WFMAD Day Fourteen

Levitating, Meditating, Flute-playing Gnu

Levitating, Meditating, Flute-playing Gnu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Write down how you are going to fill your creative well this week. Include one field trip; trip to a museum, concert, movie, pumpkin patch, etc. After your “well time,” free write about the experience.

This week, I plan on taking at least one yoga class. That always helps me fill my creative well. I’ll have to get off my butt and head over to Moksha, where I will be able to meditate.

Actually a bunch of people I know are starting a meditation thingy tomorrow. Meditating every day for 30 days or so? I think I should do that. I get a lot of great ideas when I’m supposed to be emptying my mind. It’s crazy.

I find that I write the best when I’m not supposed to be writing. Or when I’m not supposed to be thinking about writing. Or thinking about anything.

I swear. I am the world’s worst meditator. I took a chakra workshop last year with Tias Little. I LOVE Tias Little. He’s amazing. I just felt good being around him. Anyway, I swear, one morning we did a long meditation. I remember something about a staircase and that is it. Or maybe a gate. Or maybe an elephant. At any rate, later, he mentioned something about that meditation later in the class and I was thinking “Um yeah. No clue what you’re talking about.” I’D FALLEN ASLEEP.

I fall asleep during meditation ALL THE TIME. If I’m not daydreaming about my story characters, that is. Or fretting about what I need to do later that day. Or TRYING to concentrate on my breath… but my mind just wanders all the time. It’s like I’m in a constant daydream.

I also have plans to have dinner this week with another writer. She’s much farther on the path than I am. She’s been published in a popular online yoga blog, and she writes her own blog. She’s also been published in yoga journal. She’s on the path of her dharma and it’s amazing to see.

I’m still struggling to find my dharma. I’m the type of person who is OK at a bunch of things but not amazing at one special thing. So, I’m an OK writer, but I choke under pressure. I have fun being an extra on movie sets, but the thought of auditioning for a real role terrifies me. So does teaching yoga to a class or even to one or two people.

But I think about writing, and I get all excited inside. I think about my characters all the time. Sometimes I even think of things to do with them… but sitting in front of blank page. It’s like… yeah. I know I’m not alone. I know I need to work through it.

I think a trip to a library or book store would also be good. Something about being around all those books fires me up. I can’t wait to get home and write. Of course, once I’m home, I’m like “la la la tumblr!” So… I think I need to start taking my computer or notebook with me to a bookstore. And going ON MY OWN so that people I’m with don’t start wanting to go as soon as I get there…. or start looking over my shoulder asking what I’m doing. Because I hate that. I HATE talking about any projects I’m working on with people because the magic then fizzles away.

I used to be one of those people who posted word count meters every few days, and who loved sharing my progress. I don’t do that anymore. I just can’t. It takes away my inspiration and makes my work no longer special.

Wherever I go, I’ll have to bring my notebook with me. It goes with me everywhere I go, because I never know when a good idea will pop up.

That’s not true. The good ideas usually pop up when I’m in the shower or in the car. My husband actually keeps a notepad on his dashboard. Which I’m not OK with, seeing as he is distracted enough when he’s driving…..

Anyway, my plan for this week:

Meditation + Inspiration + Creation

Let’s do this thing.

WFMAD Day Thirteen

Indulge in your worst writing nightmare, the biggest fears that interfere with your work. Write it all down, all of the bad things that you fear could happen to you if you write your story. Then set the piece of paper on fire, dump the ashes into the toilet and flush.

OK OK. I am going to FIGURATIVELY set paper on fire because I have a fear of fire and so I won’t be playing with setting THINGS (other than incense sticks, candles, or sage) on fire OK?

So, here are all the bad things that I feel could happen to me if I write my story.

Huh, as I start to write this, I am realizing that a lot of things I feared have already come to play. I’ve been rejected by agents. I’ve had a manuscript shopped and rejected by every publisher in New York. I wrote another novel, only to have that one rejected by my agent. I’ve had novels workshopped and shit on in front of entire rooms of people.

And I survived.

So, let’s go beyond that. What if I finally get published, and the work doesn’t even get picked up by bookstores? It just languishes in the back rooms of warehouses? It doesn’t go beyond a first printing.

What if I get published, it becomes a NYT Best-seller, and then it gets totally shit on by reviewers?

What if I get published, it becomes a NYT Best-seller, and then it gets totally shit on by everyone?

What if I get published, and I get mega famous, like Stephenie Meyer famous, and my book becomes something to be ridiculed, something that people have to be ashamed that they like?

What if I get published, and I get wildly successful, like JK Rowling successful, and I can’t handle it?

Yeah, I know I am thinking REALLY BIG here. I mean, pipe dream big. And look at the fears. They’re dumb. Why should I care if I’m getting shit on by reviewers–not everyone is going to like my work. And that’s something I have to keep pounding into my head. If my story moves one person, ONE PERSON, that should be enough right? Because I can’t lie and say I’m writing just for myself. Because I’m not. I’m writing because I want people to enjoy and love my stories.

