Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Up All Night

As a family we have made it through Christmas and I am doing my best to keep up with my son in Guitar Hero. I'm looking forward to a very writerly new year. I have a book coming out around Valentine's Day (it's called Prama) and another one coming out next December - which ironically is set around Valentine's Day.

Back when I was in film school, we had a term called the "latent image blues" which referred to that sense of disappointment you felt when the film was sent to the lab for developing. During this period all you could do was wait and think about everything you wish you had done differently. That's how I feel about Prama right now. I hope it's good, but I've lost all perspective. All I can do is sit back and wait for it to come back from the lab. (or Publisher, rather.) At least it's done. The book coming out next December is fast coming due. The imposing deadline has created mucho anxiety. So, right now, I am suffering from both the latent image blues and the crush of an approaching deadline. Needless to say, I'm a lot of fun to hang with.

In fact a lot of writing is surrounded by negative feelings. Which makes one ask, "why do we do it?" For every writer the reason is different, but for me one came a week ago when talking to a high school girl who lives down the street and read my last book - Animal Attraction. She was reading it at night and got into it. She told me that she kept intending to put it down to finish another day, but didn't. Finally, she committed into staying up way past her bedtime to find out what happened and finished around two in the morning. She had no way of knowing that she perfectly described what I always hoped - that at least one girl would stay up way too late reading it. She made my day and my week. And now, it's is almost two in the morning and I am the one who is still awake. I'm working on the book. (Alright, now I'm procrastinating and writing a blog, but I'll get right back to it. Writing can be disappointing. It can produce way too much anxiety. But, most of all, it's a lot more fun than any of the alternatives.

4 comments:

jennifer echols said...

The term "latent image blues" is hilarious! I went through something similar when I was a music major. I would write a piece I loved (or thought I loved) for composition class, but if it was for band instruments and the band director didn't agree to take class time to have people play it, I would never hear it. Except in my head. Writing is very frustrating, I agree, but it's better than THAT. You may not know how editors and readers will respond, but at least you can enjoy your own work without relying on a lab or an orchestral ensemble to make it happen.

WHITNEY LYLES said...

I completely understand! I've felt that way about all my books. I think we get too close to our work and then we just can't tell anymore if it's working. It's always when I get the galley or sometimes the final product that I go back and laugh out loud at my own writing. But until that point I start second guessing myself. And the anxiety associated with deadlines is the worst.

Caitlyn said...

Wow! Your neighbor girl is not alone! I have almost stayed up past my bedtime for all of the simon pulse books that i read. Exspecialy yours, i started it at eight, and feel asleep is S.S the next day. I stayed up till like 4:30 or so, then started "Ripped at the Seams", i got half way threw that, and them my alarm rang. WOW i was so tired that day.
Your awsome reader
Caitlyn

Little Willow said...

Jamie, I have to tell you that the word PRAMA is genius, and I'm going to share it with my students. :)