I’ve been interventioned. Intervened? Whatever. I’ve been told to back away from the keyboard and sit my plump ass down.
You know when you watch movies and a group of friends actually stage an intervention and you laugh because you’re like HAHA that shit never happens, and it would definitely not happen to me.
Well it did.
Believe me, post its and actual man sized flip charts were involved.
But before I tell you the story, let me explain… as the year draws to a close, I’ve been getting a wickle bit reflective. Especially because next year is going to be a big year.
I hit the big 3.0, I’ll publish for the first and hopefully second and third time, and there are some other BIG secrets I can’t reveal yet.
But for now, another year has past and while lots of things have been achieved, my dreams have not been met… YET. But instead of being disheartened it force fed me petrol and made the fire inside me burn hotter than a million Kelvin.
Let the reflectioning begin…
My friends, lets call them Black Hole (yes there is a story behind this, no I will not tell you…
today ever. Cough.) and Tasmanian Devil (TD) for short.
Black Hole and TD were concerned.
LESSON ONE – I’M A HEAD BURYING BITCH
I was… being abnormal, they said. Acting strange, off colour. It made me raise an eyebrow, because my strange scale and theirs ain’t even close to the same league. So I must have been behaving really fucking weirdly.
Anyway, they decided a dinner was required, they were going to help me sort my writing life out. No laptop required. *my eyebrow inched up another notch*
Dinner was served, eaten and barely digested before the flip charts were pulled out.
We agreed I had a problem. I was overwhelmed. Despite strategic planning, enough spreadsheets to drown a tech god and To Do Lists that made George RR Martin’s manuscripts look like short stories, I was STILL overwhelmed and it wouldn’t go away.
We stuck my goals on flip chart and then they ‘suggested’ I lower my word count goals.
No really, they said, lower the word count goal, give yourself more time. The logic was irrefutable… damn their sense making logic mumbo jumbo.
But I’m not sure they realised what they were saying… Asking a writer to lower their word count is like making a kid stand in the worlds largest sweet shop with their hands handcuffed while wearing a ball gag. Don’t they know I hear voices? They whisper things, scream dialogue if I don’t write it down. They rattle my brain until I have so much static I vomit words…literally.
A silent war raged over the dinner table. Death by squinty-eyed rage darts, jaws clenched and flexed violently enough to crush cars and there was an excess of hand yanks through hair.
Even after I agreed to extend my word counts the pressure hadn’t lifted. Word counts weren’t the problem. Then I leant back in my chair and realised I’d been covering another post it goal. Turns out when they asked about that bad boy I nearly broke down.
My subconscious had been covering the one thing I didn’t want to talk about. Insert epiphany as I realise this was most definitely not the first time I’d done this! I always joke about burying my head. But apparently I do. Awkward.
But the intervention and head burying is only one of many things I’ve learnt about my writing this year.
What have you learnt about your writing, writing process or mindset? Let me know in the comments below.
LESSON TWO – I’M NOT SUPERWOMAN AKA LIMITS & BARRIERS
It’s not that I have superhero syndrome, I mean, I only fly on Tuesday nights, but apparently I can’t do everything. I tried. HARD. Like lived off 4 hours sleep and drank enough coffee to sink my coal covered heart into a cardiac specialist consultants room, #truestory.
But it’s less about doing everything and realising that I don’t have to do everything. Sounds like one of those obvious dumbass things you should know, but apparently I didn’t. This year has taught me I don’t have to be good at everything. I can be excellent at some things and just okay at others, AND fuck me, THAT’S OKAY. No one died, no one drowned in a vat of self-loathing because they got a B+.
If I want to be excellent at writing, I can only be mediocre at something else. That’s life baby and it was a fucking cut glass pill to swallow, hurt like fuck to go down, but at least I only had to learn that lesson once.
This ones dedicated to my amazing hypnotist friend.
LESSON THREE – NO MAN IS AN ISLAND OR SOME BULLSHIT LIKE THAT
See, I could learn everything, I could learn to chisel diamonds into spears, the location of every dolphin on the planet, the number of wooden forks located in Romania, wait… I mean I could learn to code, learn to migrate my website, and master the nuances of formatting and all the other detailed bullshit that goes with authoring. But I don’t have to. Maybe I shouldn’t have to, because what I want to do, ALL I want to do is write books.
I dont have to be amazing at everything. I just have to be amazing at writing. And I’m not. Yet. Because I pissed about with loads of other bullshit, stressed my curly little head off when I should’ve just asked for help.
Wait what? I can ask for help? WTF… I CAN ACTUALLY ASK FOR HELP?
FFS. I will chain myself to the laptop and whip myself with writing sprints later for this one later.
In my defence, the idiot part of my brain thought that paying someone else to do something for me was failing. Well fuck that. It’s not failing. Its efficient and more importantly a better use of my very fucking limited time. Why struggle through weeks of stress and not writing when I could just pay someone else to do it in a few minutes?
Publishing books, even as an indie, is a team effort, I’d do jolly well to remember it.
Note to self: Yeah dumbass, you won’t make that mistake again will you? Dick.
LESSON FOUR – INTRO, EXTRO ALL THE ‘TRO
I am both introvert and extrovert. Greedy bitch eh! But it’s true. Put me in a small group of friends and I’ll seem like the only extrovert. But put me in a room full of new people, or suggest something social without my nearest and dearest and I break out in awkward social STD’s. I shrink away from most social events, choosing instead to spend time with myself and my stories, and I need that to regenerate.
BUT, and it’s a big but, I definitely think externally. Unlike introverted thinkers, I need to do things with my hands, work shit out, bounce ideas off other people and scrawl stuff with my grubby mitts.
If I have a book problem I can’t just write through it like some authors, I have to stop and problem solve physically. It’s like my brain is only partially located in my brain, the other half of it firmly resides in my finger tips.
I need to remember this, and know it’s okay. We all have different processes, methods and mechanisms of writing. What works for one, won’t necessarily work for me.
LESSON FIVE – I STILL DON’T HAVE A FREAKING CLUE WHAT I’M DOING
Seriously. Okay, I mean, I’m not walking round slack jawed, goggle eyed, arms hanging like an ape. But I am still regularly fucking my shit up.
One minute I am pantsing the next I am stopping mid book to plot. Sometimes I outline, others I don’t. Sometimes I edit backwards, then I spontaneously edit forwards. The only thing I do consistently is embody complete and utter chaotic spontaneity. It’s like my signature writing perfume. But it’s fucking annoying, and inefficient.
One thing I am sure of, is that my writing processes for fiction is totally different from non-fiction. I still don’t know if I am a plotter or a planner, (somewhere in the middle I suspect) but still, my process is as clear as swamp juice.
I’m like an inebriated kid who just had the training wheels taken off their bike. Almost there, but swerving all over the shitting street. A bit more practice and I might have it sorted. But that’s for next year…!
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