Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Let's Not Get Crazy Here

Have you ever just gotten up in the morning and smelled your soon-to-be bad day wafting through the air just under your nose as you lie in bed trying to ignore your impending doom? Okay, so a bad day doesn't have to be that awful, but you can't be sure of that when you are lying there trying to figure out just how bad your day is going to be, since you've already sensed it.

Maybe your bad day turns out to be nothing more than waking up late and then having to rush around to set the day straight. Or, perhaps you did everything just right. You woke up on time, got dressed, the kids hardly fussed as you gingerly coaxed them out the door and into the car to go to school, so you can't understand the sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach.

Something is off, and you don't know where.

Still trying to find out where your day is going to fall apart, you drive extra cautiously on the freeway. This is where my day might start falling apart.

If I haven't discovered the root of my bad day before I hit the freeway then it's going to become apparant on the freeway. This is where someone is going to rattle my nerves. For all I know, I'm going to be involved in a terrible car accident and that's why my middle finger flies up to the first idiot that swirves around me or breaks hard in front of me. Any other day I may not have noticed this behavior, but on this kind of day I am on high alert for anyone who might get in my way and jeopardize my weakened bubble.

So, you make it off the freeway in tact and just a little more on edge than when you woke up this morning, and you still have that feeling in your gut. Something is going to go wrong. What is it already? Are you going to trip up the stairs? Are you going to forget that it's a minimum day and leave your child at school?

You run down your checklist: Your children were happy when they left, your sister and your husband were both chipper when you spoke on the phone with them; you've logged onto Facebook and everyone's life seems in order and happy, you run down the blogs you're following and everyone seems to have a chipper and helpful posting up already, and there are no form rejections in your inbox, so everyone in your world is having a great day except for you. You don't want to let it get you down though, because you've got plenty to do and only a few hours left until all the kids are running around the house again.

You open up your work in progress (WIP) and start pounding on the keyboard. You've got a 2,000-word goal for today and can't let anything get in your way. As you type, that sickening feeling and that waft starts to go away. You don't feel so bad anymore. You actually feel pretty good; mostly because you are working on your WIP and the thoughts are flowing, uninterupted, onto fresh pages. Maybe you've even exceeded your word goal for this day.

Tell me, when you sat back to read over what you've just written, did your bad day rub off onto your characters? Did your MC have a rotten day? Did the love get lost, or the best friend die? Maybe you knew what was expected of your story for today and it wasn't going to be a good thing.

Are we intrinsically connected to our characters? Do we suffer because of our characters or do our characters suffer because of us?

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