I’m one of those writers who gets inspired, both mentally and emotionally, by reading and learning. A beautiful book makes me want to write better. A compelling story gets my plot wheels turning. An interesting news story or scientific discovery leads me to ask “What next?” or “What if?”
However, for the past several weeks, I have been isolating my brain, trying to make it “focus” on revision ideas for Twenty-Somewhere. The end result is that I feel very… blah.
A logical person would say, “Okay, that’s an easy fix. Go back to reading.”
I, being highly illogical, would reply, “But then I’ll lose my focus! It’ll take me longer to finish my revision proposals! I’ll blow my one chance at success and end up as an old lady with lots of cats, living in a dilapidated house and mumbling to myself about what could have been!”
And then the logical person who was just trying to help will smile and nod and slowly back away.
Luckily that logical person lives inside my brain, and I occasionally listen to her. So I’m back to reading, and it’s working wonders. I still worry about how long I’m taking on this proposal, and whether or not the Major Publisher who asked for it (along with a couple of the agents I queried) will lose interest, but this advice from author Lisa Brackmann helps me remain calm:
Be patient. Everyone talks about the need for patience during the querying and submission process – I mean, there’s not much choice there. Things take as long as they take, and they aren’t in your control. But I’m talking about being patient with yourself when you are writing, and that is a choice. I’ve seen too many writers rush their revisions in the desire to finish the damn thing and get it out the door, and while I understand just how much they want to get it done and make it go away and get that book contract already, a hasty process rarely leads to quality results. Sometimes you need to slow down, step back, take a nice long walk and let the ideas marinate a while.
Take risks. Think deeply. Care about what you write. Have the ego and non-gendered balls to think that your work is important. Write what moves you, what entertains you and sometimes, what pains you. Dig into the places in yourself that hurt the most and see what you find. Sometimes that’s where your book is hiding.
Speaking of reading, may I suggest “The twenties: An aimless rant”? My friend Erin wrote it, but she may as well have been reading my mind. It’s also a good reminder for me of why I wrote Twenty-Somewhere in the first place.
20 responses to “Listening to the logic”
I’d give you advice, but I worked until 130 AM last night and I think anything I say right now is borderline useless. I have faith in you, woman.
I read this book called “Loving What Is” by Byron Katie, and it helped me get rid of a lot of “shoulds” from my life. I have many choices, but there are no “shoulds” and (gasp!) there are no “right” answers. You do what you do until you do something else.
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When I feel blocked, its amazing what even a little reading can do! You’ll write a great proposal, I’m sure of it.
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I think you should go see Sex and the City 2 for some girlie fun!!!
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I’ve been working till 12:30 am or 1 am, so I know how you feel. Ugh.
I still have too many “should”s, but I’m working on that!
Thanks for your vote of confidence. :)
Have you seen it? Is it any good? I wanted to see it but it’s getting panned in the reviews (even by normal people, not critics) so I’m a bit wary… :\
*groan* I’ve been trying to practice patience with my own revisions. It’s tortuous, isn’t it? Isolation hasn’t helped me, if it’s any consolation. There are no prizes for rushing, and you have to keep yourself happy in the midst of all this waiting. Be strong, be patient, be persistent.
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You’ll get it eventually either way, for sure after seeing what could be otherwise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkMvKeX7erI
They’re not going to lose interest. That, first of all. A month, two months, three…publishing time doesn’t work the same way as writer time. You’ll finish your proposal and send it to them, and they’ll be like OH WONDERFUL I remember how excited I was about this. I mean, it hurts a little to think that they’re not actually poised on the edge of their seats waiting anxiously for us to finish revising for them, but in my experience, I’ve had agents ask for revisions, and then a ridiculous amount of time later (think six months, at least), I was like, hey I did this, do you still want it after all this time? and they were like OF COURSE, SILLY.
also *hugs* and enjoy your reading. go for a walk in the sunshine. see a movie with friends. but before you do each thing, take a look over your work and let a question or two linger in your mind for a moment…and then trust that your subconscious will turn it over while you let yourself do something else for a bit.
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I could kiss you right now. Those words? The ones you just said? They were like chocolate cake with a side of cookie dough, topped with cherries and sprinkles and a thousand dollar bill. Thank you. :)
Lol I hadn’t visualized throwing the cats…
“There are no prizes for rushing…” – Precisely. We’re gonna make it! Because we have patience and determination. Go us!
ahh i know what you mean. hang in there, love. it does get better :D
by the way — i love the aesthetic of your blog!
my fingers are crossed for you!! <33
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Thanks so much, T.H.!
Thanks for the link! :P
You’re totally right about how this process is one of patience — one that tests our patience, too! (As we know about me, the waiting game is terribly nerve-wracking but just how this game works!) I completely agree that taking your time to get it right, or at least as right as it can feel in your gut for now, is essential… despite that niggling voice telling you otherwise. I could lob a few good clichéd proverbs in your direction (Good things come to those who wait; patience is a virtue; etc!) but as my high school softball coach told me: “You already know how it works and how to play the game. You’re already telling yourself everything I could tell you. Keep it up.”
So yeah. Keep it up :D
.-= • Recent post by Erin: The twenties. An aimless rant. =-.
Hmm, your coach is wise.
(PS: You played softball?? I had no idea!)
Hey Kristan! But that’s so awesome the Major Publishing house asked for more of your stuff!! I found your blog after googling “New Adult” and saw your post on Guide to Literary Agents. So is the press St. Martin’s? If so, I am sooo excited for you!!
Good luck with your journey. I’m sure some days are easier to be patient than others. I know I certainly experience both. But when I’m learning or writing or reading or watching time does go by much, much faster.
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Haha, yes, it’s St. Martin’s. I just wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to constantly plaster their name all over my blog, so I refer to them more obliquely (but I’m not trying to HIDE their identity either, if that makes sense).
Kristan, thanks for posting LIsa’s words. I think I need to print them out. I constantly beat myself up for not going faster. Every day I wish I were further along. But. It takes time. And I need to give myself that time.
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So, the movie. It’s fun. That’s it. There are certain highlights that make it worth seeing like Liza Minnelli singing Beyonce’s Single Ladies and Samantha in the middle of an Abu Dhabi (spelling?) market shouting “yes! I have sex!” when a bunch of condoms fall out. I mean, I would watch the movie again just for that! But, there are things that don’t work because they’re contrived–like Anthony and Stanford’s getting married (they hated each other on the show and it doesn’t make sense) and some of the dialogue. Still, I definitely wouldn’t pan it and I came away thinking about relationships, which is what the whole series has been about for me.
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“Every day I wish I were further along. But. It takes time. And I need to give myself that time.”
Exactly. Slow and steady wins the race, right? The hare just burns out.
Hmm, okay. I still dunno if I want to see it in theaters anymore, but that sounds like it’s still worth watching. :)
Books are always motivating for me. I don’t really know why but they are. Then again, lately they haven’t been working either. I think there must be something in the air. :)
.-= • Recent post by Kimberly Franklin: Time =-.
I avoid reading at all costs (when writing). My brain is far too spongy, my style too easily influenced. That said, I def. agree that time is on your side. I can’t imagine there being a statute of limitations on value. As for Sex and the City 2…
I’d wait till the free library release :-P
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