Monday, February 25, 2013

Midwinter (or Mid-Edit?) Blues, or Falling and Getting Back Up Again

Who else out there is feeling unfocused? Blue?

Dejected?


I stare at my manuscript I'm in the midst of editing and wonder:

Does it hang together?

Have I developed a strong enough storyline? Secondary plot lines? Characters? Is my setting being given the fullness it deserves? Should the ending go this way or that way?

Why do we go through cycles of feeling really great about a project and then - poof - all that self confidence seems to have evaporated?

I watched the Oscars last night and the Best Actress winner, Jennifer Lawrence, as she went up to receive her statue. One minute she's thrilled to hear her name, the next minute she's face down on the carpet.

But the girl picks herself up and keeps on going.

Writing can be isolating. Being so focused on my work, I feel like the proverbial ostrich with my head in the sand. You tend to lose touch with other people, the outside world and perspective in general.

I know these feelings are temporary, but it sucks. Even so, I'm not inclined to join Facebook or Twitter. If I were to be on any other social media I'd worry it would be too distracting! Even blogging can be addictive and I have to limit that. I wonder - how does anyone have time to go on all that social media and give enough attention to their work (not to mention the rest of their life?)

I don't get it.

It's times like this when I read - and re-read- books that always make me feel better. Re-boot my psyche. Take a break, step away and remember what I love, at the core, about telling stories.

Then I roll up my sleeves, pick myself up again

and get back to work.

34 comments:

  1. Hang in there sister...your voice matters. Your last blog post about the dope/pope was brilliant...I see a column in your future and it isn't Dorian.

    Stories take time, I've learned myself, and then out of the wild blue comes a stroke of brilliance. That's when you need to keep the journal by your side and step aside to hear your inner voice. You have taught me a lot about that.

    Keep on percolating, and when the time feels right, send out the drafts and be done with that last chapter for a while. Allow for feedback from your friends. Then tweak some more and enjoy the choices of edits that become distilled through others' eyes.

    PS - I left a comment about your last blog post on the pope...should have said "I smell a Ratz" what do you think?

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    1. haha - good old 'ratz' is taking a break from his red shoes!

      thanks sistah for these words of advice - i hear you on the voice mattering. it does - and all of ours do. while i won't be ready by the end of feb as i had hoped, i can promise you i am working hard to finish and send very soon. thanks again for offering to be a reader♡
      xx

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  2. In one way or another, that's what we all have to do - pick ourselves up and carry on. I know what you're feeling though, feeling great about a project and then the feeling is gone. I feel like that too sometimes.

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    1. as rubye says below, it's all in the ebb and flow~

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  3. oh, what have you written????

    the changes in feeling and intensity come and go as though we do not call them at all, but rather they find us. i don't understand how it works. perhaps it is just that it is necessary for us to feel all sides of the equation.

    and then i come back with sheer intensity to the question, oh, what have you written????

    xo
    erin

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    1. erin, this particular project is a young adult novel which is in the editing phase. i hoped to be done this month but more work is needed before i am prepared to send it out. i am shooting for being ready this summer.

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  4. You asked a question that had me mulling it over with relish as I drove all day today, Amanda. Now, it's my turn: what do you love, at the core, about telling stories?

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    1. oh.......

      i think stories live in me, and have lives of their own. i am just a vessel holding them and hoping i do them justice in letting them out~

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  5. Step back, and then return to the task with new energy. Allow someone who can help come and help.

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    1. thank you rosaria ~ stepping away is often necessary. that's when i take a walk or pick up one of those books that always manages to bring me back to center.

      i'm not sure how you mean allow someone to help, unless you mean asking people to read the ms and give me feedback, which i am definitely doing. but the idea of joining a writer's group is something that i have done in the past and may return to.

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  6. Ebb and flow. It comes. It goes. As you already know, such is life and yet it can be difficult when in rough times to remember that it'll come back. I'm 65 Amanda and it still always surprises me when it comes back. In that greater scheme, life is good.
    Tenacity, my friend. That's all.

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    1. this really resonates with my rubye, thank you♡ i've lived long enough to see that ebb and flow. you are right to trust in the universe. this is a lesson i am learning.

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  7. Stories need silence to be born; they thrive and grow strong when we readers and listeners, in silence, lean closer to know those stories.

    Hurrah*!* I'm a social media decliner too

    Twittering should be left to the birds and facebook surely means getting ones head as close to an open book as is comfortably possible for our eyes doesn't it?

    Smiles







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    1. haha! love that term social decliner!

      i believe stories are born of silence as well. we need that so-called fallow period for them to incubate.

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  8. Hi Amanda..keep shining..your story will simply come to life when ready..and not sooner..but will be most magical when it does! Call upon some of those magical Goddesses for their creative energies..they will definately share it.....or create a fun little birthing ceremony for your book..it will free up energy..and will begin to flow! yes writing and creating can be isolating.....but for me..I sorta crave isolation..but know it can be hard for others..hang in there. and back to my hermit-like nature..blogging is about as modern as i can get ha ha..I don't have a facebook or twitter either..I don't even own a cell phone..ha ha!
    Shine on..create..it will just naturally arrive..when ready! Till then...celebrate all that you have created thus far..give gratitude for this new venture you are on..it will all come to life !
    Victoria

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    1. it's so interesting to read about others who are not actively engaged in social media. i don't get how people have all that time to devote to it, so it's nice to find others of my 'tribe'! maybe we should start a club - hermits who occasionally socialize!

      the idea of a birthing ceremony for my book really resonates with me - thank you victoria for that inspired suggestion. you are right to remember to celebrate all that we have created so far and to feel gratitude for the venture we are on.

      and i will call upon my goddesses for assistance!

