Monday, October 1, 2012

One foot in front of the other.

All of us at one time or another have thought of quitting - a job, a relationship, a race - or should I say, giving up?

When you're a writer there are so many pulls on your time and energy. Being an artistic endeavor, often people in your family or work sphere just don't get why you do it. Aaand life doesn't accommodate a writer's schedule. Oh, you've noticed.

When I look back and the last two years I can identify a couple major road blocks or turning points in the way I planned to handle my writing career. (Bear with me - there's a point to this.)

March 2011 I put off submitting my requested wip after a friend and multi published author offered to critique it first. I figured what's a month? So I shot it off to her and an opportunity buy a small business arose so I leapt on it.

April 2011 I still hadn't heard from the author, the new business was doing well but the river was rising. At the end of the month we decided to move our entire household and close one business and move it across the river, after which we lived like campers for three months. Needless to say, writing was far from my mind and time and space didn't help.

In July we moved back and at the end of my season, I decided since I hadn't heard from my friend the author and had lost the window of opportunity for submission, I would self publish. I had three months last winter '11 to get it polished, formatted and published on Amazon. This was not my first choice. But I would not change anything about the process. There were so many 'rites of passage' that I would not have traveled had I not gone this route.

But after January 2012 publication and a month of promo and preparation, it was time to open the business again. This time I had to give it my full attention, working seven days a week. It was four and a half months before I had a day off.

I had it all planned. I would do everything for the house in the morning, check email, pop on my business Facebook and announce specials for the day etc, then during the slow hours I would continue to move forward on Destined for the Storm which I planned to publish this fall. Ha! When you work in a 2 1/2 x 6 foot workspace with not desk you pretty much have to work in your lap. I found that no matter how slow it was, if I pulled my computer or notebook out to work, someone would drive up. Good for business, bad for the writing goals. I finally just got tired of fighting it. I couldn't keep my train of thought. So I took a break.

By the time September 15th came and the close of season, I was bushed and totally discouraged. Just like last summer after the Thank-God-it-didn't-flood Flood, I wondered if I would write again.

But I'm starting to feel the story pulling me back like a Star Trek tractor beam. The only thing is the enthusiasm is also accompanied by fear, doubt, and issues of a short time frame to meet my goal of December release with the need to take a couple trips and enjoy my life a bit over the winter months.

I keep remembering something I saw during the Olympics - a Tom Brokaw biographical segment on Churchill. Did you see it?

When Britain was the last country to stand against Hitler and her was threatening from every side from Russia to Africa to France, gradually encroaching on Britain's border and even the US was saying, "Aah, that's not our fight..." Churchill said this to the people of Britain.  

"We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

And the people responded. They did fight in the streets. They fought and fought and just kept holding on (for TWO YEARS) until help finally came. We cannot imagine. 

Whether it's people fighting for freedom or those we've seen recently who are joyfully overcoming physical or financial obstacles, it boils down to holding on and taking baby steps until you get back in the game. 

I may not make that goal I've set. I'll try. But if it takes longer to produce a better story and to enjoy life a little as well, then so be it. Because the story is in me, just like the music is in me. And if I don't write, and I don't sing, I'm not complete. 



Here's another quote. 
A writer writes. Period. No matter if someone is buying your work or not. 
Len Wein

That's kind of comforting don't you think? This week it's BICHOK for me, even if it starts small.

What kind of interruptions to your writing have you had to face and how did you overcome it?

For one commenter I'll give away a copy of a friend's book, Fire in my Blood, an erotic novella by Marcella Rose.

10 comments:

  1. Beautiful post and I love the quotes you used. I was just telling my husband yesterday that, no matter how many setbacks I have, I can't give up because I can't imagine not writing. I mean...no matter what happens, the thought of not writing is SO much worse than the thought of rejection. I think posts like this are a great reminder that we don't need to have an agent, or be published, to call ourselves writers. A writer is just someone who HAS to write. :)

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  2. Exactly, Tamara. I think we get overwhelmed by our expectations and by comparing ourselves to other writers whom we might consider better. I love what Donald Maass said in his Fire in Fiction workshop. "You do not have to wait for greatness. Greatness is NOT the exclusive property of literary novelists..or for writers that are smarter than you or more educated than you, or more psychologically damaged than you, or more narcissistic than you..." lol

    If we take those expectations off ourselves and write from our inner storyteller wouldn't we enjoy being writers more?

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  3. Livia, I haven't written fiction in well over a year because I have had carpal tunnel in both hands and I had to keep them working for work. The state has been dragging its feet in okaying surgery and I'd been wondering if this was nature's way of telling me to forget about writing. But your story, and the fact that you quoted Len Wein, of all people, made me realize that not writing is not an option! I hope to have surgery finally for the left by the end of the year, and get back to work!

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  4. Not even superwomen such as our selves can do all the things, all of the times! Sounds like you juggled a busy schedule successfully and are coming out exactly where it's healthiest for you to be -- writing again!

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    1. You're right, Jody. I don't know how writers who work even part time with a family are able to accomplish all the hats of a writer. (Of course, I've always been a bit of a workaholic, until I discovered how much I wanted to write. Then work became something taking me away from what I love...)

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  5. I'm personally familiar with several people who have had very successful CT surgery so I hope you can get that soon, Eilis. Also, I just ordered - because I've had problems with that - the newest version of Dragon Dictate for Mac. And the recorder they suggested. And the bluetooth headset. I'm going to give it an honest thirty day try and see if I can make it work for me. They were so close last year to having a practical working version for, ahem - phony southern accents, so I've got fingers crossed. I'll report next month.

    All the best on getting this solved. If nothing else, grab a recorder and start talking some ideas into it. It's characters and stories moving in your head that must be addressed.

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  6. Excellent post. You inspired me. :)

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    1. Thanks, Mia. Now go write. Anything. And enjoy.

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  7. What a great post, Livi, and so encouraging. I've done everything except write this summer. I don't know if it was burn out or a fear that my writing is not good enough. Whatever, I appreciate this post!

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    1. You're a doll, Cadence. And a verra verra creative one. We have to figure out how to incorporate it into our schedules for the lift it gives us if nothing else. How about a Halloween story... since you love it so much.

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