heroes and holes to different realms

I think about Alice in Wonderland a lot. Leather bound and aged. Aside from the story being one of the first I can point to for having opened the literary realms to me, the meaning of the story and feeling it gives me adds to my daily thoughts. Seeds and caterpillars. Dreams and age. Creatures and villains.

The hero’s story is one of change and purpose. An often grabbed trope in this arc is the loss of innocence. It is something we all go through. The journey through fallen dreams and life-hardened perspectives aren’t possible without it.

The manuscript that is being edited right now was a trip I enjoyed so much I decided it had to be a series. A world I want to stay in. The project out of my hands leaves a sour hole in my chest. Something I need to fill. I’m someone that has to have something to obsess over—ideas to hobble together. Drafting the second while the first one fed through the grinder didn’t seem like something I could do at the moment. Juggling fire on a tight rope blindfolded. At least one eye. But like ideas and gardens and stewing plots, I had projects and characters on the back burner. I pumped out three short stories. These were swirling around for a good while. They came right out. Cleaned up nicely and off they went.

“Okay,” I told myself. “It’s time to dive into the manuscript concept burning a whole in your back pocket.”

Because it has been trying to come out for years in different ways. I found the story and what the characters were doing. I sat down.

Nothing.

Some words.

Five different tries.

Feeling nothing. Oh wait, panic, that’s right.

I don’t know how you guys are with ideas. But, they feel like my air. When I can’t grab one I ask myself, “Was that it? Is that all I have? Am I tapped out?”

One thing that I am learning right now—something I should have probably known already but didn’t look at it as it stood in the corner pointing at me—writing sometimes means not writing.

Sometimes wandering and living and walking nowhere is how you write, how I write. Getting lost to find things. It’s hard for me not to work. I have yet to reach my career goals so most of the time it feels impossible to justify not working. But working means different things. I’ve been lucky the last nine months. I’ve been flush with ideas and energy to pump it out.
I spent four days not writing, it felt like torture, but now I have the format and voice I was looking for.
I’ve heard so many writers say, “The path to every book is different,” I can’t even count. Like so many sayings that are used too often, they lose their weight, but they exist for good reason. Every path is different. Each story has a rhythm, their own beat, and heart and blood.
So, yes, my mind is in a better spot right now. I’m getting into the groove with this book, but I’m not diving so deep in just yet. Edits for my other project will be dropping in any day. Then these ideas will wiggle and work stuff out in the background while I go through the edits.
Part of me is excited to get them back and eager to get my fingers in there and get dirty. But, I’m also nervous—before-you-get-on-a-really-loopy-rollercoaster nervous. I’m not sure what to expect. I have an idea, maybe. Guesses. The unknown is always intriguing to ponder.
The dance between liking and loathing lack of control.
I think that wraps this up, for now, I’ve gone on long enough. I’d like to sink my teeth into some drafting this strange, scary, and heartbreaking new project before my stomach and brain demands lunch.

Wednesday Morning

I like the idea of writing a blog post every day. I don’t do it. There is a good possibility it would help me keep a clearer head. Perhaps that isn’t pain I need to inflict on you fine readers….

Well, yes I’m writing a post which means, I am at my computer trying to draft, and it isn’t clicking. I don’t believe there is such thing as writer’s block. It’s a farce. A legend. In the way of the unicorn. But there are things that can hinder the flow.

Obscured vision: I have to ask myself, “Why are you writing this scene?”

Focus: Am I giving myself an opportunity to create or am I pacing back and forth thinking about all that I’m doing wrong?

Hunger: Self-care is important. Meals. Exercise. Breaks. It’s nuts, but I swear when I’m swamped those are the first things to go. *Writes “take shower” on list of things to do.*

I ate brownies at 11:30 last night as I stood over my computer staring at my story map. Not a great decision. My dreams were weird. This entire concept is hard and dark and a little twisted. I woke up grumpy and clogged. So I am trying to work it out so I can put a respectable count to my day.

There is something about starting this new project that has my bonnet wrapped in bees. This is a concept I’ve had on the back burner for eight months. The ideas and want are there. When I actually work in it, words comes out. I have a good sense of where it’s going and the tone. Part of my mind keeps wandering over to the manuscript that’s in editing and its future. What will the notes be when I get it back? How close was I? How far? But, I have to get better at blocking that out. Being a working writer means writing, a lot—acting like a professional. (Another skill I’m learning as I go.) So that’s what I’m doing. I’m building, and it will come. It is coming. There is so much on the horizon, but on this Wednesday morning, I do not love all of it. I’m angsty and grumpy and feel like there is an elephant I can’t see.

I am going on a walk with my dogs then I’m sitting my butt down without distractions and working. It’s a simple as that.

Wish me luck. I wish you luck, And, as always thanks for listening to me ramble, rant, and complain.

tools in the mind box

To control the mind’s path.

This means more than one thing to me. I juggle handling my mind, pretty much every day. Creating a story is a way to control the mind—willing a story into existence with a string of thoughts—to make something extraordinary out of nothing. Learning how to tap into the creative part of my brain is another method of control I attempt.

Focus comes easier some days than others. The thing I learned about how to keep focused, is that I need to be obsessed. If I am lukewarm about a project or idea, it doesn’t happen. I write because I have to and thus made into my career.

Self-doubt, worry—all that negative shit that creeps in, really is always there, can be useful. Whether I’m chasing down a plot or waiting to hear back. Controlling what I do with those feeling and thoughts is the decision of what I do with the negativity. Imperfections and insecurities can be wielded for good or bad.

I’m not so much thinking out loud to get my juices flowing, though I am doing that but for all those of you who create, you know, it get’s weird.

I love what I do. Wouldn’t do anything else. But, sometimes, like last week, I’m just wasn’t hitting the ground feeling it. I had to court myself, ease myself into a mood. Today I’m relaxed and happy all my wheels are going in the direction I want them. Peace should come from inside, but recognition of hard work done well helps too.

It feels good to be grinding away.

One thing I’m finding critical? Holding myself accountable to finish something. I was waist deep in partial short stories. I had some rough drafts, sketched ideas, and ones that are more than ready to be sent on their way. Last week was my first week without a large project in my hands, so it was high time to tackle the seedlings and submit them. I’m halfway through that list. Another manuscript that has been on hold for months while I worked on the high fantasy rewrite. I’m going to break ground on it some time this week. It will be helpful to have something large to obsess about while edits on the other project take its course.
It looks like I started using this post to organize my thoughts on the week’s work. Goals and ideas of directions make all the difference. It’s tomatoes or beef, you know?

Maybe my ridiculous rambling helps you shake a few thoughts loose. It is leaning into the abstract that often leads to finding the clear lines on which to draw.

-J