I Know Kung Fu. (The Matrix and Writerly Neuroses.)

Whatever, Keanu Reeves. Just stop talking and look pretty. Seriously though, I wish life was like the Matrix movies. Not that we’re all naked and plugged into machines and being fed liquefied dead people intravenously, but more like, you hit a key, and BAM! I know how to fly a helicopter. Unfortunately though, learning stuff takes time. And effort. And from what I’m told, all that time and effort makes the end result more meaningful. But tell that to my frustrated throat, trying to learn French. Screw you, Rosetta Stone!

I didn’t mean that. I’m very grateful for Rosetta Stone. Even if it is sometimes more like a kidney stone. And this Matrix business, is going somewhere.

A few posts back, I said I was going to talk about the fear of the next book. Here it goes. Exercising demons in five, four, three…

I’m never going to write another book. I can’t. There are no more books in me. There will never be another decent idea. It’s over. Nice knowing you. Time to trash the laptop.

That’s what happens every time I finish a book. Like clockwork. And even though I know it’s just part of the routine, I’m always convinced. This one is the last one. This one is it. "But it never is," my rational brain says. "Just because it hasn’t been yet, doesn’t mean it won’t be one day," my other rational brain says. "One day, it will really be the last book. So…it might be today!"

I’m not sure which, but one of my brains is a serious a-hole. Here’s another writerly neurosis. See if you can hum along.

This book isn’t going anywhere! It’s not even going to be a book! There is not enough plot here, and I don’t know where it’s going, but I’m fairly certain it’s about to derail and leave me stranded in shit creek. What am I at? 25k? And I need how many words? There aren’t that many words.

That’s the one that strikes when I start a book. Because every time I wonder if what I’m starting is really a book, or just feels like one, and in a few weeks I’m going to turn a corner and run into a brick wall, or worse, find myself on the most boring street of the most smelly town in Contrived-ville. This neurosis is directly linked to this next one:

You want me to write how many books? But I can’t even see past the end of this book! And you expect me to know that there are more books? Okay, but in a few months, we both might look pretty darned foolish…

That’s the one that happens when I’m in the midst of a duology. Or a trilogy, like I’m currently attempting. (Not Anna. Anna’s duology already survived this neurosis.) And I watch movies like The Matrix marathon on AMC (see how I brought that back around?) and halfway through Revolutions I think, "they should have knocked this off at 2. Or one." And then I think about my trilogy, and apply the same logic. Cue the restart of the spiral.

I should probably be less crazy. But what the heck. The writing life is never certain. So some healthy worrying and paranoia and all around wackanuts never hurt anyone. There are other sets of neuroses, too, less related to the actual writing and more related to market forces. Maybe I’ll tackle them one day. But not today.

5 thoughts on “I Know Kung Fu. (The Matrix and Writerly Neuroses.)

  1. Anonymous

    Awesome First Chapter

    Well, I didn’t win a free copy (totally didn’t enter in time – doh). But I loved the first chapter! Seriously. It was amazing, especially how you managed to make me feel so much sympathy for the hitchhiker. It was so sad, so tragic, and yet so fun and scary at the same time. Can’t wait to read the rest. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    When are you going to be in MN??? Are you going on RL tour? I would love to meet you in person and squee my love of Anna all over the place. Wait, is that a disincentive to tell me? Hmm….

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Mine is capital letters.

    Test Reader: Seriously, what is it with you and random proper nouns?
    Kate: I JUST LOVE THEM, DON’T TAKE THIS FROM ME.

    Reply

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