This is the age of fantastical, boundary-pushing, secret, imaginary worlds and lives. This is when they are reading it. Realistic fiction has its place but the reason I love fantasy is because it takes me out of reality and places me somewhere I could never be in real life. I have to realize that my extraordinary imagination (that somehow skipped my sister altogether) was given to me so I could write something extraordinary. I can't let people bogged down in reality tell me not to do it.
I think this quote is often a favorite of writers because that is exactly what it entails. You can't just sit down and casually spit out a life-changing, soul-shattering, crazy good story. No, you have to go through a life-changing, soul-shattering, crazy experience with your story. A writer pours everything they have into a book, and if they have not, they have not satisfied the requirements of writing. It is such a deeply personal experience that it can be totally traumatizing and overwhelming to even consider. Then there is the, you know, actual doing it part.
Oh, Maya. How your life and words have inspired me, let me count the ways. I have learned this lesson the hard way, friends. I didn't finish writing a story I was really excited about but couldn't make anything else happen with and a year later the story is still eating away at me. It is torturous. And I can't make it stop because the only way to make it stop is to figure out what to do with it. Sadly, that story is buried under an abundance of writer's blocks and here I am with my teaspoon, trying to retrieve it. But one day I will and the agony will be gone! So that's something to look forward to.
Self-doubt and I are bosom buddies. We are tight as shit. We go waaaay back. So I know most of my writing hangups are really my own self-doubt nagging at me. Oh, what if no one wants to read the kind of book I write? What if they don't like it? All my friends are serious readers with serious opinions, much like myself. What if they just SAY they like it because they are my friends and don't give me straight up feedback? What if I can't finish this manuscript EITHER? I mean, seriously, somewhere a poster is missing its perfectionist full of self-doubt model. But if I want to uncover my creativity, find more than that teaspoon to dig with, then I need to, you know, calm the fuck down. The creativity is in there, I can't let the nagging wife of self-doubt drag me down.
Wouldn't it be nice if there were shortcuts, though?
Back to the drawing board!
This book isn't going to write (or rewrite) itself.