Writing in a Cocoon

I seem to go through cycles in my writing.

First, I love to write, then share what I have written with a couple (few) people, then read what I have written at various Open Mics on Second Life.

Then I find myself feeling all heady and full of myself when I get good reviews (which, so far, have been always).

After that, I struggle to reclaim my humility, feeling as Dani Shapiro says in Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Writing Life, that when one shares their work before it is finished, it drains the energy to continue writing. The pressure… divine pressure… is released before the task is done and the work suffers.

I am in that third place, realizing that I have been floating on a cloud of good reviews and instead of writing, I am gloating, looking over what I have written. The previous post, Ravel’s Boléro & My Writing, is an example of that gloating.

When I wrote:

Turning back to the window after hearing a couple of guys oooo and ahhh, (Lisa) stood watching two particularly active men. Tilting her head and squinting, they became notes on a musical staff, Ravel’s Boléro pulling the men through the staccato eighth and sixteenth notes. She watched as they tumbled three-quarter speed through the lines on the page, each thrust into a man’s body creating the accent at the end of the wave before a new crest of orgasms began. The symphonic orchestra in her head, mixing with We Are Family on the motel’s radio, created something resembling a Stravinsky composition.

…I swooned and shared the paragraph in half a dozen places, including, as you see, here in my blog.

Shapiro says that when that swooning happens… when one is so enamored of a section, a sentence, a word… that is the first thing to go in editing.

The original attribution is from British journalist, critic, and novelist Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, who said: “Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it — whole-heartedly — and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”

I re-read what I wrote and laughed aloud because after I put it here in my blog, I saw the absurdity of the paragraph, that it would take a musician to know what I was talking about. Is it a pretty section? You bet. Can I use it where I put it in the book? Not at all.

Re-Building the Cocoon

I’ve decided I am not going to share any more of my writings with people until I am ready for Beta Readers when the book is finished. I’m going to stop bragging about the book’s possible names, the importance of writing the book now and how much is me and how much is the character.

I’m re-building my cocoon.

I better stay in it for a darn long time, too. I have work to do!

Sharing my writing is sapping my creative energy. I need to cocoon and write for my One Reader (my inspiration!), finishing before sharing the whole work at one time.

2 thoughts on “Writing in a Cocoon

  1. This piece is super cool. I love the extended metaphor, and the way you guide a new reader back through your writer’s journey with the links to your other posts. Thanks for the awesome style example!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! That was a really kind comment. Thank you so much! It’s interesting you see things I did not until I reread through there. Isn’t that the way of writing sometimes? That writers have NO idea of some “theme” or “meaning behind sections,” but readers find them? I always love hearing (great) writers say they did not recognize or realize such and such until readers pointed it out. Even Lin-Manuel Miranda, writing Hamilton, said the same thing. (Watching Hamilton at the moment, it being the 4th of July and all.) We are wide beyond our sight, right? Thank you so much for commenting!

    Like

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