Describing the Doubt and Fear

Describing the Doubt and Fear
Image provided by Peter Nederlof
https://www.flickr.com/photos/peterned/

After reading Phoebe Quinn’s post at A Writing Path, I began to question how much effort I’m really putting into my writing. Her article wasn’t about effort, but somehow it triggered those types of thoughts in me. Do I give it my all?

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying I’ve been expecting great achievement with little effort. To be truthful, I’d be wondering what the point is of writing at all if it didn’t require that intense concentration and passion that puts me in a time warp feeling as thought I’ve been in outer space when I come to.

I’m questioning how I keep on wanting to rush through some of the writing. When I was younger, I used to love to do descriptions. It could be a regular object like a teacup, a person walking down the street, or an entire setting like a park. It seemed to come to me naturally. Anymore though, I rush straight through those parts getting to action and the feelings of the characters.

Why am I in such a hurry? True, I am not young anymore. In fact, I’ve been deemed a senior for a while now. Even so, unless I find myself getting blown up, I don’t think I’ll be dying anytime soon. This means there’s plenty of time for me to cultivate splendid descriptions of the scenes as I go through them one by one.

And when did I lose that natural touch for writing descriptions? While sitting at my desk, I can see out a window by turning my head slightly to the left. It’s a view of the street I live on so even though some things don’t change often, other things do. I look out this window every time I need a moment to think. And my mind isn’t so full that I don’t see what is out there either. I notice the breeze blowing the leaves in the trees. I see Jake [one of the residential cats] lumber across the street. The sound of a car will make me glance out to see if it’s one of the neighbors. Now, why am I not putting any of this into my writing?

It got me wondering if I’ve gotten stuck on the mechanics of writing. Rationally, I know I can write my first draft any old way I want. However, emotionally, my obsession for perfection and my fear of never ever being good enough plays havoc with me, making me doubt the adverbs I put at the end of sentences, the spelling of words I know but invariably spell wrong, the number of sentences I start with a prepositional phrase. And the list is a long one.

Is there a way to turn off the doubts and fears, but still keep the emotions going full blast while I write? No, I’m not expecting an answer to materialize. Sometimes though, it’s sensible to put these types of questions out there to examine and ponder on.

“It was one of those cases where you approve the broad, general principle of an idea but can’t help being in a bit of a twitter at the prospect of putting it into practical effect. I explained this to Jeeves, and he said much the same thing had bothered Hamlet.” ― P.G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Morning

 

Stomping On Hate

Stomping on Hate
Image provided by darwin Bell
https://www.flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/

A few days ago I woke up with a multitude of health problems. Some were easy fixes. I opened the new bottle of Ibuprofen and swallowed two with water. That took care of the headache and the chronic leg pain for a while so that I could come up with some sort of plan the alleviate what else was wrong.

I’m not used to chronic illness. Most of my life has been spent being healthy despite the disability. That’s always been thought of as a constant annoyance instead of a health issue. Now I’m at that place in life where health problems are becoming more frequent. I can tell you right now, I’m not adjusting well to this.

I had been to the doctor just days before. According to all of the blood tests, I’m in great shape for a disabled person who’s entering senior-hood. So why do I have all of these digestive difficulties? Truth be told, I know what part of the problem is. I’m eating food I sure are ones I should avoid. But I love these foods and I used to eat them all the time. I’m older now. I know this, yet I want to eat as if I’m just embarking on adulthood. Yes, I’m foolish. The rest of the tummy issues may subside a little once my body doesn’t have food in it that hates me.

Maybe that’s where this other hate I have inside me is coming from.

Since the middle of July, I’ve been trying to work on my WiP. I let this blog slack a little, hoping to create more time being productive with the hope-to-be novel. I made some progress–for a while. Then I hit a big black wall of hate. I found myself hating all of my characters, settings, and how slow it’s going getting from one part of the story to the next. Yet, at the same time, I was certain that these characters were worth this story I long to write. And I knew the settings were working. All contradictions.

So, what has happened? I have a feeling I’ve gone into self-loathness as a writer–at least as a story-teller. Rationally, I know that many writers go through times like this. In my head, I have to admit that this knowledge does help me feel a little better. However, the emotional side of me still want to delete all my story ideas, all my character sketches, and anything else I have pertaining to serious writing. It all sucks.

The inspiration and motivation had died somewhere within a four-day span.

I went searching for free writing courses online. Although many of them are what I would consider worthless because they’re so elementary, there are some excellent free ones too–just a few though. I found a new one at Creative Writing Now. I’m in the middle of their one free email course, struggling but learning. Through taking this class, I’ve seen how I’m not paying attention to blogs that have good advice. I had become shallow when reading them because after a while they were all hitting me the same way. My reaction: I know this already. Move on.

