Sunday, March 30, 2008

Perception is only half the picture

I never saw myself as a good writer. A hard writer yes--a struggling writer, re-writer, slow, ultra uber anal writer, yeah. But a good writer?

A long time ago, I used to decorate cakes--which is a random thought in a post about writing--I'd never touched a bag in my life, and didn't know squat. But the local grocery store gave me a job, and time limits--six minutes per cake, and a quota. They also gave me training and a partner, and we'd stand around in this glassed off area and make cakes. Lourdes was the fastest cake decorator in the world. She'd crank those things out in two minutes flat, complete with four roses, double outline and little squiggle leaves, while I'd still be filling my tubes. Her tops were always flat, she didn't have to wet her smoothing tools and each shell-shaped scallop was a perfect .5 of a tablespoon. In other words--I sucked, and I kept thinking to myself, what the hell is wrong with me?

We both went through training at the same time, we got hired on the same day--I'm spiffy, and my learning curve is tight. (ok, so I was a little overly confident)

But this woman kept putting out cakes, and they got better, and higher and fluffier, and more multi-tonal. While mine looked store cake. You know? Adequate, but no cigar.

Everyday I'd go in and stress and get all mad, and wonder if I had some kind of problem. My times went down, my cakes got better. I produced better cakes--but I couldn't touch this woman. She was so far ahead, I had to run to keep her in sight.

One day I said, "I suck so much, I wasn't meant to decorate cakes." And I quit.

Then I found out Lourdes was actually a transfer. The very best, most tippy-top cake decorator in the entire chain. In all of three hundred stores, she was number one.

No wonder I couldn't keep up.

I was actually...quite good, having held myself to a standard so damned high I was shooting for the moon.

I still want to be Suzanne Brockmann. Her writing (when she takes her time)is fabulous.

I look at my stuff and say, "NOT. GOOD. ENOUGH."
and get all mad--while running to keep this long-time writing, fabulous best-selling author in view. And one half of me knows something is wrong with my personal image. And the other half--like that angel and demon on your shoulders? Is saying, give it up already, there's something wrong.

So I printed out this review...

  • ...from the romance studio

  • and stuck it on my temporary ('cause it's not mine) wall. maybe I'm not a one review wonder, and I need to get my head out of, lower parts, and stop worrying about running with the big dogs. I'm still a puppy. I have a lot of growing to do.


    Alice Audrey said...

    All I've seen so far are raves, which doesn't surprise me a bit. Quit decorating cake and get back to work. :D

    jodi said...

    lol--I have so much carpal tunnel, I can't hold a bag without shaking. (THATS what cake decorating does to you O_O)

    But I got seven pages done last night like some dam broke and all that sewage that got backed up into the drain went rushing out. It felt...really good. :)

    Kaige said...

    See, it's not just your claque that thinks you're good. =P

    I think this post hits on what I've been thinking about instead of writing. I need to work at my own pace and some times that's going to be slower. I just need to make sure I don't give up too early. My only problem is I don't think I'm trying to catch anyone else, just beating myself up with my own expectations.

    Congrats on another great review, Jodi!

    Jennifer McKenzie said...

    I knew. When I read your excerpt for this book, I knew.
    You're not Suzanne Brockman. You're Jodi Henley. She'll write her stories.
    You're going to write yours. And kick ASS.

    HipFunkyJive said...

    You got the stuff. Period. Keep pushing through and you will get where you want to go with the writing.

    HipFunkyJive said...

    Keep it up and you will be the writer that you want to be!

    Not that you already aren't, it's just that you are really blind about these things and wont listen until someone smacks you over the head with it. But oh well that just Joda (not a typo).

    Alice Audrey said...

    Talk about carpal tunnel, my wrist brace is wearing out and it's only a few months old.

    Unhinged said...

    Ach, were you thinking you WOULDN'T get another great review?

    I wish my printer was fixed so I could print the pages, but I'm still reading. Like I said somewhere else (maybe here, lol), I was finding a lot of funny lines in your story. Your characters have a great sense of humor.


    jodi said...

    lol--it's my sense of humor, or maybe Cowboy's. Sideways, and slightly skewed. Kaige, I think you're heading out there to Avon, just like Alice. (and why they don't do another Fanlit, I don't know) (lol--your characters are so dark, they don't fit this book at all, but they're delicious) (like I said--loved Fanlit)

    hey, Cowboy? You still there? I'll get the blurb to you by tomorrow--or call me, we'll hammer something out.

    Joda--*snort* you're the only one who still calls me that.

    HipFunkyJive said...

    You love it.