One of the challenges of opening myself up to the universe and my place within it is that I make myself vulnerable. Normally, I can handle that vulnerability. Yesterday morning, though, I got rattled.
When I walked out the apartment, I realized we’d forgotten to lock the car. Someone had rifled through our glove compartment and the compartment between the seats. They’d made no efforts to hide what they’d done–the contents were thrown all over the seats and floor.
Fortunately, nothing was taken (we never leave anything of value in the car), but my shields were shattered. I was in no condition to deal with the stress at work, which was at the usual pre-holiday high mark. Needless to say, I came home shaken and exhausted.
When something like that happens, I have a tendency to crawl back into my hole and sleep until I feel safe again. It’s a normal response. I want a cocoon, preferably of the steel variety, to protect me from Teh Scary.
As humans, we need a sense of home and safety. There must be a circle of space around us that is ours, incorruptible and pristine. When that space is breached, we feel lost and afraid.
So, how do you recreate that safe space when it’s been crossed?
I talked to my wife. I talked to my friends. I remember that I am more than my body and my house and my car and my job.
Whoever decided to trash my car was looking for something–money, a gun, maybe. They found nothing. But I will not let them destroy my security.
Tonight, I will sleep well, and my dreams will be sweet.
I hope your’s are too.
Somewhere along the line, I decided it would be a good idea to pursue a career in the arts during the worst financial times since The Great Depression.
Is this really the action of a stable mind?
Back in the 90s, the world was made of money and I couldn’t write a novel to save my life. Now, I’ve got one and a half completed. Trouble is, half the world is now bankrupt, and the other half is in serious trouble.
My timing sucks.
On the other hand, I have a complete novel and email query letters cost nothing. I lose nothing by continuing to try to sell this novel.
If only I could wring myself enough out of this funk to think the other one is worth the effort of completing…..
Snow and poverty and a Saints Superbowl have pretty much kept me busy in the last few weeks. However, I am still writing, submitting, and Living the Dream. 🙂 Okay, at least on weeknights and weekends.
Sometimes it’s difficult to keep up momentum, especially when you’re doing it alone. Or at least, when it feels like you’re doing it alone. My partner is a very good writer who does not write, so while she is great at encouraging me and helping me work out Escher-like tangles in my plot, she does not have that writer drive in her.
There are days when I wish I had an entire room full of writers to sit and bitch with, especially when my prose seems so terribly lame and my characters 2-D and my plot…well, just stupid. There are times I wish I had a room full of people just as neurotic as I am, where we could all commisserate on the absolute masochism of our chosen dreams.
On the other hand, sometimes it’s really great to have a girlfriend who just says, you’re great, you can do it, and NO you can’t skip writing to watch your Netflix movie. Sometimes, that’s a really wonderful thing to have.
Now, I’m going to log off the internet (having dutifully sent out the three chapters an agent requested) and get back to Fairville. Poor Mo–I left her in a bit of a pickle, and I guess I ought to just go move things along. Namaste, my peeps.
I recently hit the 10K mark on my new book, Fairville. One of the differences between writing short stories and novels is that, with short stories I hardly ever worried about word count. My point was always to write the story. It was just a matter of getting everything done that needed to be done. The word count took care of itself.
With novels, though, I’m constantly stressing about how many words I have, how many words I’ve written, and how I’m ever going to make this story novel length.
I think I’m going to go back to my old way of thinking. I think I’m going to just tell the story. Put words on the page. Move the characters around on the Monopoly board like the little pewter darlings they are.
Accept that the word count will take care of itself, as long as I take care of the words that comprise that count.
One of the main reasons I quit pursuing a professional writing career back in the 90s was that I just stressed myself out worrying about the details. I worried so much about marketing and querying and publishing that I sucked all the joy out of writing for myself.
Down at the core, it’s all about telling the tale.
Down at the core, it’s all telling a tale other people want to read.
I can do that, folks. I just have to get out of my way.
They only provide valuable advise if you actually use said advise.
I did not use my advise from the previous post.
I have not written anything in days.
I know this is one of those Stupid Writer Things you’re not supposed to do, but my depression has been in Super Awesome Overkill Mode since last week. I’d pretty much convinced myself that this was not for me, and that I was wasting my own time and my loved ones’ patience trying to be a Real Writer (as opposed to the kind who writes hundreds of short stories that are well-received, but completely unpublishable due to their fannish nature).
But I’m not going to give up. I am working on a plan to get the same kind of encouragement I got for my short stories–namely, someone reading as I go along and telling me, “You can’t stop now.” That’s how I wrote the first novel.
Fact is, I do not have it in me to be my own pep squad. There are simply too many insecurities there, soo much self-esteem crap pulling me down and distracting me from the business of putting words on the screen.
So Fey is going to read my pages on Fairville as I write them, and bully me into writing more.
It’s sad, but it’s come to this. I need a keeper.
Thank god for girlfriends and chocolate. The universe would collapse without them.
I got my biweekly pep-talk (via email) from Jenn this morning. Her timing is amazing–I’d just gotten back into that whole “Who am I to think I can do this?” mentality. My partner Fey, who is the Queen of All Patience, talked me down from quitting the new novel entirely last night. And Jennifer, out of the blue, reminded me that I have to PERSIST. How crazy is that?
I work a full-time job and have a full-time relationship. I enjoy the occasional five hours of sleep a night, and even watch television sometimes. I try to carve out two full hours of writing a day, which doesn’t seem like much, but I can get quite a lot done in a focused two hours.
Recently, however, I’ve been sleeping through my two hours–just so tired and depressed and hopeless. It started creeping back into my subconscious, those thoughts that success was for other people, that talent isn’t enough, and that I just don’t have what it takes to make my dreams come true.
Then, of course, I got the refill on my Prozac and things are starting to look up.
My book is not the Worst Piece of Crap Ever Committed to Paper.
I am not the Laziest Person in the Universe.
I am not Born to Be a Failure.
I can watch the occasional episode of Desperate Housewives or Eastwick (Damn you, ABC, for cancelling this show!) without being a total slacker.
I just need to PERSIST. Turn on the laptop. Write another thousand words. I can write a thousand words in my sleep–sometimes, they come out better that way. Send another query letter.
I just need to persist. And lighten the hell up.
I think I need to peruse this article by Jessica Faust at length. Seriously. Insecurity has been my constant companion ever since I decided to start pursuing a professional writing career–insecurity that never existed when I was just writing for fun. More on this later. My day job calls, and frankly, getting fired will not really decrease my stress. 🙂