Monday, August 11, 2008

Welcome Guest Blogger: Devon Gray!

Embracing the Neuroses

When I began writing books two years ago I was relieved to discover I wasn’t, in fact, going crazy. The voices in my head were characters, not entities that would ultimately land me in some sort of facility with structured visiting hours. This relief was short-lived, however.

Not too long after embarking on this journey I threw myself into with great fervor I came across a quote, by an anonymous author, I found most amusing. “The more I write, the more I understand why Hemingway shot himself and drank.” Two years and three manuscripts later? Not so funny anymore. Now, this is not to say I have turned to the sauce or contemplated visiting a pawn shop in the middle of the night with all of the proper criminals, it’s just to say I can appreciate that quote. I’ve discovered what teetering on the edge of sanity can feel like.

I think if you ask any writer why they immerse themselves in this gut-wrenching, angst-inducing, whirlwind of a thrill ride we call writing for publication they will respond in a very matter-of-fact way. “Because I can’t not.” Crazy? Perhaps. But not nearly half as insane as walking away from it.

All that is left to do is embrace the neuroses. Accept that your characters will visit you in the most inopportune times (mine are partial to the shower when they know there isn’t a chance in hell I’ll be able to write anything down, and it is a near certainty I won’t remember what they’ve told me in its entirety by the time I get out—this delights them to no end). Realize that every time you put your work out there for review, a little piece of your heart will go with it. Learn what a gazillion years feels like (as you are waiting to hear back from a contest, editor, agent…fill in the blank here).Understand you will have to develop skin as thick as that of a rhinoceros to make it through the journey. And come to believe it’s okay to be a little crazy. At least that’s what the voices in my head tell me.

You can see the fruit of my neuroses in my debut novella “Addicted”, available now from The Wild Rose Press- The Wilder Roses.

“Playing For Keeps” (See? I went back for more…) will be released from the same publisher in late November.

Visit Devon at her website.


Anonymous said...

What? I'm not insane? You know the voices in my head may be characters but I'm still insane. You'd have to be to put yourself through this writers game. The question should be, 'Why do we love it so much?', answer that one! I dare ya. Actually, I'd really like you to because I can't and I really need to know why I keep coming back for more when I get slapped down. sigh
Insane I tell ya, INSANE!!!!!
Loved you post, not that it helped any. LOL

Anonymous said...

Your voices could be artistic angst, which will make you a stronger writer. Don't you think?

I enjoyed reading your blog. Congrats on your release!

jj Keller
Fantasies with spice and humor.

Devon Gray said...

Rhian- to fall back on part of the blurb for Addicted..."The problem with addiction? You crave what you need...whether it is good for you or not." I certainly crave writing, and I know you do as well! That's why we keep going back.

JJ- You are right! There's nothing like a little angst to push one along, is there?

Thanks for stopping by!

Susan Macatee said...

That's me! Crazy as a loon!
And loving every minute of it.

Great post!!

Helen Hardt said...

If I had a dollar for each time I've told myself how much easier my life would be if I didn't have this persistent nagging at the back of my neck to write, I'd be a rich woman. And my skin is still as thin as tissue paper. I'm told that's "writer's skin." But still we plug along, and when you get those favorable comments from a contest judge, or when an editor tells you she got "belly tugs" while reading your work, or best of all, when you get that contract, it's all worth it. Great post, Devon, and so true!


Christina Phillips said...

Devon, I sometimes think it's a requirement for writers to be a little crazy!! We must be to keep on keeping on in this business!!

beverley said...

There's so doubt. Anyone in the arts is stark raving mad!!!!

Kealie Shay said...

Loved this post, Devon. I've been joking for awhile now with Mysti and Jenny, we need t-shirts, "I write what the voices in my head tell me to..."

It's a fine line between creativity and insanity, but I love the journey. Thanks for being with us today!

Lara Dien said...

Devon--I just remind myself that all the great shamans and bards and firekeepers and what-have-you (all storytellers of one sort or another) were considered crazy by the people who depended on them...

I cling to that thought.

Must go refill whiskey glass, now.


Renee Knowles said...

Hi Devon!

I so agree! Just embrace it! I've become used to having people running around in my head all the time :)

And my characters are partial to coming to me in the shower too! Must be all that running water... :)



Anonymous said...

Devon, what a great post. I've always thought writers were not insane as many previously thought, but just character overloaded!

I loved Addicted. I can't wait to see what you come up with next! Happy writing. It's good therapy.

Now, if I would only finish my last few chapters and send my own novel in...

Kealie, I've seen a similar shirt that says "I do what the voices in my head tell me to do." so your thoughts aren't far-fetched. You could mass produce the shirt and sell it at places like RWA Nationals and make a killing!

Devon Gray said...

Thanks for all the great comments! Be careful with the whiskey and blogging, Lara-LOL. An author friend of mine refers to blogging while under the influence (and the subsequent things that are said) as bloozing...blogging + boozing= bloozing.

On the t-shirt. I have one that says "Careful or I'll put you in my novel..."

Thanks for a great day girls!

Walt Mussell said...

Devon, sorry so late in checking out your post. I concur with the craziness. One of my co-workers just learned that I get up early i the moning to write and told me I was nuts; dedicated, but nuts. Granted, I can't beleive it myself. Only a crazy person would do this.