|You almost feel like you could fly without the plane... |
by addicted Eyes on flickr
My husband is the kind of person who jumps out of perfectly good airplanes for fun. He rides a motorcycle as his daily driver. He eats those hot wings you have to sign waivers for before ordering. I, on the other hand, am still traumatized by the roller coaster at Kiddie Park when I was four.
But I'm still an adrenaline junkie. I just get my fix in other ways. I never did school projects earlier than needed - I need that panicked rush of adrenaline to helps me focus. (I swear I'm a percolator, not a procrastinator!) I read really fast to keep my brain firing at high speeds. I use loud, fast music to pump myself up.
And then there's the writers' high. You know that feeling when you dash out entire scenes in mere minutes, when your story flies from your finger tips and an entire world opens up before you. When writing is easy and you find yourself unconsciously mimicking yours characters actions and facial expressions as you write. When reality disappears and you are wholly invested in your story.
Best. Feeling. Ever.
I hit a writers' high this weekend, cranking out more words in a single afternoon than I did the entire previous week. Everything I wrote was beautiful, important, brilliant. I couldn't wait to send the whole manuscript to my critique partners. I was invincible!
Then it hit. The crash. Like any junkie, coming back to earth sent me spiral into depths as low as my high was high. It took me a while to figure it out. I stared at my work in progress. The words were the same. They didn't suck. But nothing more was coming. I opened notes from a CP on the manuscript I'm querying. They were great notes. But I couldn't even begin to process them. I moved on to revising my query. It was terrible. Nothing I did could fix it.
Fortunately, I have a great support group of other writers to buoy me back up, to assure me I'm not a rambling idiot (most of the time), that my feelings are valid, but temporary, to read, critique and reread my query until it shines.
Writing, while a solitary activity, is a group effort. It takes a village to raise a book. Or at least a writer. Today, the madness of the high and the despair of the crash are both gone, settling back into my usual optimism that my writing is almost there. Today I am incredibly grateful to my fellow writers for carrying me through the mania. And to my family for understanding when I get a little irrational over imaginary people.
I keep chasing the high. I keep fighting the crash. Because I'd go crazy without writing. Or at least crazier.
How do you cope with the highs and lows of pursuing your art? How do you recover when you've expended everything you have on the page or screen and need to refuel? I'd love to hear your tips!