Monday, May 19, 2014

It's Been Awhile Since I Could Hold My Head Up High...

Forgive me blogger, for I have sinned. It has been seven weeks since my last pitiful post. I could blow off this newest impromptu hiatus by saying it was due to waiting out the end of A-Z, or that I’ve been too busy, but none of that would be true.

I have a confession to make, and this has been a long-time coming.

The truth is, my life in every other aspect is going just fine. My kids are healthy and happy. My husband’s doing great. I’ve been doing yoga, running, and preparing to find a job for September. All’s good.

Except for one thing.

That ‘other’ part of my life. The one I once held so dear, it could have drowned out everything else if I'd let it--That great thrill of creativity, words, and stories come to life and the thriving community that accompanied the process.

It’s time I stop beating around the bush and just state the truth about why I keep dropping off the face of the virtual planet:

I haven’t been around the blogosphere or the writing community much because I don’t like the way it makes me feel. (through no fault of its’ own)

I hadn’t realized it until now, or maybe I had, but just wasn’t ready to deal with it. But the truth is, I don’t think I’ve completely gotten over the deception that came with all those near-misses ages ago. I hate to admit it, but maybe I’m not as strong emotionally or psychologically as I once believed.  Sure, I talked a good game, but when it comes down to it, I’ve started and stopped four different projects in the last two years, some getting 30k along before I simply ‘lost interest’. I haven’t been able to make myself blog regularly or keep up with publishing, author, or industry news.

When it comes to writing, I'm sure it's partly because I’m afraid. Afraid of finishing a project and investing in it emotionally again. Afraid of putting it out there. And afraid of enduring the same feeling of failure and just-not-good-enoughedness that I had last time.

When it comes to the community, I still flip through my writerly facebook regularly, because I miss the connections and friends I made during my blogging hayday. I spend time ‘liking’ all the amazing things my writing friends are putting out there and experiencing, admiring how productive and accomplished they are.

But it’s only a matter of time before I turn to my own, empty status and realize I have absolutely nothing to offer. I’m not productive, inspired, or successful. I’m a hack. Total fraud. Undeserving of interest or praise.

That sinking, no-good feeling begins to spread. 

Which is why I quickly retreat back into myself and the other aspects of my life, and away from the writerly part, in a self-imposed exile that really affects no one but me; punishment for being so utterly unsuccessful, boring, and incapable. My solution? Complete and total avoidance of the problem.

Does it make sense? No.

But it is what it is. *shrugs*

I’m just tired of letting this feeling of failure keep me from a part of my life that I miss terribly. I think it’s time to put ‘er down. And I’m hoping that putting it out there will be the first step towards that. It’s easier to shoot an animal that’s out in the open, and all that jazz.

Anyways, I want to offer a heartfelt apology to all of my blogging friends for my absence. For being little and weak and cowardly and not facing my own crap sooner so that I could be here for all of you- have joy in your successes and offer encouragement through your obstacles. You can be sure this community has left its mark on my heart. If it hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here. So here’s to taking back the reins.

You guys ever let negative emotions keep you from something you love? Any advice as to how to get over this feeling of failure that settles over me whenever I think about writing?


Old Kitty said...

Awwwwww!! Forgive and love and accept yourself and all your many complexities! Without "failures" you won't have successes! And you will and you have! Enjoy this glorious Monday morning - I hope it's as sunny wherever you are as it is here! Big big hugs! Take care

Matthew MacNish said...

We miss you too, Katie, but we totally understand.

And there's no reason you can't take breaks when you need them, but don't ever give up. I've read your work, and it is too awesome to be given up on.

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

I believe a lot of people are, whether they realise it or not, afraid of success. It's easier to stay in a comfortable position than risk the changes that can come by trying something different. People reach the point where they're ready to take the leap, all at different times in their lives. It took me about ten years or so just to be ready to try to write something worth publishing.

You'll get there. It's all determination and persistence.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I think a lot of us have these worries. And that's okay. It's an incredibly negative profession, with agents and publishers always saying no instead of yes.

With working full-time, I just don't have any time for writing right now and it's probably on the back burner through this year. It makes me wonder how committed I am to writing in general. But if it turns into just a hobby because I need the stability and income of a job, that's okay for me. Hang in there. You'll figure it out.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Take the first step, Katie. It will take a while to build momentum. But you are strong enough to handle it. And we're here to cheer you on.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Go right now and download If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. It was published in 1930 and re-published on Kindle. Crappy cover, weird formatting but none of that matters. The content will change your life. Do it. Now. And read it. Again and again.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

'K, your opening gave me the jitters. Totally reminded me of my years at Catholic school, when they'd call us down individually to 'confess' before the priest. #shivers

Your feel of betrayal is normal and, in my opinion, justified. I totally understand and remember similar emotions imprisoning me. But hang on - you are not a fraud. Your path is just taking a different curve, right now. Nothing wrong with that. You will NEVER be a failure in my eyes. I will ALWAYS regard you as one of my closest cyber-buds, whether you write or not.

