Monthly Archives: August 2013

Balance is Overrated.

I like balance in most things: colors; time management; walking upright. For every bad experience I have to accept I like to make up for it with good thoughts, good experiences. For instance, I got scammed on a psychic reading last Friday (the first time in almost 7 years of readings from the same place every summer!), so to make up for it I got my nose pierced later that day. It balanced out, in my head, anyways.

But really, the importance of all that “balance” nonsense is to try to create an imbalance, isn’t it? You hope the good will outweigh the bad. You hope the nose piercing experience (okay so I admit I kind of *like* getting pierced but that’s another story) and what you get out of it–a new place for body decorations to hang from!–is worth more than the money, time, and disappointment wasted on a crappy psychic reading.

A lot of people talk about balancing different areas of their lives, too. Balancing work and relationships, family and friends, romance and domesticity. Well, I don’t know how much I like that idea. I mean, I do it too–I write 9-5 because it fits with Hubs’s work schedule, and because some part of me says “don’t work too hard because you’ll drain yourself, you need time to refresh” and okay maybe that’s true BUT. I’m still trying to optimize output. The focus is still on writing as well as I can for as long as I can. There’s not much of me that is excited for the end of the writing day except to snuggle and go on adventures with Hubs. And even that–that is important and cherished, but we aren’t satisfied in a marriage of “how was your days” and “let’s watch tv together.” It’s there, but at the heart of our relationship is a common craving for adventure, for the extraordinary.

So what would happen if I threw the idea of balance out the window?

When I was a child, I bought my first desktop computer from a classifieds listing in the actual printed newspaper, with all the allowance/Christmas/birthday money I’d saved up over my lifetime. For years, I used to stay up until the wee hours of the night writing my little heart out on that impossible machine, regardless of whether or not it was a school night. It was transcendental, those strange and silent hours between pitch dark and gloaming, when all the world seems put to bed and you alone are working magic. I was so unfathomably in love with the act of creation that I would go all the way to that strange hour of the night for our rendezvous.

I want to go back there. I want to let that kind of passion in again. What would happen if I pushed myself through the bars of the 9-5 cage and I wrote until the wee hours once more?

I know, I am older, and I do like to rise and set with the sun much of the time. But there are points in my creative process that require a dose of adventure, a tryst with the extraordinary. Because, you see, I’ve come to realize that I create in much the same way that I love: with everything I am, or not at all. And maybe the highs are paid for with the lows, or maybe not. Maybe duality is overrated.

So that’s the new plan: Unlimited creation.

Unlimited love.

Unlimited possibilities.

Procrastination and the SBoWG (Speeding Bullet of Writing Glory)

So some days (many days, lately!) I get going on these AMAZING bursts of writing where I’m just “oh ma gawd what in the wuurrrld” and I’m standing back in amazement at the crazy shit I’m writing (and LOVING that I’m writing) and then all I want to do, suddenly, is talk about how excited I am. It’s amazing I don’t accidentally post more spoilers.

I’ve noticed that I do this a lot, and it’s actually a form of avoidant behavior! Because when I do drop off the Speeding Bullet of WRITING GLORY (SBoWG) to spout about how glorious it is, that disperses all the energy that I’ve summoned (that maybe makes me a little bit nervous that I might actually take things too far and [insert general fear associated with the risk of creativity]). And yet! I continuously do this, even if I never actually end up spouting directly to anyone (or on any social media platform :p). I’ll think about what I MIGHT say, and that’s enough to distract me from the actual SBoWG, therefore killing my momentum. Why on earth would I do that?

‘Cause, you know what? I’ve been experimenting with NOT doing that momentum killing stuff, and HOLY CRAP that SBoWG CAN GO SO MUCH FASTER THAN I EVEN KNEW.

I think a lot of people do this, don’t get me wrong–I mean I am the specialist of specials (TM) (and j/k), just not in this case. You know how sometimes you’re doing something and you keep getting an annoying urge to check your email/Twitter/Facebook/the refrigerator? That’s not because you actually think you’re missing out on anything. It’s because some part of you wants to avoid the discomfort of focusing on what you’re doing. It’s totes normal though, so don’t worry!

Procrastination is an amazing little thing our brains trick us into doing to avoid that niggle of discomfort when you don’t want to do something. It relies on a funny concept of a “Future Self,” relaying the responsibility to GET SHIT DONE to that mythical creature of tomorrow while Present Self gets to lounge around eating cookies and bingeing on Netflix streaming.

The problem arises when it’s something you *have* to do, or something you actually *want* to do, but have a hard time doing. Like writing! I LOVE writing, it is MAGIC, but some days it’s harder than others. There’s a lot of risk involved in any form of creativity, especially when you’re putting it out to the public, and that can make a person nervous. But, as the saying goes, courage is not the absence of fear, it’s the ability to act in spite of fear. I spite you, FEAR!

How much fear is really involved in procrastination? Not a whole lot on the surface, usually, if we actually sit down and talk with it. Usually it’s just a whiny kind of “eehhhh, hmmm, I don’t knowwww…” or “I really just don’t feeeeeel like it” or “why bother.” But boy is it sneaky! It sneaks right by you precisely because it’s *not* such a big deal, and casually justifies why Future Self should be the one cramming for an exam at 2 am so that you, Present Self, can stay up for one more episode of Dr. Who.

But beneath the sneaky avoidance there often lurks something a bit more sinister, especially when it comes to writing: fear of failure; fear of rejection (literal rejection from all kinds of relevant parties); fear of criticism; fear of screwing it all up and having to start over again from scratch for the millionth time. I could go on, but it would get a lot darker than I want this post to get.

So back to courage. How do we muster it? Consider this: what is more important to you, that you do the thing you love, or that you do it perfectly? That you do the thing you love, or that you get praise for it? That you do the thing you love, or that it you make a ton of money from doing it? Because as long as the former is always the most important, fear that you won’t get those other things can be tamed, and eventually it can become really and truly inconsequential. So, as a writer, will it still suck to get a bad review? Probably! But you don’t write for reviews, do you?

If you’re like me, you write because you have stories to tell–because you love the adventure of the process–because you are a story-hungry word-witch with magical talking fingers that weave spells into your keyboard/pen and onto the page and dear gods if you don’t channel this phenomenal cosmic power the dams inside your bones will burst and there will be nothing but untold tales and inky writer bits scattered across the stars.

And when that’s how you feel about writing, there is no fear big enough to stop you from acting in spite of it.

 

Work In Progress Status update (for the sequel to The Hierophant!)

Percent Completed Since June, 2013: about 50%

Characters killed: 3 (technically) so far!

Oh Sh!t Moments (IMO): 10

Current Favorite Character to Write: Ana. Oh Ana. I am so sorry for the things I put you through. *secretly grinning*

 

Onward!

fancy-horz

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