Remember that scene in Dave, where the White House tour guide is walking backwards and leads the group by saying, "We're walking, we're walking, we're walking?" If you haven't watched Dave (and who hasn't?? Only one of my favorite movies!), then you can also see the Progressive Girl in action on one of those addictive tv commercials that are better than some of the sitcoms.
Well, I'm writing. Thank you, God. It's a scary thing when you know something is wrong with your efforts. For non-writers, the closest sensation is that feeling you get when you've left for a 17-day/8-European-countries tour ... and you can SWEAR you forgot to do something really, really important ... like turn the stove or the iron off or drop Fido off at the pet-sitter's.
I will not be done with my first draft by August 18 unless someone gets hold of God's remote control and presses PAUSE for me. But I did write a thousand or so words last night.
Of course, sensitive Princess-and-the-Pea writer that I am, I may be completely de-railed by a wonderful audio book I'm "reading": THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett.
Some books irritate you. They are poorly written. You weep for the trees these books caused to be sacrificed in vain. Their characters are thin. Their plots are so filled with holes that they resemble a mouse-nibbled piece of Swiss cheese. Books like that motivate me. I think to myself, "Self, if XYZ can write this tripe and actually get paid for it, heck, even get on a best-seller list, there's hope." (I try not to think that maybe my readers read my books and get similarly juiced, but hey, I'm sure it happens.)
THE HELP is NOT one of those books. THE HELP is the sort of book that is so good, I say to myself, "Self, back away from the keyboard. Back slowly, slowly away from the keyboard, and you won't get hurt."
If books that irritate me are all "tell," then THE HELP is all show. And what a wonderful, marvelous show it is. I'm only on Chapter Three, but oh, my Lord, this book is better than Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino. I am praying, "Please, please, please, Kathryn Stockett, don't let me down. Keep all this good writing coming." The last time I felt like this was when I read GODS IN ALABAMA by Joshilyn Jackson.
My book is nothing like Kathryn Stockett's (or Jackson's, btw), even though it is Southern, even though it is women's fiction. I hope that "nothing like" counts only toward plot. But in my deeper, darker moments, I find myself wondering if I'm ever going to be that good.