Sunday, January 30, 2011

So, like, um, weren't you, like, writing something?

Ok, this is the part where I talk about how I am so busy, I have too many projects going, the kids have been sick, I've been sick, I've been having goodbye lunches with friends, blah, blah, blah.

Honestly, I have been procrastinating on just about everything I am supposed to be doing with my life. Just about everything I should be doing, and just about everything I want to be doing. I have this issue. This perfectionism avoidance issue. My life can't be perfect (or this or that section of my life can't be perfect) so instead of doing it unperfectly to the the best of my ability I avoid it.

Like the plague. Like a stalker ex-boyfriend. Like Star Wars prequels.

You get the gist.

A very good friend of mine (you know who you are) shares this perfectionism avoidance issue. She sent me a link to this blog post with the comment "Oh my gosh, it's us!" And oh my gosh, it is indeed us. I may have laughed until I cried, felt deep shame and kindred spiritness with the author all at the same time. Or I may have just scoffed and said, (in a very superior adult tone) "really, who lives like that?" Ok, it was the first, definitely the first.

All of this is leading up to the admission that I haven't been working on my novel Sleeping Beauty 2.0 (working title). If you are my friend (or my Mom) you will probably say to me after reading this post "Cut yourself some slack, you've got a lot going on." You wouldn't be wrong, but you'd also be enabling me.

I'm not trying to set myself up for failure, or trying to accomplish too much (a la NaNoWriMo), but I really do want to write. To chip away at the mountain that is a novel, even if a little teeny tiny bit at a time. To keep my sanity. For a creative outlet. Because Alexandra Martin (and her adventure) is knocking around inside my skull, and if I don't get her out on paper she may never leave (I realize that last bit sounds a little bit kooky, if you're a writer you will understand, or maybe you won't, maybe I am just a little bit kooky).

So, in the interest of getting the project restarted I have accomplished two very important things today (three if you count this blog post, which honestly, you probably shouldn't).

1. I had a very satisfying girl's lunch with Sarey and LaLa, two of my fabulous bridesmaids in which I discussed bus lines and museums in downtown LA, as well as the hinky, shady profession of gemology . . . for all of 5 minutes. It's the quality, not the quantity that counts here people!

2. I spent some serious quality, and quantity in this case, reading time on this amazing site. If you want a total Sleeping Beauty head trip, here is your opportunity! My favorite similar tale, just for it's amazing Irish insanity, may be The King of Erin and the Queen of the Lonesome Island. Any story that starts with the chase of a black pig is a-ok in my book.

While neither of these is a huge milestone in the life of my novel, I hope that if I take enough baby steps in fleshing out my story my writing will come easier. It has always been for me, whether with school papers or stories, that they need to percolate through my brain for enough time before they can come out on the page. I feel like today I've added at least another scoop of grounds to the percolator . . . and on that horrible analogy I will hie me of to bed, hopefully it will all just come to me in a dream!


  1. Oh, I know exactly what you mean. I love my day job, but there are times I hate being there. Those are the days when my characters are talking so loudly I can hardly hear myself think, and I know that by the time I get home, the creative energy will have evaporated.

    My writing process tends to resemble pulling a shot of espresso, rather than percolation. I dump all my ideas for the story into the filter basket and put it in place. Then I force my creative energy through the grounds under extremely high pressure, AKA NaNoWriMo.

    Um... yeah. I think we might be up too late.

  2. I am SO feeling this! I have always thought that I couldn't write anything because I never had a whole story plotted out in my brain. I would START plotting them out, but they always would just trickle away. So I've been pretty convinced that I'm just not cut out to be a Writer, even though I'm always having ideas.

    Recently, though, I pointed out to myself that often when I sit down to write a zero-pressure blog post, I have NO CLUE what I'm going to write about. Or else I start to write about something, and the longer I type, the more it turns into something longer, deeper, and unexpected. Thoughts I didn't know I had occurred to me as I pondered the best way to phrase the thoughts I already knew. Maybe Writing could be that way too, I thought! I gave myself permission to write with no clear goal in mind, and wouldn't you know, at least two-thirds of a plot walked over and smacked me upside the head!

    Now I still have to carve out time to write, but I feel SO much happier, giving myself permission to figure it out as I go!

    Also, I am SO intrigued by your Sleeping Beauty prologue!

  3. Nancy - I wish I was an espresso style writer, I self-edit for months in my brain, blah!

    LTV (That's Lucy the Valiant for those following along at home) - I think your blog posts are fabulous, so I bet your fiction would be too! It is the carving out time to write it (and the shutting up of that pesky self-editor) that is always the problem ;)

    Thanks for the comments ladies . . . I JUST realized how insanely long this post was!

  4. Ah, good ol’ perfectionism avoidance. The reason why there are no posters on my walls, why I don’t do homework, and why it’s taken me three days to comment on this blog post!

    I’m in a Creative Writing class that I really like, but I’m also really scared of it. We need a help group. Maybe we can be our own help group. So, here goes.

    No slack for you! I will not enable! Poor Alexandra, just waiting to see what happens next with this mystery man! Write a little bit today, even if it’s just a paragraph. I believe in you! I know you’re brilliant – time to share it with the rest of the world!

    Love you!

  5. Thanks Becca (Miss Anderton), I love you too! And I know you are going to ROCK your creative writing class!

    I HAVE been writing, furiously, but not Sleeping Beauty! Why, you ask? Details to come SOON!


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