03 January 2011

It's Time

Wow. Hi everyone! It's been so long, it feels kind of crazy to be back. It feels even crazier to like being back, if that makes sense. (It does. Honest.)

See, there was a time a couple of months ago where I actually thought about shutting this blog down. Life had gotten too much, writing wasn't happening, and I felt like a total phony blogging about writing when I wasn't actually writing. It's like the cliche of those people who wander around wearing tweed jackets with patched elbows moaning about their writers' block; we all know they're not really writers.

And for quite a while, I didn't really feel like one.

So. What's changed? To be honest, nothing much - except my perspective. Last year was full of crazy; new job, new house, new addition to the family (the four-footed variety), new having-to-deal-with-long-term-illness (not serious, but annoying). Lots of new, lots of crazy. And in the midst of all that, writing became just one more thing I had to do, one more thing that had to be checked off a very long and exhausting list.

Long-time reader will know that I've been keeping monthly writing statistics for a while now. For ages, this really worked for me. I could count off the days by the words, and see that I was making progress, and prove to myself that I could write as much in a year as a pro author could.

But last year, I fell prey to the numbers. I had a few months in a row that were very nearly my lowest months ever, well below half what I usually expect as my minimum. The numbers started going down, and so did my writerly self esteem. Maybe I'm just not cut out for this, I'd think. Maybe I'm just a hobby writer. Maybe I'm not tough enough to be pro; maybe I'm just not supposed to do it all.

Throughout all this, I was getting some excellent advice from friends and you guys, my awesome readers. The one thing that remained consistent about all the advice was that I needed to take a break, have some fun - only I kept protesting to everyone, I AM taking a break! What do you think three months straight below HALF my minimum is if it isn't a break?!

Yeah. It was me protesting and complaining and beating myself up about having a break, which, as any of you who have done this will know, isn't really a break. So in December, I had a real break. I still wrote when I felt like it, but I did something really, really scary. I put away the spreadsheet.


Yes, it's true. I have NO IDEA how much I wrote in December. I have no record of what I worked on, or even when I worked, or how much. So! Terrifying!! In years to come my descendants will have no way to see that on the ninety-second of Thentember I wrote sixty-two words on "The Most Brilliant Story"! *swoon*

But (of course), it worked. I feel less stressed about the whole writing thing than I have in a long time, and although I'm still not talking to myself about going pro (even though I'm secretly plotting it where my head can't hear me O:) :D), I'm enjoying writing. And for the first time in a long time, I have The Itch.

It's a great feeling. And to celebrate, I'm going to dig out the edits I've been avoiding for the last three months and kick some draft.

How are YOU going to start your new year? :D


Melissa said...

Hey Amy!

My new year is going well. I'm determined to make 2011 All About The Writing. I had many of the same problems last year you had -- including the new four-footed baby. But he's six months old now, and it's time to finish Doubting River.

I also started a new blog. Okay, technically, I just focused the existing blog on my home page (reinventing-melissa.com), but it's a new focus: "A Plotter's Guide to Writing Novels." With a dog picture at the end of every post. There's a picture of Pax today!

Wulf said...

Glad to see you back, Inky ;)

I think we all feel like frauds once in a while. That's not only true about writing but about any science or art of any depth.

Statistically, the more a person learns about a particular trade or topic, the less they think they know. So it's probably best if you don't think you're the boss of the literary realm all the time. :)

Amy Laurens said...

Melissa - Thanks so much for your support. Yay for the pupple being more grown up, and huzzah for finishing Doubting River. Good name. I hope it really has finished for you, becuase it's a horrible place to be :S I've added your blog to my feed reader, too :D Who can resist the dog pictures?! hehe.

Wulfie - Thanks for the welcome, Wulferous One. I appreciate it a lot. I've heard of that idea before as the circumference of ignorance - the more you know, the bigger the circle of things you know is, but bigger also is the circumference, which is in contact with everything you don't know. The more you know, the more you know you don't know, right? So... feeling like a fraud is a good sign, then? Right? Yes? >.> <.< >.> Yup, I think so.

*grin* Thanks.

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