Summer Frey said...

I went through the same thing, but my hiatus lasted for over a year. I still really haven't come all the way back. It was a nice break, but I missed my connections too. That very intense time in 2010-2011 was almost like being in a cult, right? Lots of great stuff came out of it, but some of needed to recover.

It's hard not to compare ourselves to others, but unavoidable. I just read and move on. My life is good regardless of my publishing status, and I'm sure yours is as well. One day we may have that extra feather, or we may have bird poop on our heads. Either way, what matters the most is already wonderful.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I honestly think you have one of the best voices in the blogosphere. You can make the most mundane be entertaining and that is truly a gift.

I find myself teetering on the same edge as you. I have set dates...I will be more accomplished by this date. I'll fail and then I'll move the date farther ahead. Stephen King once wrote that he pounded a nail into his wall and was going to quit when the rejections filled the nail. He said he got so many, the nail was pulling from the wall. But instead of quitting, he hammered in another nail.

Comparing ourselves to others is the kiss of death. Nothing good comes of it. I don't know why I do it. All it does is depress.

Oh, and having happy kids is monumental. You'll pat yourself on the back for that one day. I swear!

Angela Brown said...

Glad to know that the family is well and other aspects of your life are doing fine.

And hey, nothing to forgive from my point of view. You dealt with some pretty tough blows and have tried to be as active as possible. Sometimes, distance is a must. So no more words of cowardice and all that rut. You're human. You're a mom and a wife. And your a writer working to shrug off the insecurities that weighed upon your shoulders.

So there. Here's my virtual kick-slap-a-pow to those things burdening your writerly shoulders. We're here, this writing community, and glad to cheer you on as you take back the reins.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

On my blog today, I have John Steinbeck write to me from the year 1930 when he despaired of ever being accepted by an agent or published. And it was not until 1934 that he wrote his winner.

Four long years of feeling a failure and having his wife, Carol, work and support them both during the Depression as he labored for his dream.

It hurts to be rejected, for our prose is part of our souls.

To be able to write well is to feel deeply. To feel deeply is the worst when it comes to criticism or to failing to be accepted.

Read a part of a book or a poem that touched you -- read several excerpts even. Then, re-read the last paragraph you wrote -- add one more sentence to it or one whole paragraph.

It may prime the pump. Louis L'amour wrote that the water will not flow unless you turn on the tap so write -- even if it is only sentence.

John Steinbeck wrote that we are to forget finishing our book. We are to focus on one page. If we do one page a day, in a year, we will have written our book.

You and I are in this for the long haul. We grow from resistence to weight: the weight of depression, the weight of hopelessness, the weight of not knowing.

You are stronger than you know. You can do this.

Reflect on all those thousands of words you have written in the past. They will be wasted if you stop.

Have you thought about self-publication? I will help you if you wish. :-)

AiringMyLaundry said...

I get it.

I'm querying my novel now, and it hurts to be rejected. I'm at the point now where I wonder, "Why bother? I keep being told no." And then I worry, what if my book does get published and people mock it?

It's tough.

But I do remind myself that writing is what I love to do and I can't give up.

D.G. Hudson said...

You just got sidetracked by the family responsibilities which doesn't leave a lot of room for writing energies. Hang in there, we all need breaks. Take an extended one. But don't discount yourself or your abilities.

Those rejects and setbacks are common to many of us, especially those of us as yet unpublished. I'm still writing, with my goal in mind. Perhaps this is your 'curing' period, and great things will come from it.

Try writing short, instead of long even short stories for the kids - why not? I used to write puppet plays for preschoolers, they loved it. It's still writing.
Good luck, you have support, it's evident here.

Anonymous said...

I've been here. You will get out of this funk. You have a lovely blog and style and everything takes time. When we're in the trenches, we have no idea how long we'll be in them. Everything is a surprise. Your hard work will pay off and you have a wonderful community at hand who understands you.

Unknown said...

Just what you are doing. Stay in touch with your writing community. Eventually you will find the encouragement to pick up your pen and write on.

I've found a heap of writerly love and support via the Wattpad community. They are also great beta readers/critiquers. It is especially a great place for a YA writer. Not sure if you are already on, but if not, I've found it is worth a try.

Hope this helps some :)


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