I came across this old post the other day and thought it was both a timely reminder and a message worth re-sharing.
It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap. I’ll be heading off to RWA nationals soon and, although I’ll undoubtedly come back with a lot of useful information and a renewed commitment to my writing, it’s very likely that I’ll also come back with thoughts of “I’ll never write as many books as Author X” and “I’m not nearly as far along in my writing career as Author Y.” It doesn’t help when I see notes from ghost-writer friends about their 10,000 word days or how they drafted out a book in a week. Though I intellectually know better, and it tends to take the shine off my own progress, it is regrettably easy to do.
“Comparison is the thief of joy” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Me, every writing day. Often, I am pushing the same damn boulder I’ve been pushing for weeks or months.
Last week, I had a conversation with a very creative person in a field other than writing. (Yes, it turns out there are creatives in the world who are not writers! I, too, was surprised.) We were discussing “living the dream.” Which is, apparently, what I, as a full-time writer, am doing. My creative friend, still working the day job, is not. And he had thoughts about that.
Actually, he has dreams of his own, which are wonderful things! He also has some misconceptions about what my day-to-day life of dream-living entails.
For those of you who have not met me IRL, I should explain that I have no poker face. Ergo, I could not hide my shock, dismay, and perhaps even amusement at his idea of my life. And while I have my own dreams of spending my writing days frolicking with unicorns and sliding down rainbows while the Best Story Ever Written magically appears on my computer screen, I’ve only had two, maybe three days tops, when unicorns have appeared. And those might or might not have involved whisky. That is to say, this dream gig is hard. Continue reading
Watching the waves rolll in at Venice Beach, CA
Every now and then it’s nice to step back for a moment and just take time to relax, recharge, and breathe. I did that very thing yesterday at the end of a long day of business meetings.
Lucky for me, the meetings were held in Marina Del Rey, though judging from our windowless hotel conference room tucked away in the basement, we could have been on the moon for all we would have known. Continue reading
Well, last week was a bust as far as my priming experiment. I provided a word search Saturday with special words meant to prompt my subconscious into a writing mood . . . but, you know. It was busy. I was tired. I don’t have a story that urgently needs to get written down. And, on the happy side, my daughter and son-in-law are visiting! I’d rather have a nice dinner and chat with them instead of holing away and writing.
So, today, I give you the answers Continue reading
A few weeks ago, I finished the complete draft of my Victorian romance that will come out this fall. It’s a bit more than a first draft, having already been through first-round revisions along the way, but it was “the end for now,” and my coach asked me what I was doing to celebrate. Around the same time, I was answering a series of interview questions, and one of them was, “How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?”
I didn’t have an answer for either of them.
The truth is, I don’t celebrate the end of a stage of the creative process so much as mourn it. And curling up in a blanket on the sofa, rewatching episodes of Dead to Me and Santa Clarita Diet, staring at the pile of TBR books I’ve been so anxious to read but now don’t have the energy to tackle, probably isn’t the answer they want to hear.
Taking Comfort in Community
As it turns out, the post-creativity slump isn’t all that unusual. When interviewed for an article on the Fast Company website, film writer/director Jeffery Lando talked about having post-movie depression. He captured one of the elements of my own creative journey. Continue reading
On good writing days, my Wizard of Oz door-hanger faces Glinda side out, welcoming all and sundry to celebrate the joyous explosion of creativity within:
On bad days, it’s 100% Elphaba.
Even the youngest of my grandchildren knows to stay away from that.
Among my many character flaws, the one that has caused me the most grief over the years is probably my impulsiveness. I’m not good, even at the ripe old age of 65, at thinking through potential consequences before I act.
Because I’m so weak on the strategic side, I’ve developed a lot of skill at tactical reaction. Most of the time, no matter how poorly thought out my original plan, I can wrangle it into something less than a total failure.
But not always.
Last fall I decided I wanted a dog. Because of my age, and because of a strong need in the community, it seemed like a good idea to adopt a rescue dog. I’ve owned a couple of Australian shepherd mixes over that years, and I’ve always wanted a full-bred one, so I applied to an Aussie rescue group. They sent a flock of pictures and my husband and I picked one out and went to meet him the day after Thanksgiving.