Monday, July 4, 2016

The Next Problem and Then the Next...

I had a film professor in school that told me "film making is problem solving." At the time, I was relieved to hear it, because I could solve problems, but I couldn't set proper lighting or hold a steady camera shot to save my life (or grade). I also didn't know at the time just how right he was. I encounter it everyday in my professional life. It's one problem, or challenge, or change that requires a solution, fix, or adjustment after another. 

I was watching The Martian last night (Hey, Matt Damon! I see you boo!) and in addition to the obvious theme that Matt Damon is perfect and can do anything, it too approaches the idea that life is solving a succession of problems. 

How do I apply this idea to writing? I'm constantly overwhelmed by the process. I think about writing all the time, but I do it sporadically. It's not because I don't have anything to say or because I'm lazy. I start thinking about all of the things that go into writing and freeze to complete inaction. You don't have to just write a freaking novel, which ha ha ha, is sort of the easy part. (Not easy, but the one thing in this whole process that's entirely yours, at least to start.) Then you edit. Then you get critiques. Then you edit again. Then you query, and query, and query some more. Also, let us not forget the all important "platform" that you're supposed to cultivate along with writing a FREAKING NOVEL. No, ok, I'm not getting revved up, but this is a never ending "no win" when you start putting it all together. 

So, I'm going to Watney this bitch. My biggest problem right now is that I need an agent for my first novel. My solution is to query five agents per week. That's a reasonable, non threatening number.That's one problem and one way of finding the solution. I'm going to let that be enough for now. 

#Truth: This post carried on for several more paragraphs all to explore the next issues and possible solutions. By the time I'd finished writing that draft, I was back to being a ball of anxiety who wanted to quit and just turn on the television. This "one at a time" method is going to be harder than I thought. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Just Enough





Still? Nothing?

Oh! Haha. That's right. When you abandon your blog, no one reads your blog. Duh.

It's been two years since my last blog post. Two years! That's just shameful is what that is. But sometimes, you just have to suck it up and face the fact that you totally bailed on your dream.

I had a boss tell me once that he was disappointed in me because he thought I wasn't "going the distance". He used this vague, basically meaningless, expression because there wasn't anything, technically speaking, that I was doing wrong. Even though I was upset to hear his criticism (because I'm an over-achieving, rule-following, people-pleasing, praise-seeking weirdo), I knew on some level he was right. I wasn't giving more than everything I had, the way I used to. What I wanted to say to him and didn't (see aforementioned list of personality traits) is that it wasn't that I wasn't going "the" distance. I was just going a different distance. I'd decided to diversify my life and live for more than my job alone. I'd really started writing in earnest at that time. I'd also begun to focus on my health and trying to make my physical and mental being better. And I did. I really did. I finished my first manuscript (still unrepresented b.t.dubs) and I lost seventy pounds. That's going the damn distance. And it was for me, and not for anyone else, which is probably why it didn't show well on a professional review, but I was riding so high on my own feelings of accomplishment, that, well, my give a damn, just didn't.

But then, I coasted.

Straight up. Coasted.

I was doing just enough across the board. Just enough re-writing and querying to consider myself an active writer. Just enough dieting and exercising to maintain weight loss, but not get any further. I wasn't making progress, because I wasn't pushing. I was letting myself down, to myself, all the time. And then, before I was really aware of what was happening, my writing had gone untouched for six months and my clothes started getting tighter. Ugh. Sure. It would be easier to just be able to coast all the time, but not only did I not get anywhere, I started to backslide!

So, now what?

Now. I try again. I'm not at the starting line, which is good and bad really. For me, slightly smaller goals make me feel like I've got more time to reach them. In fact, not true. So, I'm still working on having the will power to push through. I've been making myself exercise daily (note to anyone with insomnia: the exercise totally helps) and I've been journaling every night before bed. It is not much, but it has propelled me forward again. I've started querying again (hint hint agents. Unrepresented chick ova heeya. Is there a literary come hither emoji? There should be.) and I've started writing (a little) for my next manuscript idea. Oh, and here I am on my pretty little blog again. It's not much,for now. But, for now, it's just enough.