Monday, March 11, 2013

Tortured Souls

As I said in last Monday's post, I went back in to my blog posts and reworked some of them. I found this next passage in my very second blog post ever. October 30, 2009. Back when I was a shiny new blogger and had no clue what I was doing, had two followers and never thought I could ever be a published author.

The other morning I awoke at 2:13 in a cold sweat. One of my heroes couldn't possibly have been where he was supposed to be and do the things he was supposed to do because at the time he was fighting Napoleon. Talk about crazy. So at 2:19 I was sitting at my computer rewriting chapter 17, and the prologue and half  the dialogue in chapter 8. I suppose I could have waited until my daughter went to school to do it, but ... I didn't.

This is why I am a writer? To be tortured with angst and wake up at 2:13?

No. I am a writer because I have stories to tell. They might not be Hemingway or Faulkner or Flannery O'Conner stories but they are mine and I want to tell them. I want someone to say to me, just once, "I LOVED your book, it was FANTASTIC! I never wanted it to end." This is why I am a writer.

Okay, so just wow. Writing the above, I could never imagine that I would come as far as I have. I have gotten letters and reviews where people said they loved my book. It's a heady feeling. Almost the best feeling in the world (apart from the moment my daughter was born safe and sound).

And yes, I am still tortured. I still wake up at ungodly hours, sweat soaked and wondering if I've done enough research to support my novels. I don't think that will ever change. It's part of the writer's essence, I think. Hemingway and Fitzgerald tortured themselves constantly. Did it make them better writers? I think so.

I think when you place your heart soul and guts into something you have no choice but to be tortured. You want it to be as good as it can be.

Tell me -- How tortured are you? Do you wake up terrified over some aspect of your book? Or do you let it slide until the next time you get to it?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

19 comments:

SA Larsenッ said...

I'd say I'm pretty tortured. New story scenes or ideas don't wake me in the middle of the night as often as they used to, but I do find that getting to sleep has become the issue. I can't turn off the ideas.

Anne Gallagher said...

Sherrie -- I hear you on the new ideas keeping you awake. Or before you go to sleep. I just want to stay up and write it down. Sleep usually wins.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Great post Anne! Your early blogging experience is so similar to mind and, yes...I've awoke in the middle of the night many times to work on my novel. And if you're a writer, you never let it slide. Not for one second. I reckon the tortured angst is part of the package.

R. Mac Wheeler said...

I fall in love with my characters.

Spending time with them is far from torture. They take me to amazing places.

~Sia McKye~ said...

I can't say I'm tortured per se,but I tend to dream about scenarios and characters I'm writing. Probably because while writing I'm totally immersed in that world.

BTW, I love your stories!

Maria Zannini said...

I'm not sure I'd call it terrified, but if I'm struggling with a scene, I'll sometimes come up with the solution while I'm dreaming. Then I have to sneak off (without waking anyone) to write it down before I forget. :)

Johanna Garth said...

I slide back and forth between being tortured and between being ridiculously overconfident. And sometimes the book becomes so paramount that everything else recedes into the background and the world i'm creating is more real than anything else for miles around.

Nicki Elson said...

Ooh, that's a really fun idea to visit your past self. And how cool that you got to see those dreams come to fruition.

Very few things (beside the need to use the bathroom) will get me out of bed in the wee hours BUT I often do come to realize inconsistencies or other issues at those times, and they occupy my mind until I can get them properly noted somewhere...huh, maybe I should just get up, get it out & go back sleep, eh?

February Grace said...

Tormented. Constantly. But there is no escape, writer is what I am.

So proud of all you've accomplished, you're an inspiration. <3

xoxo
bru

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I don't know if I'd characterize it as "tortured", but my chatter in my brain won't always SHUT UP when I want it to... you know, when I'm trying to go to sleep, or stay asleep, or participate in meaningful chatter with another real human being.

Liza said...

I do wake up...but then I lean over and write what I need to in order to remember in a notebook beside my bed. The house is way too cold to get up and write. That would be real torture!

Bish Denham said...

At the moment I am tortured because this novel I'm working on is so complicated and requires SO much research. Usually though, I write about things I know (the islands) so there's MUCH less angst. That said, I have awoken out of a sound sleep with something important that needs to be corrected or written and if I don't get it down it's lost.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

I often make myself sick over my books and publishing. Sometimes I wonder why I do this to myself, hah.

Sarah Ahiers said...

I don't usually wake up in a sweat, and i don't typically think about my stuff while in bed. Because that's what the shower's for. ;)

The Happy Whisk said...

No tortured soul here. Life's too damn short for that.

Cheers and boogie boogie.

Shelley Sly said...

I'm so glad you've gotten as far as you have! You deserve all the positive reviews and gushing emails. :)

I go through waves of obsessing (I know, it's terrible) over what the heck's going to happen next in my book... to not caring much and letting it slide. All depends on my mood, my health, and how invested I am in my WIP at the time.

Carol Kilgore said...

Yes, usually around 3am. And it's nearly always about something that doesn't work. I guess it takes my subconscious that long to defrag and see the problem. And it wakes me right up to take care of it.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm not sure I would say that my novels torture me. Not working would be more of a torture. But I do let my "fear" motivate me to push my craft harder.

Patti said...

I don't normally wake in the middle of the night, but I do know that thinking about my books fills up a good portion of my day.