Friday, January 15, 2016

Game on!

The writer's world is a mixed bag, I tell ya. It's like the game Bean Boozled. You've heard of it, right? It's a game that elicits excitement and trepidation in each spin. The game's spinner presents a player with a choice, and the choice is a gamble: get a yummy jelly bean or a nasty jelly bean. But you don't know what you get until you eat it. You simply take the plunge, play the game.

Writing is also a gamble. You don't know, either, what you get until you simply write it. It may be crap, or it may be brilliant and inspiring. But it's not until you spin (aka "write") that you discover the flavor. I've written a lot of things that definitely didn't "taste" good, but I've also written a few things that were pretty sweet. Each manuscript and blog post is expectant with Bean-Boozled excitement and trepidation.

As writers, we put ourselves out there, not knowing what kind of response we'll get. We are a vulnerable lot, a risky lot. But I'm learning that without vulnerability and risk, there is no authentic writing. I've also learned, however, that with authentic writing, there must also be a thick skin. What an oxymoron, huh?! Vulnerable, but thick. Hmmm. Perhaps we should add juggling to a writer's repertoire. Ahem. I digress. Back to the point.

This mixed bag keeps it interesting, that's for sure. For so long, I've been frustrated with one of my manuscripts. While my main character is strong, my story lacks tension. I keep revising, however, and bringing it back to my critique group. Now, having one's manuscript critiqued is a bit like chewing a jelly bean from Bean Boozled and praying it tastes like caramel corn instead of stinky cheese. (According to the number of revisions I've done, that means I've eaten about eight "stinky cheese" jelly beans!) One of these days, I'm bound to pick caramel corn, right? No matter what, it's been fun playing the writing game.

The game wouldn't be as enjoyable, either, without the right players. My critique group is made up of some pretty amazing people. In fact, I often feel (pretty much every month) that it's out of my league, and I'm in way over my head. BUT. But, I refuse to allow fear to win. I refuse to be intimidated. No, I don't know as much as they do, nor do I have the level of experience they do, but I know this: I will learn. I will press on and keep at it. Remember the adage "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again"? There is going to be failure. There will be nasty jelly beans. However, the goal, for me, is to play the game well. And if you play it well enough, you'll eventually win. I hope I get caramel corn one of these spins.