It’s time to read posts as if I’m a brand new writer and see what knowledge I can scrape up from them. I’ve started a digital journal in my OneNote program for all the notes I’m going to take with a new attitude–okay, hopefully a new attitude.

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There are some blogs that have never hit me as being all that repetitive. I thought it might be good to share them with you.

Blogs that Help Me Write

From WP

Amanda Staley: https://staleybooks.wordpress.com/blog/
Today’s Author: https://todaysauthor.com/
Writerish Ramblings: https://writerishramblings.com/
Sharon Bonin-Pratt’s Ink Flare: https://sharonboninpratt.wordpress.com/
A writer and her adolescent muse: https://awriteradolescentmuse.wordpress.com/
Quintessential Editor: http://quintessentialeditor.com/
WordDreams: https://worddreams.wordpress.com/
Jean’s Writing: https://jeanswriting.com/

Out in Cyberspace

Jami Gold: http://jamigold.com/
Fiction University: http://blog.janicehardy.com/
The Writing Practice: http://thewritepractice.com/
Creative Writing Now: http://www.creative-writing-now.com/

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From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate. ~ Socrates

 

Learning from Failure

Learning from Failure
Image provided by mikef_man
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikefarah/

It’s been over a week since I, last, published a post to this blog. In my estimation, I’d say I’m hooked on this practice. In truth, I think I’m probably using this corner of cyberspace as a diary. True, there are many things I leave out that I feel are too personal to share, but most of these things I wouldn’t write anywhere. They’re fine where they are in the back vaults of my mind.

I am getting back into writing, the kind where some real progress is made. No, I’m not leaping or bounding as if I’m dancing through a field of words or anything. Still, I’ve got my focus to the grindstone.

Almost a month ago, I wrote a #weekendcoffeeshare post about getting into the groove of writing again. I told about how I was switching from being a pantser to a plotter and writing character sketches and scene summaries before starting, once again, on my WiP. I said something about hiding my yWriter too.

I failed with that approach. It’s embarrassing in a small way. I’m not red-faced or anything though. Victor Salinas explained it adequately in his post at A Writer’s Path. He stated that failure can make you humble, and at the same time, help you learn what works and what doesn’t work.

All this time I’ve been trying so hard to not be one of those who fail, one of those who has to pull themselves up by their boot straps and begin again, and again, and again. It’s pure vanity too, which is also embarrassing. I don’t like people who are blatantly vain, and yet here I sit, in all of my misplaced pride, doing the same thing. It’s shameful. Now I’m one within the masses, drudging over my work, even “bleeding” a little.

Although completing the sketches and the summaries were excellent exercises, and I plan to expand on them along the way, I’ve gone back to my beloved yWriter and I’m making some good progress. It’s a relief to know that the passion for this story is still within me.

The fallacy of these last weeks’ efforts have helped me see my weaknesses and my strengths, mostly my weaknesses though. This experience has shown me what a wuss I’ve been.

I need to push myself harder. Walking away, if only for a short while, before I’ve even tried to “pop a few arteries” in my pea-brain, isn’t a good thing for me to do. I do better when I “bleed” a little. Stopping a writing session because my husband has decided he just must play some computer games is, also, not a good thing for me to do. I need to just turn his presence off, tell my mind he is not there. If need be, I need to tell him to find something, anything to do outside this room.

It’s through the act of toiling over the WiP that I found inspiration and motivation. By getting to the effort of telling the story, I was able to find that unexplainable reason to go on and keep going on. It is true that having a schedule of some sort is invaluable. However, to be a slave to that routine, and not write a word until the designated time will do more harm than good. And by that same token, writing gibberish because it’s the appropriate time, just to keep up the “good” habit is sheer lunacy. If something obtrusive is in the way of creativity, writing prattle during a session isn’t going to help at all. During those times is when I’m either working on summaries, sketches, or research. I’m still productive despite the lack of a word count.

Concededly, when I don’t use that designated time for carving out the story, I feel I’m not getting anything done. As a rational person, I know this is false, but my heart says I’m not putting in what is required. Required by who? By me, of course. Hopefully, once I see enough results, this foolishness in me will stop.

As I stated in my last post, I decided to take a more slackened approach to my blog until some time after the Labor Day weekend. I think in declaring this change in my daily routine is what has helped me get past some of the ugly issues surrounding my strife with motivation. It was a stand without any confines or limits to speak of, except a suggestion of when the lacked time may end.

