Wednesday, July 19, 2006

On Writing, Drinking and Blogging… Part Deux

How do writers handle the huge heaping piles of rejection that come with this business? We drink, we talk and then we blog. :-)

Drunk writer talk has saved my life a few times. Okay, I’m being a total drama queen, but it has pulled me from the depths of self doubt and/or confusion on many occasions.

One example that comes to mind was well over a year ago when I was in the early stages of revising the first draft of the manuscript my agent is shopping right now. This ms was a pretty big departure from my previous work—it’s written in first person present, told with multiple timelines and has a protagonist who isn’t your run of the mill girl-you’d-like-to-be-your-best-friend type. It was scary for me. Some of my CP’s didn’t know what to make of it at first and their well-meaning comments fuelled my worst fears of “YOU CAN’T DO THAT!”

After one frustrating critique group meeting, I was really upset. I don’t even remember why… just that by the end, I was jumping out of my skin, wanting to punch people—anyone—and thinking of giving up writing. Not a pretty picture. I don’t even think I’d received a particularly rough critique, I had just lost confidence and no longer trusted my ability to write or to distil multiple conflicting opinions on my work into something useful.

On the way home, I told Molly I needed some writer talk (Sinead was super pregnant at the time and couldn’t join us). Like a true friend, Molly got off the subway with me. Two bottles of wine and a box of chocolates later, I was feeling better about my work and was able to push through and finish the revisions and snag an agent—a great agent. The next morning Molly and I both wanted to die from our hangovers… but it saved my life—or at least my sanity. Sinead has saved my sanity countless times too.

What is it about drinking and writer talk that makes this happen? Whatever it is, it’s magic. If I could bottle it, I would. We become more open with each other, more honest, less afraid to give 100% honest opinions. Less afraid to receive them.

Now, I’m not advocating drinking here… Not at all. But I do think every writer needs his or her own version of drunk writer talk. Maybe it’s a hot bubble bath. Maybe it’s hugging your kid or walking your dog. Maybe it’s junk food. Maybe it’s a long run or hot sex or a back rub from your honey.

But if you’re a writer, I highly recommend finding what we 3 have found—your own drunk writer talk equivalent.

Drunk writer talk rocks!


Molly O'Keefe said...

Oh Maureen - it was two bottles EACH!! Great post. We need to find some back up sanity savers...something healthy.

Maureen McGowan said...

Guiness? That's supposed to be good for you :-)

Sinead M said...

Damn, I wish I'd been there. Being super huge pregnant really had it's down sides sometimes.

Early to bed, no red wine, a backside the size of new jersey...

And I missed drunk writer talk..

Anonymous said...
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Marcail said...

Nurturing relationships. Up there on the activity list of what women excel in. Our friends help us focus, find balance and ease up on the drama throttle. Value--priceless.

Maureen McGowan said...

So, true, Marcail. Friendships are what pull us through life intact.

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