Monday, January 13, 2014

The Dream Vs Reality Reflections

Guess what?

I finished the first draft of Search for Knowledge over the weekend!!


The the most prevalent emotion?

Relief.

I was seriously starting to wonder if I was ever going to finish another novel. I talk a good talk on here, but it's mostly my way of trying to psych myself out in a positive way. However, the reality of getting published last year knocked me for a whammy.

All the things that I thought getting published would bring to me, never happened. For instance:
  • I would "feel" validated.
  • My family would finally see this isn't just a hobby for me.
  • Writing would be easier because I would know that I could do it.
  • My bouts with depression would never bother me again.
  • I would finally have the self confidence to always be strong and assertive.
Sadly, getting published was not that magic pill I'd hoped for. There were definitely moments of validation, and I'm grateful for them. My family has been more supportive, but I've also tried to make a greater effort at balancing writing and family life.

For some strange reason the writing became harder.

I believe this is because I see the weakness in my writing. Part of me still feels like a failure. THE MAGIC WAKES isn't as perfect as I want it. I developed that "why bother" attitude. There are so many better writers out there, they can keep the world supplied with books. No one needs my half baked, half built, half "there" stories. *sigh*

Every day I struggle to tell myself it doesn't matter what others think, or where I'm at right now in this moment. What matters is that I'm trying to be better than I was yesterday. Because I want to be better. And for no other reason. (Well, and I don't want Talia mad at me again!)

Why are we harder on ourselves than anyone else ever could be? And how can I use it to my advantage?

Here are the things that have helped me the last two months:
  • Set small goals Sit down and write SOMETHING for an hour every day. When I get good at this, I'll add to it. Write 1000 words a day, write for 2 hours, whatever will work for me at that time.
  • Forgive myself If life happens and I don't get to write, it's OKAY! The novel will still be there tomorrow. If the three page scene is really crappy, it's OKAY! Everything can be revised and edited.
  • Forgive others Don't hold grudges when other people don't understand or keep interrupting during the writing of a crucial scene. People are important. If I continue to show them they are important to me, they will eventually understand and respect the things that are important to me.
  • Leave the past in the past This is the hardest one for me. The mistakes I made before are done. I can't change them, and I need to let them go. By allowing them to haunt me, all I do is prevent myself from leaping into the next learning experience.
I'm back to writing because I enjoy it. If it takes me another year to get it the way I want it...so be it.

Sorry to those who may be waiting for something, but I promise I'm trying my best to make it worth your wait. The Search for Knowledge will be even better than THE MAGIC WAKES. The characters will grow, the world building will dig deeper, there will be more science and more magic to come. More heartache and more triumph. That was always the plan. Now it's time to get to work.

What inner demons have you been struggling with and keeping hidden?
Feel free to share in this No Judgement Zone!


20 comments:

  1. Congratulations on finishing the first draft!
    Some things get easier and better, but new struggles emerge. Writing a book set in a world outside of the Cassa universe is one of the toughest things I've ever tackled.

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    1. I bet! I noticed that my new world (FIM), even though its earth, has a few parallels to the one I created for Talia. Interesting how the things we want or believe in the most sneak in everywhere. Good luck!

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  2. Congrats!
    I must admit that your "Set small goals"...
    at first glance looked like "Sell Small Goats".
    Forgiving myself would be my inner demon that I wrestle with.

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    1. LOL, well if selling small goats helps your writing, GO FOR IT!

      It's so much easier to forgive others. *sigh* Perhaps it's because we KNOW we should know better.

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  3. I salute you--for finishing the first draft, AND I salute any resolutions that have "forgiveness" and "letting go" in them. Bravo and onward!

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    1. Thanks Elise! We drag so much baggage with us don't we? Learning to let it go is probably one of the most important lessons we can learn in life.

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  4. Oh I didn't know you had bouts of depression. I'm glad that you are working your way through that by completing all of your goals in such a spectacular fashion. :)

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    1. Sadly yes. The last 11 years have been an up and down battle. At first the down lasted about 3 years before I started to come out of it. So much lost time with my family, friends, life in general! The problem was I never went in for help. Writing was my first self imposed therapy and making an effort to get out among the living.

      Eventually I went to counseling and it did wonders! Learning to recognize my triggers and come up with ways to combat them has been invaluable. My last "down" was only two month or so and I managed to keep functioning instead of hiding in my bed. Success! Sometimes we just have to take things one day at a time, right?

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  5. Loved your honesty. I could have written this post--though not so well--because I've felt the same way. A lot! Writing my first book was easiest. Why is that? I think because there aren't any expectations. It's just fun! But we know people will read the second book, and we get so hung up on, "What will they think?" that we forget the fun part. I have to remind myself of this all the time. I love to write. I love it! So everything else is just...well...everything else. And that's okay. Congrats on finishing that first draft of book 2. I'm reading MAGIC WAKES right now and loving it. You're a great writer! Keep up the good work!

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    1. *hugs* Thanks Rebecca! I remind myself of the same thing every day. Writing is fun! It's saved my sanity so many times so who cares if anyone else ever reads it? Perhaps its finally sinking in?

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  6. I go through periods when I just don't want to write. I don't know where the story is going. Life is taking up all my space. Even times when I feel like I can't do anything more than watch TV. Yep. We all go through it. I like your realistic goals. 1,000 words a day is doable. And when it isn't, let it go. There will be tomorrow.

    Congrats on finishing this novel. I do believe we all get better at this writing thing the more we do it. I know that this will be true for you, too.

    If it makes you feel better, the writing suggestions you have made for me were ALWAYS better than what I had written. You are a better writer than you think!!!!

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    1. Awe, thanks Robin. I appreciate that. It's easier to help others than fix your own work sometimes. Fresh eyes and all that. ;)

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  7. Hear! Hear! Charity. Wow, I can feel where you're coming from. Honestly, Alex Cavanaugh the the Insecure Writers Support Group has been helpful in dealing with many of my writerly demons. Once a month, getting to let it all out has been wonderful...and a reminder of how NOT alone I am in dealing with these demons.

    And the second novel, especially after getting that first one out, was grueling! Maybe it was the mountain of expectations I set for myself, I don't know, but it was difficult. I mulled through and got it published but man, was it hard.

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    1. *hugs* I knew we were kindred spirits Angela! IWSG has been a great help to me too these last few months. I honestly think it's helped pull me out of my low times.

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  8. Now that you know you can write another book, the third will be that much easier.

    I know where you're coming from on the depression. I'm glad you're feeling better.

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  9. That's a great list, actually, and something that I want to ask more authors now. I think I've thought that publishing would make me feel legit, when now that I think about it, it may just make me feel more stress and pressure!

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  10. Yay! The way I see it, as long as you're consistently writing (no matter how little) you're making progress on your dream. Let me know if you need a beta. :)

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  11. Great tips, Charity. That last one really resonates with me, and I'm having a hard time with it right now. I made a mistake that is coming back to get me. :(.

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  12. Thanks so much for your honesty, Charity. I think being honest in forums like this helps us to realise we're not alone. My battle is with anxiety rather than depression, but it's essentially the same journey. Thankfully, I haven't had a major 'episode' for almost two years now.

    Good on you for finishing your first draft of your second novel - such an achievement! I hope the polishing stage is rewarding for you. :-)

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