There’s still a whole full month of summer, plus some. I’m hoping to make some progress that I can be proud of in a way that isn’t misplaced.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ― Maya Angelou

 

Last Half of Summer

Image provided by Aron M. https://www.flickr.com/photos/aronski/
Image provided by Aron M.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/aronski/

I think it was three years ago when I decided to set aside my blog for the entirety of August to work on my WiP. And yes, it did help me, which was kind of a shocker to me. At the time, I thought my mind would race towards the blog every chance it got… but it didn’t.

I was ruminating about that time earlier this week, considering whether or not I should try doing something similar this year. I have two projects going on simultaneously. And one of them relies on the other one getting done. The reality is I have all the time in the world to finish these jobs. There isn’t anyone or anything standing over me telling me that I have a time limit. I just have to stay alive and be able to write in order to finish them. All the same, I have tentative ventures waiting in the wings that I’d like to work on after these two. I’m not going to live forever, and there will probably be a time in the future when writing won’t be possible for me.

My decision is to put my nose to the grindstone and do as much work as I can on these two projects while I still have the motivation. I’ll be taking some time off from blogging–at least on any kind of regular basis anyway. I don’t know how much time I’m going to need, but I believe I can safely assume there won’t be any regularity to my blog posts again until after the Labor Day weekend. For those of you in countries that don’t have this holiday, it’s the first weekend in September. There isn’t a specific day for this celebration. It’s more of just enjoying a three-day weekend to unofficially close summer for the current year.

I’ll still be around. I’ll be reading blogs and giving comments on the posts when I need a break from my work. Every once in a while, I’m sure I’ll want to sent out a post into the cyber cosmos. Also, I will still be available by email at glynis.jolly@outlook.com.

See you in September.😛 [Do you remember The Lettermen?]

“I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.” — Charles Dickens

 

Out of Sync

Image provided by DJ Lein https://www.flickr.com/photos/djlein/
Image provided by DJ Lein
https://www.flickr.com/photos/djlein/

I know. I missed the last coffee clutch. I could tell you I was busy working on my WiP, which wouldn’t be a lie. I could tell you I’ve been painting stain onto a piece of plywood I’m going to be putting on my desk. That wouldn’t be a lie either.

But… the reason I wasn’t there to have coffee with you is because I’m slightly out of sync.

I’m in that mode where I’m waiting for something, yet I can’t figure out what that is.

I, almost literally, pull myself out of the funk to continue the work on the character sketches. I want such deep POV that the reader is going to feel like she [and he even though most readers will be shes] is right there in the story next to the character that has top billing for that scene.

The second I get up to get more coffee or another bottle of water, my mind goes into that foggy mode again. I sit back down, yank myself out of the mist, and work on the settings for my book. The main location is a town I wouldn’t mind living in, close to another place I lived in that I still miss a great deal. Of course, working on this can throw me right back into that stupid funk.

My evenings are spent painting and washing out the brush. I have the plywood on a large piece of plastic in the living room with 4” by 4” four-feet-long railroad wood on either size. I sit Indian style painting the stain onto the plywood while in some daydream I never remember. I, once again, come back to the real world after finishing a coat. I lay press board over it using the railroad wood to keep it off the plywood. I lay the rest of the plastic over that and tuck it in. This way Miya, Marble, and Nutty won’t be putting their paws all over the wet stain. My brain gets foggy again as I run the warm water on and through the paint brush. During my mind’s vacation, I’m rubbing the bristles to help get as much of the stain out as possible. It’s the oily feeling on my fingers that brings me back to reality. I have to wash my hands with dishwashing soap to get the stain off my hand and scour the sink with a Brillo pad too.

Where does my mind go? What is it in my subconscience that has me so fascinated? I’d like to think that the darker side of me is inserting notes that will help me write this book. I do believe that I do have a place in me where the shadows are long, inky, and transcendent. They don’t necessarily produce nightmares or evil thoughts. The shadows are just hiding places where thoughts I, for one reason or another, do not bring out into reality.

To bungle my days even more, the laptop is resisting synchronizing with my PC. I’ll have to get in touch with the cable company about that.

Being a realist in my daily life, should insure these thoughts stay hidden. However, to be what I consider a decent writer, I must force them out. Could this be the reason for all the murkiness going on with me right now? I’d like to think it is and that soon it will dispel.

Do you ever find yourself in a fog or out of sync?

Knowing our personal mission further enhances the flow of mysterious coincidences as we are guided toward our destinies. First we have a question, then dreams, daydreams, and intuitions lead us toward the answers, which usually are synchronistically provided by the wisdom of another human being. ~James Redfield