Tuesday, September 15, 2015

My So-Called Writing Life ~ @oddlynn3 #LynnCrain #amplanning #PCers

Yup ~ I'm Frustrated

The best laid plans…every writer knows about how easily things can get derailed…and I am the poster child this week. The last time I was here I talked about my article End of Summer Funk and how my lack of planning was derailing my writing.

That blog was all about planning and how I need to do it to keep on track. I did what I said and took two days to re-evaluate my writing life. Normally, I would do this every fall but since I moved to Europe, I hadn’t done much in this area as mentioned. I have accomplished keeping the calendar for two weeks. I actually started it on September 2nd after deciding what I hoped to complete this next year. I’m really jazzed that I’ve done this and so far, kept it going.

However, there is one thing I’ve yet to do…and that’s write a full day…or achieve my full 5000 words. To get any of my goals for this month, and believe me there are a lot of them, I must write 5000 words a day. This leads me to believe that I’ve over-planned my time with trivial items and you can see from the photos that I even included my showers. Sometimes structure isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

A Few Days of My Calendar

The goal I was trying to accomplish was not to put me into a box but to put down on paper all the things I needed to do in a day. Well, I’ve done that and I’ve used the whole page to do so. I’m ticking off each item as I do them noting if I do something on time or not but I don’t seem motivated to write. Frankly, I’m thinking it may be more of a glorified ‘to do’ list than anything else. Now, all of this issue is with me and some have told me I’m depressed. Ha! That would be the easy way out. No, I know it’s more than that because I’d be sleeping all day with depression. Like they say, been there, done that.

One of the reasons I’ve been reading the book Authorphobia by Steve Windsor is that it touches on some of the very things I’m struggling with at the moment. It’s not that I can’t write but my issue right now is can I do it as well as before…this is also known as a fear of success…and I’ve struggled with this all my life. I have always been afraid that I can’t do as well as I’ve done in the past. I don’t see the growth that others do in my books and fret about the whole thing.

And this is flat out stupid. I hate the games our own minds play on us. I know I’m not the first author to feel this way and I won’t be the last. I can remember a keynote speech at one of the many Romance Writers of America conferences I’ve gone to where a NYT Bestseller talked about this very issue. She said that she’d sit down at her computer daily and instead of writing, she’d start looking at her email and before she knew it half her day was gone. The ways she used to nip it in the bud were simple and useful but at the time I didn’t need them so I didn’t heed them either. I was so surprised that she said she struggle with this daily and that it all had to do with fear of success.

Today, I wish I had and it’s one of the reasons I’m reading a lot of writing books now because if I won’t write, I’ll do research, listen to music and beat myself up…naw…not really but I want to. The one thing I’ve learned is I need to want to do something, I need to feel invested in getting a story done and while I do feel that way, apparently it’s not enough to make me write.

Yet. Today I had a break through with music. I’d stopped listening to it about six months ago and within a week or so, my writing went down to just doing blogs and maybe a few thousand words toward my fiction work. So maybe, just maybe, I’m being a little hard on myself because I have been averaging at least 1k a day. Still, it’s a far cry from where I need to be.

Along with music, I’ve been reading a lot, and not just those research or writing books. I’ve been reading fiction and must have completed about 15 stories in the last two weeks. Yeah, that’s at least a book a day and today I said to myself my favorite phrase ‘I can write better than that’ yet again. Personally, I think that was a tipping point. When I get so tired of what I’m doing online or reading, I know it’s time for me to start putting the words on paper.

Fear of success is worse than writer’s block in my book because I can write, I just can’t write what I want. I have to convince myself if I don’t get it down on paper, I have nothing. Like Nora Roberts said ‘You can fix anything but a blank page.’ She’s absolutely right. Who cares if that first draft is the ugliest baby in the room? Even ugly babies can have plastic surgery when they’re older but if you kill them before they ever come to fruition, you’ve done everyone involved a disservice.

Personally, I know that part of this is still dealing with my lack of parents as they never told me they were proud of my writing and me getting published. My mother had Alzheimer’s by the time I was. My father didn’t really say much but Dad did have every one of my books that were in print and he’d smile when we talked about it as well as ask when the next one was coming out. My husband has repeatedly told me how proud he’s been of what I have accomplished when others said I couldn’t.

Plus every time this comes up, I recall the fact I had a bad critique relationship where one of my partners chewed my ass off for not bringing a perfect piece. Never mind the fact the story she was critting was actually one I had written earlier and didn’t bother to look at before I sent it out. Frankly, it ended up that she was a grammar and punctuation person who couldn’t stand things being any other way than her own. She would never say anything was good most of the time. This makes me second guess myself over and over. And this happened probably six or seven years ago if not more.

The baggage we carry with us about our writing can be horrible. One of the things that has also happened with me being in Europe is the fact I don’t get out with other writers. That always was a catharsis for me and rejuvenated my writing soul. Every time I would go out with my writer friends or go to a writers meeting, I would be ready to hit my week running with new stories and ideas. I know I need those contacts and they will always be part of my life. Recently, I’ve been reconnecting with writer friends and planning to go to RT as well as other things.

Then there have been the signs…oh…I didn’t mention those? Two weeks ago tomorrow, I woke up with what I thought, and still do, was plantar fasciitis and made a doctor’s appointment. She didn’t think it was and sent me to a podiatrist. I have that appointment on Thursday. Yesterday, I woke up and could barely walk at all. That combined with an elevator kept me stuck in the flat all day. I keep my foot elevated and woke up feeling a little better even managing to get out to walk a little today. But at one point in the day yesterday it was like my Dad was smacking me on the side of my head, telling me to quit being lazy. If I couldn’t walk, I should be writing. The message was as loud and clear as if he’d been standing right beside me.

As for the rest of today, I’ve had little signs all day. iTunes dumped most of my songs and I had to go retrieve a lot of them from my iPod and Amazon. During the course of recovering songs, I started to listen to some of them. I swear there were lines that were directed exactly to me. I’ve been wanting to work on my urban fantasy The JR Chronicles, so when I heard the words from songs like Madonna’s Ghosttown or Imagine Dragons’ Demons or Pat Benatar’s Promises in the Dark, I know what I should be doing. All those played one right after the other and they hadn’t been organized that way at all. I’m being told exactly what I should be doing yet again.

So I might not be where I should be as far as words on the page, but I know that I’m heading in the right direction because I’ve done the planning, acknowledged the issue and had the signs. What about you? Do you carry any writing baggage around with you that can hurt your career if you’re not careful? I’d be interested in hearing what you have to say.

See you all next week. Until then…


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