Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Where's the Light Switch

Dry Dock
with James Rafferty and Jennifer Tinsley

My writing and I are in a very dark hallway at the moment and though  frantically searching, I can't seem to find the light switch. I have been stumbling around in this dark hallway for way to long. So long in fact, I can no longer determine which direction to turn.

  I love writing, I love reading, but it seems I am unable to do both at the same time. Does anyone else suffer from this affliction.  If I am caught up in the world created by the book I am reading, I am unable to create my own worlds.  I recently decided to read a number of Historical Fictions to sharpen my writing, paying particular attention to description. I have a tendency to focus on people, not their surroundings. Well the exercise seems to have backfired. The only sharpening going on is the sharpening of pencils. 

I marvel when I read all the doings of other writers/bloggers. How do you fit it all in? Writing, reading, blogging, blog reading, querying, family, work, dinner, house cleaning, ironing, eating, sleeping etc. It makes the head of this "Trying to be Writer" spin!!! And believe me that is not a pretty site!
The result, I wonder at my ability to write at all. If I truly was a writer, wouldn't I be able to fit it all in. Even this post about being insecure is causing me major stress due to the return of what I refer to as Brain Freeze!  Brain Freeze is when one searches around in ones head and only sees darkness....blankness! Not a paragraph, sentence or word floating around in there anywhere.  Just a black hallway.

So what to do....All I can think to do is wait and hope. I also need to stop pacing and freaking out.

YIKES and HELP!

29 comments:

Michael Farry said...

This is exactly what I feel at times and I suspect all writers feel the same. My only answer is to write - rubbish, anything, whatever, just write. Later when you look at it it turns out to be better (only slightly better but better) than I thought.

Mohamed Mughal said...

Don't give these feelings more emotional energy than they are due. Get out there in the lovely Fall weather and do something physically passionate, a long hike, a hard biking session, wall-climbing. When you body's exhausted, your mind will quieten and your intrinsic creativity will begin to creep back into your being....and your keyboard.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I also don't understand how people are able to churn out 2 or 3 books, keep up with their reading, comment on so many blogs, and help their kids with their homework! I get dizzy just thinking about it! I'm sure your Brain Freeze will defrost soon! Julie

Laura M. Campbell said...

You are not alone in the head-spinning realm. Writing is tough and requires a tough skin that takes years and years to develop.

There are times when I can't read and write at the same time, but then when I'm trying to churn out something resembling a mystery, I turn to mystery novels. I take notes and copy passages I think worked well. Then, I write about it on my blog. I try not to work too hard to create posts for my blog. If I do, my fiction suffers.

It takes time to find your groove. I'm still looking for mine. Good luck!

Ruth Hartman Berge said...

I think most people go through creative frenzies and then moments of sheer panic at what they've gotten themselves into! I know I do. When the panic hits, I just take a day or two and just live with the normal manic craziness of my life. When I can breathe again, I start the frenzy again. It's a vicious cycle, but I honestly love it.

Michael Offutt said...

I write in stages. I don't do much writing at all in the fall but wait for winter to settle in before I start to feel the old urge to crank out some words again. In the meantime, I just do a lot of reading. But yeah...never both at the same time. Eeep. What a way to get discouraged.

Old Kitty said...

Awwww lovely Ann!!!! I too am in AWE at all these fab writerly bloggers who not only blog, but have just finished their nth book, are blog touring and tweeting and facebooking and raising a family while holding down a full time job too! IN AWE!!!!

I can only do one thing at a time and I'm convinced I don't possess the intellectual capability of creating something truly original!! LOL!

But you know, I bake a MEAN banana and chocolate cake!! Hah! Yay!!

Hugs! Take care
x

Old Kitty said...

Erm... I did post a comment but am unsure as to whether it posted or not? Ooops! Take care
x

KarenG said...

I think it's a fallacy that people are doing it all. I know when my kids were young, I couldn't do it all. In fact that's a major theme of my upcoming release House of Diamonds, how people have got to make choices and sometimes painful ones.

Don't worry, Ann, your time will come. And reading lots of books is the best training there is, even if the writing doesn't come til later.

Nicole Zoltack said...

I generally can't read and write at the same time either. I wish I could! Hang in there!

Susan Gourley said...

Even though I've written many books, I also go through periods when I do mostly reading when I should be writing. Do what feels right and don't worry about doing it all.

Super Happy Jen said...

"Writing, reading, blogging, blog reading, querying, family, work, dinner, house cleaning, ironing, eating, sleeping etc."

I skip work, house cleaning, ironing, and occasionally sleeping. Everything else I do sort of half-assed.

Liza said...

Sometimes it does all get overwhelming...and then it's time to pull back and focus on your priority. If that is writing, then so be it, but if it has to be something else for a while, that's okay. Recognize that life is always in flux. People who do it all, write, read, blog, comment et al, are likely neglecting something else in life...even if it is only sleep.

