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Struggles

I’m working on my short story. The revision is due today.

It’s about a girl who struggles with her weight problem. The story really hits too close to home, though writing it has been illuminating and gave me the strength to begin my diet in the first place. Unfortunately, writing it now is just making me hungry :P I’ve had my “shake for breakfast”, and it’ll be awhile before it’s time for my “shake for lunch”, but maybe in an hour or so I can let myself have one of those snack bars. They’re pretty good. I’ll try to eat it slowly. I don’t feel like I’m making any real progress, but I have to keep trying. Maybe it’s just going slow.

Sean remarked to me last night that quoting a huge chat log on my journal doesn’t really do much for him. I suppose that makes sense. I’m just so uncertain about my feelings concerning politics and war that I’d rather people see my stream of consciousness than a well-written essay that might be, well, wrong. But of course, now that I’ve identified this weakness, I’m going to have to face it eventually.

I’m also going to have to face Milla Frank. She, too, is a character with weight problems who hits too close to home, though she has mostly overcome her overeating habit. Lately I’ve had trouble writing for her, or doing anything with her really. Getting inside her head depresses me, but it would be unrealistic to make her suddenly happy. I was reading the text for my writing class and it asked if I was avoiding confrontation: “Did another character conveniently knock on the door?”

I was flabbergasted, and then I started laughing out loud, because that is exactly what I did here to avoid the situation. If any of you out there are writers, you’d do well to pick up Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway, because it is so good at identifying and explaining common problems writers have. Really, I wish I’d had this book when I first started doing writing workshops; I feel like it’s only now that I’m actually starting to learn anything about writing.

Part of that, though, is due to my excellent instructor, Kim Edwards. She’s a published writer, as were the rest of my writing instructors, but she is also a teacher, and I think that makes a difference. Along with her husband, the director of UK’s TESL program (I had his classes last year), she traveled around Asia teaching English as a second language. I think that experience has helped her to deal with lots of problems that my other writing instructors tended to ignore–if they could even see them at all. She’s very good at helping us to understand writing, and that’s important. My other workshops weren’t a challenge for me; this one is. I want to do my best work for her.

And so here I am working on my story revision. Even wanting to do my best hasn’t forced me to completely curb my procrastinator’s soul. The revision, along with a group of exercises and some reader responses, is due in five hours.

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