If you tuned in last week, I wrote a "What's the point?" post in which I wondered why a creative (notice, not just writer) should keep working. I came around to my own conclusion.
We creatives all go through times like these where the urge to just throw in the towel is so dang strong. It would be so, so easy to just give up. And no one would notice.
Fight through those tough times. Persevere. Keep going.
Why? Back to Jay's first item: because you love it.
That's the point.
This week, I remembered why I love storytelling so much. But I almost threw in the towel on one story.
New Thriller Story
A few weeks ago, I was invited to submit a crime/mystery/thriller story for a yet-to-be-named anthology. The deadline was 15 August. Sure, I thought, when I first got the invitation, I've got a story. It's already started. All I have to do is finish it. I'll have it way before the deadline.
But I didn't. The story remained elusive. I had the first half of the story already written, but it was listless. I was listless. I'd wake up at my morning writing times and chose to write a blog post. I just wasn't into the story. Even as I wrote my "What's the Point?" post last Friday, I was ready to email the editor and bow out. I hesitated, deciding to give myself Monday.
Monday came. Monday went. No good progress on the story. The deadline was Thursday. There was just no way to satisfactorily finish this story. Tuesday morning's session came and went. I got into the shower to get ready for work. I was going to email the editor later that day.
And something clicked. The thrill that passed through me as one small piece of the puzzle fell into place. It was the crucial piece, the keystone of the whole tale. I smiled in the shower. I wasn't going to email the editor at noon. I was going to move the story forward.
I moved it forward 1,450 words that lunch hour. I was on a roll. Then I had to get back to the day job. Later that evening, I read the opening to my wife. She liked it. A pretty good indicator considering she doesn't read this kind of story.
Wednesday morning and lunch came and went. More words. More progress. I needed to stick the landing, so I let my mind churn on it. I was done by Thursday morning's writing session. The lunch hour was proof hour. Came home and sent it to the editor.
It was the high point, creatively, for the week. I cannot control what any reader thinks, including the editor. Maybe this yarn won't even fit the vibe of the anthology and the story'll come back. All of that doesn't matter. All that matters was how excited I was to write the tale, how excited I was to read it aloud to my wife, and how excited I was to have completed another story.
And, perhaps, launched a series.
That is why I do this.
Then I got a reward in the form of another blog post by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Please tell me you read Rusch's Thursday posts on here blog. For the past few weeks, she's been discussing licensing. This week, she took a break and focused on success, specifically the mental fortitude one needs to strive for success.
Boy, was it exciting. And sobering. And thrilling. And daunting.
But most of all, it was encouraging. It's not a magic potion. Being creative is work. Sometimes, like this week, the work is tremendous. Other times, like all those hours before Tuesday for me, it's frustrating. But it's still something for which to strive.
Toward the end of the piece, Kris talks about what to do when we creatives face challenges. One is to print her blog and re-read it. Another is to purchase the book she mentions. I've bookmarked the piece and will come back to it whenever I feel like throwing in the towel.
She ends like this:
Maybe you should ask yourself what terrifies you the most about the possibility of success.
Expect success. And then work for it. Each and every day.
The Elementary Finale
Going in, I knew the tears would come. Even if the episode was just a mystery-of-the-week, saying good-bye to this version of Holmes and Watson was going to be difficult. Because I loved them. I'm not going to get into a tit for tat as to which version of Sherlock Holmes is the best. Jeremy Brett pretty much nailed the traditional version. The BBC Sherlock was a nice updating of the original canon. I also enjoyed Robert Downey, Jr.'s version quite a bit.
But Jonny Lee Miller's Holmes evolved. That's what it comes down to for me. And he was simply brilliant. He showed a broken man with immense mental gifts that were also a curse. He learned to broaden his self-centered life, even though it often proved very difficult. Miller's acting acumen was on full display every week. The seven-year arc of this version of Holmes was a joy to witness, and the finale was beautiful.
Many thought the stunt casting of Lucy Liu was just that. Hogwash. She took what was traditionally side-kick role and made Watson equal to Holmes. She learned, she excelled, and she often beat Holmes to the deduction. And she always had her partner's back. Always. From the jump, I loved the idea of the gender swap. It was something different. Creator Robert Doherty re-imagined Holmes, Watson, and the canon. The show was not slavishly trying to mimic the canon. It was inspired by it. The show lived and breathed
Many also predicted Holmes and Watson would hook up. I never figured it would happen, and glad it didn't. What emerged was a deep love between two characters that needed no romance. The finale showed that to the full extent.
Season 6's finale was all but perfect. Season 7's was just as good. All the tears. All the feels. All the love. I will so miss this show, but I'm so glad it went out on a high note before the quality started to drop.
As I wrote on Twitter:
Perfect casting from day one. Perfect ending. Incredible writing for a complex pair of characters and actors who love each other deeply. So well done. That is how you create a fulfilling finale.