The Insecure Writer’s Support Group convenes the first Wednesday of every month, and lets participants share their worries, insecurities, triumphs, hopes, and fears. This month’s question is:
Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in?
I’m always surprised by the twists and turns my storylines take, even ones I had planned out and memorized backwards and forwards for years. Unexpected romantic matches, characters living instead of dying, things happening differently, new subplots and characters making themselves known.
I also was really surprised at the huge depth of emotion I felt for a character who was killed during the Great Terror in 1937. I’d known for years he’d meet his end that way, but I never expected to cry for him and his impending fate.
He was always an obnoxious pest, but in the end, he redeemed himself as someone with humanity and sympathy, sacrificing himself so his elderly parents, adoptive daughter, baby sister, and niece wouldn’t be arrested and tortured too. I still remember listening to “Careless Memories” as his execution drew nearer.
I have almost no privacy at home, as if being forced to move back with my parents at age 37 weren’t humiliating enough, setting me back at least a hundred steps in my development as a real adult. The nearest library also doesn’t have carrels, and I HATE having to write out in the open at a table. It’s hard to get comfortable enough to let loose and just write for several hours every day under these circumstances.
Last month, I also had the total nightmare of losing the master file of The Strongest Branches of Uprooted Trees. I spotted a typo when looking for lines to use in Tuesday’s Twitter writing events (usually themed around a certain word), and when I went to save the file, I was told there wasn’t enough desktop or disk space. I often see this error message when too many tabs are open and the computer’s been on too long.
I declined the offer to make a duplicate of the file, assuming the error message would go away. Then when I tried to close the file, I couldn’t revert the changes either. This time, I was told I didn’t own the file and didn’t have permission to make changes.
I restarted the computer, believing it’d still be there, minus that one change. Instead the file completely disappeared, and didn’t turn up even with several different types of specialized searches. Odd how its folder bears its last modified date.
I do have two versions on my flash drive, but thanks to forgetfulness and my depression, I didn’t save the most recent version in all that time since mid-March. I didn’t lose as much as I’d feared, and I “only” lost an estimated 2,000–5,000 words, but I’m still beyond pissed I lost all that hard work, including research.
Several details of those lost words came back to me in the days afterwards, and I do have some lines from it on my Twitter, if I scrawl back far enough. Very bitter, painful lesson learnt.
At this rate, I’m not sure I’ll get even the bare minimum of 50K during NaNoWriMo. How can I, with little chances to be completely alone or at least in a private, uninterrupted area? It’s nearly impossible for me to feel comfortable writing when my parents are usually lurking nearby. Might be a psychological reaction to their negative attitudes towards my writing when I was younger, when I began only writing out of the house or when they were gone, hiding the fact that I was still writing.
How do you handle a lack of privacy playing havoc on your writing? When was the last time you lost an important file?