The Writer In My Head

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I wasn’t planning on writing today. My schedule is really busy and I’m stressed out from the end of the semester and a few other things. But I needed to do something for my sanity. I’m supposed to be in a class right now, but decided that missing it is better for me than going.

First I need to complain a little bit about this Christmas gig I’m doing. I have a lot of dark thoughts about it that I won’t share because they’ll make me sound insane, so I’ll content myself with saying that every second I’m there, I have fantasies about standing up and wildly knocking down stands and instruments before screaming that it’s the worst gig I’ve ever done, that it isn’t worth the money, and that it makes me hate life right now.

That’s not insane at all.

Now that that’s out of the way, I can continue with less crazy thoughts.

I am conflicted about the semester ending. I need a break. A long one. That’s for sure. I’m eager to get out of one of my classes and am indifferent about the end of another class, even though I’ve enjoyed it. But I’m not excited to be done with my first biology class. Partly because I’m afraid I may get a C, my first C ever in a college course. Also because it’s interesting. I’m enjoying learning, and wish I could go back and be taught the earlier stuff again since I would probably understand it a lot better now than I did then.

I have to keep reminding myself that I get to take another biology class next semester. And that I’m in a biology-based degree. I’ll get enough biology to keep me happy. And probably drive me insane… er.

Enough about school. This is about writing.

I am on page 267 of my rewrite. I don’t know how I managed to get through 30 pages last month, because it feels like I haven’t written in a very long time. Progress has been super slow. Crawling along.

I’m still marching through parts 2 and 3, but my brain keeps planning part 4. It’s the only part I haven’t written all the way through, and it really wants to come out. After 2 years, it’s excited to leave my head and become more than just my obsessive thoughts. Unfortunately, I can’t really write part 4 until I get part 3 the way I want it. So it’ll have to be content with being a few notes in my notebook and a lot of thoughts in my scary little brain.

Friday marks the 2-year anniversary of starting this story. I think. Pretty sure it was December 13. If I said a different date in a different post, that’s probably more accurate. But from here on out, it’ll be December 13. I like that date.

I know that rewriting the story is making it better. I can see the difference between what I wrote a week ago and what I wrote a year ago. I can even see a difference between what I wrote a week ago and what I wrote a month ago. I’m improving all the time. Being in an advanced writing class, where I’m forced to look at my weaknesses and work on them, is helping a lot.

But I’m having a problem. It bothers me every now and then and I’m not sure what to do about it.

I feel like I’m two writers. There’s ME the writer, who actually puts words to the page. Then there’s this writer in my head who is a vastly better writer than ME the writer. This writer in my head plans my stories, plays them out in my brain likes movies, creates characters who I love so much they seem real, and creates a world that I get completely lost in.

ME the writer isn’t that good. ME the writer is inferior to the writer in my head. I feel like I have something magical, but that the way I write it down isn’t magical. In other words, I feel like my storytelling is inhibited by my inability to express what I mean. When I write, the words don’t always say what I want them to say. Sometimes I can figure out how to fix it, but sometimes I can’t.

It’s like I can’t properly convey the characters or their emotions or thoughts on paper. It’s in my head, but it won’t come out in its entirety. What comes out is this watered-down version of that magical story and those people I love, this shell of their experiences that aren’t as meaningful as they should be. I don’t know how to fix that, aside from to just keep editing and keep rewriting, and hope that each time I do, it’s making me a better writer.

I’m not a super emotionally showy person. I don’t like showing emotions to people I don’t know. I’m bad at talking about how I feel. Talking about how I feel makes me feel like an idiot. That shows itself in my writing, too. I feel what my characters feel strongly, but what comes out on the page reads to me like a puppet going through the motions of showing emotion without actually understanding what emotions are because it’s a puppet.

I don’t know if that’s what it actually reads like, or if I just can’t see it any other way because of my weirdness regarding emotions. I guess that’s why I need to have other people read the story.

My writing parties went the way of the dinosaur when I started school. Raine and my husband haven’t read a word of it in months. I haven’t even thought about asking them to read because I’ve been distracted. I also haven’t needed it as much as before because I’ve also been able to see progress. I’ve been able to see that I am getting better, even though I know I still have a long way to go.

I don’t mind working and working on this story, rewriting it until it’s on paper the way it is in my head. I’m not concerned about how long it will take. I just want it to be right.

What I’m worried about is that the real ME the writer is never going to catch up to the writer in my head. That I will never be able to exactly say what I mean, that my writing will never express the story that lives in my head and consumes my thoughts whenever I’m not actively focused on anything else. That I will be plagued with this feeling that it’s not right forever, that I will never read it and think “THAT’S IT! That’s exactly what I was going for!”

Sometimes I get that feeling, when I read a passage that I’m particularly pleased with. But they’re little passages, not an entire story. Not 680 pages or even 267 pages or even 1 page that live up to my expectations.

The writer in my head is completely unhelpful, too. It knows what it means, but it’s no better at expressing that to ME the writer than I am at expressing it to readers. We’re both really good at planning and thinking and understanding the story, but we both kind of suck at sharing, I guess.

I think I’m obsessed with writing now. I’ve always loved it and have always been obsessed with the action of writing, but now I’m obsessed with the idea of writing. I don’t want to just write. I want to be a writer. I want to improve. I want feedback. I want to take writing classes. I want to share my story with people I don’t know in person, because I get really nervous when someone is physically sitting in front of me reading something I wrote. The internet is a safe zone, where I’m anonymous, where I can hide who I really am while I struggle with my thoughts.

I want to try to drag the writer in my head out into the open. I want to merge that writer with the other writer, the one that is writing all these crazy thoughts down right now. I want to be able to express what is truly in my head, not some vague idea of it.

I want something I write to mean something to someone other than me.

I like the picture I posted above. It’s at the top of a mountain on a foggy day. It makes me think of falling off the edge of the world into some unknown. Nevermind that you know there are just rocks on the other side. Pretend you don’t know.

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