May 14, 2018
Yesterday was a bit of a rough day for me. I dove back into the edits of my fourth novel, the first in the Horologion series, and am posting it, chapter by chapter, on a critique group. So it’s not enough that I am trying to rein in all the critiques, advice, ideas, resources, websites, books, notebooks, workbooks, you name it but I’m also trying to post a chapter every other day where OTHER PEOPLE can read it. Let’s face it: it was a recipe for overwhelm.
Anyway, long story short, by early afternoon, I was totally wound up. I couldn’t even start making a “revision plan” or “revision map” or whatever it is they call it.
What’s worse is that I had been happily editing away the last week, finding lots of good new stuff and really digging down deep for more emotion and conflict (both things I’m not comfortable with, if I’m honest). On Saturday, I contentedly edited three chapters and did a bunch of clean up work and basically just kept my head it in for nearly 14 hours. Maybe that was too much, haha.
So after getting myself wound up yesterday, I decided to take a break. I called my beloved mentor/therapist/coach/cheerleader (aka David, my brother) and he just let me talk. We talked about comparing and how that is never productive, and criticism and how that is subjective, and lots of different things he has learned over his long lifetime of being a working artist. I’m extremely grateful for him, even more so these days as I’ve started putting myself “out there” and especially grateful that I’m not trying to do this in a vacuum, as artists so often have to do (or choose to do). He let me yammer on until we finally came back around to where I was when I started at 5:00 that morning: just doing the very best I can with what I have at hand. Just making that one chapter as good as I possibly can. Adding lots of conflict and emotion though I’m afraid it’s going to get melodramatic (David assured me that we, as readers, LOVE the drama!) Allowing my writing to be lush in places though I’m afraid it’s going to get purple and overwrought and too adverbial. And to just enjoy myself.
So I had a nice dinner (veggie curry) and watched a movie (The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher), played Two Dots, snuggled the kitties, and went to bed early. I resisted Googling anything about character, goal, motivation, setting, conflict, tension. I resisted picking up one of my dozens of writing craft books. I slept well.
This morning, I started anew, as artists do every day. I hope you can do the same. Let’s remember: our work is good enough. We’re good enough. It’s enough.
Go make something.
Post written for our Creative Accountability Facebook group.)