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.