Anonymous said...

You have always written nice peices. So may be we are in for a surprise. In my country they say that if we wait patiently we will get better than we expect, so I will wait until you are ready to write.
As for me, right now I have been having this weird feeling in my head, like there is some agitatin of some sort. I forget things and my kids think that I am unable to concentrate and there is nothing wrong with my memory. Once I feel a little better, I will too write again. Right now I have signed up on Twitter as "blurbwatch". If you also tweet, please give me your sign on name so I can follow you:)Hi this is Munir over here at Focus, enjoy the rest of the week.

E. Arroyo said...

Little bits at a time and even then there's still stuff to do. =) But that's okay. There's always tomorrow. Good luck!

Lynda R Young said...

This sounds all too familiar ;)
I find writing schedules work for me because they force me to write even when I'm not feeling particularly inspired.

Agnes said...

Hi Ann. My mind works the same way. When I am reading a great book, everything else becomes unimportant. I read it everywhere, in restaurants, in my car, home, everywhere. I just "disappear" from my real life.

alberta ross said...

I def. can't read fiction while I'm writing fiction - I am no shape shifter can only life in one world at a time(not counting real world of course!) - I know I know woman=multi tasking but still.

I couldnot write books if I had to bring up family and hold down full time jobs - the lessons I have learnt from others is just to write - some days its only a few words in notebook - an idea for future - you're doing fine and you write a great post

Deborah Walker said...

I agree with Lynda. Setting weekly targets for me has really transformed what I can achieve. I do them for word count and subbing. And only you can set the targets. It's so tempting to look at other writers and compare, but I really try not to.

Theresa Milstein said...

Ann, we all go through tough periods. My suggestion is to write through them, even if it's all dreck.

I can't balance it al. Often something slides a little. But I can read and write at the same time. I even read multiple books. I wasn't aways able to do so, but I can now.

Good luck!

Manzanita said...

Great thing to post. I'm not writing books but I can't even write a post when I'm into a great book. After mentioning "Forever Amber" on my last post, I started the re-read on it. OMG.... I had forgotten how good it is and how much I enjoyed the history and HOW LONG it is. I never want to put it down.

Manzanita@Wannabuyaduck

Rosalind Adam said...

I'm starting to wonder exactly the same thing myself. How do those super-writers manage it? It's good to know that we're not on our own with our inability to be the perfect writer cum social networking expert.

Jessica Salyer said...

I will have a problem if the book I am reading is in the same genre. As for the balancing act, I think that's something we all struggle with. My last 2 blogs have had to do with that topic. I hope you figure it out. Good luck.

Deniz Bevan said...

Oh no! Not being able to read? I sort of know what you mean, cos there never seems to be enough *time* for everything. I know I can't read in the genre that I'm writing cos I'm worried about getting unduly influenced. But I couldn't not read, ever, cos that would be like not breathing :-)

Julie said...

Haha! Love the comic! So funny!

And I hear ya, girl. I'm SO the same way. Its funny how whenever I'm engrossed in a page turner, that my own writing reflects the writing style of said awesome book.

Funny. And FREAKIN' annoying! Whenever this happens I feel like a completely poseur. Like I'm creatively siphoning off someone else's creativity and trying to pass it off as my own.

Usually when this happens I just do a quick brain cleanse [where I lecture my characters and tell them to quit being sissies and make their own voices heard] and most of the time, things will get back on track. Most of the time.

Good luck with getting your own characters in line! Haha ( :

P.s. New follower!

S. L. Hennessy said...

Hey, new follower and blog stalker here! I totally understand - between my book obsession, blog, critique group, and all the other things I do on a daily basis, I sometimes find it hard to find ANY time to write. Someone suggested that I set a goal for how much/long I want to write each day and stick to it, whether its 12 pm or 2 am. That helped me some.
Good luck! And remember, all the sacrifices are worth it in the end for a great finished project!Oh, and P.S. GREAT blog title!
- http://pensuasion.blogspot.com/

Mary said...

Hi Ann .. know the feeling ...been there ..done that ..think I've even got the tee shirt somewhere! Don't worry normal service will be resumed and the lights will go on soon .. even this post made good reading ..a dilemma we can identify with ... now maybe there's another post in that? In the meantime keep writing ..keep writing ..keep writing .. :-)

Liza said...

Everyone functions differently and that is fine. Choose your priorities and go with them. If you need to read historical fiction to write better, and can't write while you read, then accept it. Give yourself permission to read and not write until you are done reading. If you need to write, then tell yourself you can't read. If blogging stops you from writing, then schedule your blogging differently. Very few people can do it all. Just make choices and accept the decisions you have made.

Tara Gallina said...

Ann,
Thanks for stopping by. And I did the same thing this morning, which probably prompted my blog topic. LOL. Just say No to seconds and dessert, right?