I’m ready to get up now…

January 11, 2008 at 9:00 am | Posted in goals, life, Meg, resolutions, writer's block | 2 Comments

It’s official. I think the words have left me. I’ve been staring at the blank computer screen for five straight minutes trying to think of my opening line for this New Year’s writer’s resolutions blog. Now five minutes is not the black hole of time, but when your mind is empty and you’re a writer, (and you haven’t been writing for months) those precious three hundred seconds can feel like you’re trapped in space without oxygen.

This moment of frozen panic lead me to thinking about the beautiful email Jessica wrote last night in response to my quiet cry in the darkness…a tiny question hidden at the end of an irrelevant email…what if I never write again? Her response was perfect. She never allowed me to accept that I will NEVER write again, but gave me some avenues to pursue in my investigation of ‘why’ I’m not writing. And the one that stuck with me is her comment about having an inner three-year-old that stomps her feet, pouts and gives up. And having a real live three-year-old in my daily experience, I must admit there are some similarities to the standard tantrum and my recent behavior.

When I completed my last manuscript, I was so proud of it. I actually had a high concept plot (or what I think might be one), characters I wanted to have coffee with, some romance, some drama, even a conflict or two. I felt it was the best writing I had ever done. I let other people read it and got some great feedback and suggestions of areas needing work. Then I sent it out. And the rejections poured in and my heart sank. I started revisions and hated them. Every new word or chapter felt wrong so I stopped. And NaNo started and I struggled. Tremendously. So I threw myself on the floor, kicked my feet and screamed.

Okay, not really on that last part, but that is what I wanted to do. I admit I did pout, and I did growl a few suppressed primal screams. And I definitely whined (just read any blog in the last three months- hell reread this blog!). Therefore, summing it all up- I had an adulterized tantrum. And what happens to a whiny, tantrumming child? She goes in time out.

So here I am, still sitting in time out, literally facing the corner of the room (ironically that’s how my computer is set up). And I’m ready to get up. I want to. So I apologize to my creative process for forcing you into NaNo. It wasn’t the right outlet and did more harm than good. And I’m sorry, my sensitive soul, for rushing you into the world when you weren’t strong enough to deal with the rejections. The story needed polish and I shouldn’t have sent it out to agents when it wasn’t ready. And to my inner negativity, I need to put a leash on you and not let you roam free. Turn to the dark side again, I will not.

For 2008, I will follow my personal promise made last week. In my writing, I will remember that life is too short. I will write when I want to and how I want to. If the story is not working for me, I will find a new one. I will not waste my time and talent on something that weighs me down or does not excite me. I will write without thought of what others will think or how they will react. I will write in hopes of one day getting published, but not to get published. I will write for me.

-Meg

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More or Less

January 7, 2008 at 7:53 am | Posted in Jessica, resolutions, writing | Leave a comment

With this first full week of January we elected to talk about our New Year’s writing resolutions – and how fortunate for us that we could have Elizabeth Boyle kick this year and this topic off for us this week! I struggle with resolutions because I know they are good intentions that often go awry. And another thing I struggle with when it comes to resolutions – I know the New Year brings with it an obvious starting point, but why do we tend to limit our new resolutions to the start of the year? 

But I digress . . . it’s still our topic for the week, so I will push on.

I took a quick look at the definition of resolution on dictionary.com, and the meaning I like most defined a resolution as firmness of purpose. And there are three things that I know I want to be firmer about in my writing and in my life in general, which I thought would make for an adequate answer to our resolution question this week.

Commit More
My life has been in a weird sort of holding pattern for too long, and in doing my annual self-assessment, I have concluded that one of the culprits of my status quo is that I have not fully committed to some important things. And to this point, I would have never said I was a commitment-phobe. But the more I assess, the more I think there is some truth in that. Yikes!  Sure, there are certain things that I know I want, but I have taken just baby steps, and in some instances barely crawled, toward achieving those things.

The following is part of a post that came across one of my writing groups back at the start of 2006. Two years later I still remember it because the woman who posted it shared great evidence of what happened when she decided to totally commit:

“I could give dozens of example of how “The Year of the Yes” and my willingness to do whatever has translated into some greater opportunity for me personally/professionally . . . In fact looking at my calendar – almost every “yes” gig has turned into something I wouldn’t have necessarily thought up for myself.

So, I’m saying all this to say – figure out where you want to be and then set a plan in motion to get there.  Clever themes or personal rituals – whatever. But you have to stick to it no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient.”

So, #1 – More Commitment to the cause.

Complain Less
I believe in being the kind of person who, when I have a complaint, tries to conceive of at least one alternative to propose as a fix to what’s ailing me. Why complain if I’m not willing to offer something to remedy the problem? But sometimes we get so stuck where we are – mentally, professionally, psychologically, whatever – that we cannot see our way clear of the situation we find ourselves in. I call it [mental, professional, psychological, whatever] quicksand, some people call it trapped inside the box, stuck in a rut – fill in the analogy that works for you. One of the most scary and exciting things to me is that we never know where life is going to take us. So I want to be firmer with myself to brainstorm my way out of my complaints and make the things I can better. If things stay the same, it’s because I have done nothing to change them.

Find alternatives, improve the situation. #2 – LessComplaining.

Conserve More
Energy. Time. Money. Emotions. Precious resources. I am a serial volunteer-er and diligent day-jobber and tend to give away a lot of my best self. I have learned a lot about myself over the past year and know now that I cannot afford to behave in such a manner any more. In giving away so much of myself, I have not had as much of any of those resources left to pour into my passions. Living your best life, realizing your dreams, achieving your goals, reaching your highest potential . . . How you manage all of these intangibles plays an important part in getting you where you want to be.

Save your best self for yourself. #3 – More Self-Conservation.

More or less, those are the three areas I want to integrate into my daily actions and philosophy. And I believe that they will not only help improve my writing life, but will enhance all aspects of life in general.

Since we’re sharing our firmness of purpose this week at the Purple Hearts, I hope you will join in and share some of yours. And maybe I can convince my fellow Heartlettes to join me in a 6-month check-up to see how we’re progressing on those ‘resolutions’ of ours. . .

2008 – A fresh slate . . . a blank page. Keep writing!

-Jessica

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