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  9. We've had back and forth weather here in England, signs of Spring, then snow, then biting wind, rain and more snow. Now it is fog, but nature is showing buds and birds are trying to nest. It feels surreal. I find the best way to refocus is to take time out and spoil oneself. Do it now, and when you come back you will be refreshed. Minerva ~

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    1. thanks minerva - am dipping daily into my inspirational books to keep myself centered~
      wishing you a lovely spring after all that rain and snow!

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  10. writers are outsiders looking in....to observe means to step outside the circle a little bit and yes, so isolating. something i at once crave and avoid. love your color coordinating, by the way. writers getting together is a good way to stave the sense of isolation. i would if i could . . .

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    1. it is the nature of the job, sherry, and i have chosen it willingly. i love to write and for the most part crave the solitude in which to do it, which is the paradoxical part. it's just the times when you feel things are going slowly or not moving the way you had hoped (and you sometimes feel like giving up on a project!) where the aloneness becomes apparent.

      so reassuring to hear, in your craving and avoiding, that you embrace the paradox too!

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  11. I can feel your *Mid-Winter Blues*......oh, I can. Spring IS coming...a little more patience, dear *Twin*... (I know, it is easy for me to say..)

    I think that we all must find that inner strength/poise/courage to pick ourselves up after we have fallen. Some obstacles are harder to climb over than others....but still, we do it.

    Two things I know about you:
    1. You can write beautifully
    2. Your imagination is deep and limitless....

    Believe in your talent.... we all do. Your book will be as remarkable as you!

    Remember the words of T.S. Elliot - (which I first read in *our* book - "The Magus"...

    "we shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of our all exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time."

    The Bell is ringing....get up, go and answer the call.

    Love,

    ♥ Robin ♥


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    1. thank you, dear twin, for these beautiful words of support♡♡

      i must go back to the magus and find where (Nicholas??) quotes eliot - i have always loved these stanzas - you have an amazing memory!!

      yes, the bell is ringing.....and i am getting up now and answering.

      xoxo

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  12. Yes, writing and revision can be discouraging and isolating. My advice is to schedule time with friends and for exercise outside to break up the day and to give you pleasure. It's a marathon writing a book and you have to pace yourself. I didn't watch the Oscars, but I read about Jennifer Lawrence's fall and how well she recovered. That was an inspiring story but so is yours.

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    1. thanks, sarah, for the supportive words and good advice. would love to know sometime how your novel is coming along.

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    2. I've just started a new YA set in Maine. The other MS is with an agent. Will share news when I can.

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  13. I think you should be very proud of yourself! Writing a novel is no small feat and you're doing it! x

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    1. until i actually wrote a book, i had no concept of how complex and involved a process it truly is!

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  14. Dear Amanda, oh I so agree with you. Since I moved, got married and became a step-mom, I find myself so OUT of time. I wonder how do people manage to have kids, hold a job and blog several times a week - these must be super humans. Even now, I am blogging from work, playing hookey. Not good and some very bad conscious to follow.;)
    As for your book, I think it is only natural to feel the way you do. It can not really be compared, but it reminds of certain posts I written, that I wrote and rewrote and then felt very self conscious about, almost not wanting to publish them. Later, when re-reading these after some years I realized they were great. At times it is a bit difficult to keep a perspective with something that we are so preoccupied with day (and night). I actually think maybe some distraction once in a while might be good for you.;)
    Have a great rest of the week and good luck with your book, I am sure it will be great.;)
    xoxo

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    1. perspective is key, zuzana. and it's trying to maintain that sense of perspective that is the challenge.

      don't feel bad about playing hooky - i prefer to refer to them as mental health day! xoxo

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  15. you're very smart to stay off of facebook, it can sort of suck you in. Ack, hilight markers and tabs. what a process! Good luck and cheers, spring is just around the corner - talk about distractions!

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    1. i smelled it in the air this morning when i went out to get the paper - that sharp march wind that knocks you upside your head and wakes you up!

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  16. any creative process can have it's daunting phases - you have to work thru them, or push them away till you can see clearly again.

    Knowing your writing.. it'll be wonderful stuff

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    1. you of all people would know about that daunting creative stuff! thanks, mim♡

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  17. Hi Amanda....keep going...keep following your dream and sending it out. My blog was discovered by a writer and her agent ended up representing me and that agent went on to sell my first book, Lessons from the Monk I Married. Everyone told me it was impossible, but I didn't believe it. I just kept going......Recently we traveled to The Big Isand of Hawaii for a yoga retreat led by my husband. I completely identify with Pele, the goddess of wind, fire and volcanoes. I am compelled to write about her. Keep doing what you love and continue to find ways to connect to other writers. I hired a freelance editor who was extremely helpful in moving things along. All the best to you!

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