Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wit and Wisdom of a Failed Blogger


We're into April, and this is my third or fourth blog of the year. Sad. Pathetic. I feel like such a failure.

Well. Almost a failure. You see, in years past, I've come here, poured heart and soul into it, and for what? Who sees it but me?

So, in defense of my dismal blogging skills of late, let me just plead that it's difficult to get back in the swing when your swing has been interrupted. And that doesn't just apply to blogging, but to writing in general. In the past, um, 2.5 years, we've moved twice. Once we upgraded homes, thinking we'd be in it for at least three or four more years---we got ONE---then we picked up and moved back to the west side of the Mississippi. That's enough to put anyone off their feed. It's been a slow come back. Painstaking, aggravating, annoying, depressing...See? I'm really good with adjectives. But enough of this rabbit trail, let's start a new one.

It's been a long road back to getting in the swing. But I'm happy to report that my Muse has finally started speaking to me again. (Yay, Muse!) I'm writing, finally, a WIP that feels right. There've been many false starts, some disappointments, but if you're as addicted to writing as I am, you just have to write. Anything. Even if you do decide to set it aside and pretend you'd never started it. (We won't count how many of those I have in my files, still. Yes. I've kept them. One never knows when one might feel the urge to revisit. It's kind of like keeping your skinny clothes as you put on weight after having children---hope springs eternal, and you want to be prepared.)

Of course, there's got to be a lesson in all of this. Something to make it all worthwhile. Here's what I've learned from my experiences (if you want, you can scroll down beyond this, I might have something funnier or more interesting to say after I'm done with this, but I don't know. Panster, yanno, not a plotter here.)

1. Don't let discouragement overwhelm you. It's easy to become frustrated when life intervenes, but there's nothing we can do about life intervening. Life can be inconvenient, ill-timed, hard, true. But it can also be wonderful, uplifting, joyous and charged. So, when you slip on the great banana peel of life, pick yourself up again, and bake banana bread. (Mmmmm.)

2. Be true to your goals, ideals and dreams. If they are as important to you as you think they are, then you will find a way to fulfill them.

3. This one is an old, tired, cliched one, but so true, nonetheless. You can't fix a blank page. Give yourself permission to write "pootylicious prose" if that's what it takes to get going again. You can revise the pootyliciousness right out of it later, if you get that far. It's okay to abandon a WIP when it's not working. You'll either figure it out during the time off from it (while you've started penning another, possibly pootylicious WIP), or it will quietly collect dust.

For me, the key was to give myself permission to write the way that's most comfortable for me: by the seat of my pants, without worry or care about pesky little things like GMC. The more I've written on the current WIP, the better I've come to know, understand and sympathize with my characters. The GMC is becoming clear as I go, and it is something I can and will address in the first round of revisions.

4. Don't sweat it. Stop second guessing yourself, stop focusing on the negative. Instead, find something positive about what you're writing. You're great with writing a well-fleshed out heroine. YAY! You feel you flag when it comes to conflict. Rather than dwell on what you feel you can't do, take positive steps towards turning that Can'tDo into a CanDo.

5. Mares eat oats and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy. A kid'll eat ivy, too, how about you? (Just checking to see if anyone is actually, yanno, reading my stream of consciousness.)

Most importantly, and probably the hardest thing for me: don't be yourself up over that which you cannot change. Take a page from the Borg and ADAPT. Life's so much easier if you can adapt. (But by all means, resist the Borg---assimilation is another thing entirely.)

Finally, for a bit of inspiration, a picture of an apple pie. There are all the ingredients, and the end product. Tasty, huh? That warm, cinnamon-y juiciness of a fresh apple pie is just begging to be devoured---all the good ingredients are inside---plump, soft spiced apples encased in whatever crust you like best...Kinda like the stories we all have inside us,waiting to be served spectacularly. Mmmmm...Nothing better than warm apple pie and a good read. Unless it's a warm brownie and a good read. ;)

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