I really worry that I just don’t have it anymore. But then I’ll re-read a blog entry or something and think “Wow, that’s really nice. Maybe I *am* still a writer.”

My fears are all over the place.

But I think my main fear is “What if this is all a waste of time?”

Because that’s what writing is. It’s a gamble. It’s a gamble every single step of the way, and if I’m not doing it simply because I love it and because I have stories that need to be told? Then I’m not a real writer.

If I’m doing it because I hope to be the next blockbuster millionaire? I’m not a real writer.

I have to get back into loving writing for the sake of writing, and if publication and beyond is part of that path, then embrace it! It’ll be a bonus, right?

I’m still trying to find my dharma, and seeing if writing is part of it. It is something that keeps coming up in my life so I think it might be. Now I just need to figure out the means to get there.

WFMAD Days Eleven & Twelve

Once again, I find myself needing to combine two days into one. Yesterday, I really had no time. I was in jury duty, but instead of sending me to the courthouse downtown that’s three train stops away, I was sent to the courthouse in a suburb that’s about 40 miles away. I had to get to it in rush hour traffic. It took me 90 minutes to get there. When I got there, I was expecting some time to write while I was in the assembly room–but we were all immediately sent to the courtroom, and then I got selected for a jury.

After the trial, Adam and I stayed out in the burbs to avoid rush hour traffic going the other way, and I didn’t get home until after 10pm. Straight to bed with me!

So, here is the prompt from yesterday that I missed:

What kinds of things on the Internet make you a better writer? Be specific—how do they help? What kinds of things make you anxious and fretful about your work or your position in the Universe of Creative People? Do you have the courage to take a three-month hiatus from social media and devote all of that time to reading and writing? What are the steps you’d need to take to make that happen?

There are SO MANY tips and tricks online about being a better writer. There are agents and editors who offer so many great ways to build my worlds, to plot, to create characters. I will skim the blogs and then save the pages I really find valuable in Evernote. If it’s something that I can apply to my current writings, into Scrivener they go.

Sometimes they help. Other times they overwhelm me. Honestly. Because I feel like I will NEVER live up to the things they are prescribing. Obviously I can do it—I’ve done it before. But it’s easy to see all the tips and tricks or whatnot, and to get completely pysched out. That’s BAD because I think to myself: What’s the use? I’ll never get there, so why bother trying?

I am trying to keep from comparing myself to other authors and writers. Back in 2005, a bunch of us started off on the same level. Now? I am way behind while most of them have published, some multiple times, some are NYT Bestsellers. If I think of myself in relation to them, I feel like a big failure. But if I focus on my own path, then I’m OK.

I have to say that no, I do not have the courage to take a three-month hiatus from social media. Part of the reason is that I use some of it for networking. I DO, however, have the courage to cut down my social media time, especially tumblr and facebook. I’ve already cut out the facebook games, something I thought I’d never be able to do, and I have cut down my time on facebook in general. I think, if I severely limit myself, I can still achieve some goals.

If I were to do such a thing, I’d have to tell people not to contact me through social media. I’d have to tell them to email me or text me. I’d also have to fill up my tumblr queue so that my blog wouldn’t go inactive. Maybe I can make that happen, but I don’t really WANT to! But I definitely do want to cut my social media time down. There are many reasons why that would be a good thing, not all of them having to do with writing.

Here’s today’s prompt:

Freewrite about a book you’ve read or a movie you watched that had a rotten ending. How would you have changed it? Did the author or screenplay writer screw up a plot choice or a character choice?

OH MY GOD. I can go on about this. I recently watched Breaking Dawn Part 2. Now, I am pretty tolerant of bad movies because I like to make fun of them. And I was watching this particular movie with RiffTrax turned on. Thank goodness. The movie itself really was pretty bad. A whole lot of nothing happened, so when the epic battle scene took place at the end, I got all excited. FINALLY some action! Finally… SHIT WAS GETTING REAL!

And then…and then… it turned out to be a vision. A VISION. The screenwriters had finally seriously raised the stakes, had me excited and like WOW, then it turned out to be fake?

I felt cheated and betrayed. I mean, first of all, they’d strayed from the book a LOT. Which was fine–lots of movies do that. Whatever. But to stray from the book so much only to turn around and trick us like that? It was terrible!

It was a plot choice that was screwed up. I would have left it as is, as devastating and things were. As unexpected as they were…because that’s REAL. The whole “it was a vision” thing is such a copout, and ONLY WORKS IF YOUR MOVIE IS CALLED THE WIZARD OF OZ. It was like “Heeheeheee, just kidding!”

I’m sure some people felt relieved. Good for them. But I felt angry and annoyed. I thought the ending was terrible and I didn’t even want to see the resolution at the end after that.