Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Blog for Jami and the Rest of Us

Jamie's blog could have been written by me, and it sounds as if others feel many of the same thoughts. For Christmas, I gave myself the book "Unstuck: A Supportive and Practical Guide to Working Through Writer's Block" by Jane Anne Staw because I was very aware that for the past several months I was indeed stuck with my writing. It has helped--I have two pages of a prospective novel (That I avoided writing by researching forever) finally on paper-but reading the book wasn't the only thing I needed to do to help me move more forcefully into 2011. Like Jamie, the first thing I had to do was express my thoughts and fears. What was keeping me frozen? What had happened to my passion for writing? What had happened to that energetic 'me' who juggled job, kids, household, creative demands, rode regularly and volunteered? Well, the truth is, that person has gotten older.
Linda has blogged many times about enjoying a quieter and more contemplative life with horses. Her thoughts and introspections have resonated with me. Part of me has enjoyed this more peaceful pace--today my daughter (who will soon head back to college) and I spent an hour watching the birds at the feeder. But the other part mourns the disappearance of that person who had limitless energy and resolve, and I often feel sad as well as fearful that somehow I have lost 'me.'
Jamie, perhaps some of what I have been going through makes sense for you, too. Do you see some parallels between you and Gailey? The two of you have been partners for a long time. Now that relationship has changed, and maybe you are mourning that loss of athletic and competitive energy you both had. Sometimes we have to work through that sadness before moving on. I hope in time you can find a new way to exercise that gives you joy because as every magazine article states, exercise is key to keeping up your spirits and health. For me, religiously walking my dogs twice a day (rain or shine)has helped keep me moving, plus I continue to enjoy trail riding when the weather and footing cooperate.
Now, back to the writer's block. "Unstuck" made me dig deep and think about the anxieties and fears that plague me. It might be a worthwhile read for you, I don't know. I also have "The Writers Book of Hope" on my bedside table. I do know that I have lost that 'hunger' and drive I had when I first started writing. I also continue to lose heart when I get a bad review or rejection from an editor. (Even after publishing 60 books. Sheesh, you'd think I'd be over that touchiness that by now.) Does it help that you and I are not alone? That all authors have a tough time moving beyond those hurts and anxieties? Probably not. But I hope you find a way to conquer your own worries and 'stucks'--writing them down and sharing them was a great first step!


Laura Crum said...

Alison--I am so on the same page with you and Jami. With perhaps a slight difference. I have to ask here--the last few times you've made a reference to "Linda", it sounded as if you were referring to something I'd written. In this last post you mention posts about a more contemplative life with horses and you previously mentioned what sounded like my two gentle geldings as "Linda's". So I'm just checking in--do you mean me or Linda? If I'm wrong, please correct me, but in case I'm guessing right, I will say that it is indeed true that I am focusing more on a quieter, more contemplative life--both with my horses and in other ways. This doesn't mean I don't ride or write, but it does mean I'm taking the pressure off myself. And, in fact, my next mystery novel touches on this theme. So, yes, I, too, am too plump, and not terribly motivated to finish my next book, and haven't ridden in a month. (In my defense, its rained pretty much the whole month.) The only difference is, I'm pretty much giving myself permission for that to be OK. And yeah, I spend time watching the wild animals, and seeing the buds on the early narcissus as they get fuller every day. I like wandering around the garden and/or just grazing my horses. And I don't feel like its time wasted. So I guess, perhaps, I am embracing a quieter life. Don't know if that's good or bad.

Jami Davenport said...

Alison, I enjoyed your post. Yes, some of what's going on is that I'm getting older. I haven't really changed my eating habits, but my ability to eat whatever I want and not gain weight is gone.

Also, one other item I didn't mention. There is a toxic person in my life who's sucked the energy out of my life in a lot of ways. I can't do anything about her presence, but I am slowly learning to not care about her and her poisonous hatred of my husband and I. Funny thing is the less I care about her the less power she appears to have in my life and the less influence she has on those I care about.

Alison said...

Laura--I am sorry and you are right. For some reason, I get you and Linda B. mixed up when I write my blogs--though NOT in real life where I know the difference. Sigh, another aspect of getting older! Yes, you are the person who I mean when I refer to 'the quieter life' that I believe I am moving toward.

Jami--I am sorry to hear about the toxic person. Perhaps a voodoo doll. Just kidding, but sometimes that's what you feel like doing. Good luck with finding more joy in your writing!

Linda Benson said...

Jami and Alison and Laura - Thank you so much for your thoughtful, honest posts. My goals have changed so much as I've gone through life, and they continue to change. Change is difficult some times, but it makes us grow as a person. What's hard for me, as a writer and in other areas of my life, is when I hold on to the same old notions of who I am, and what I do - because it's constantly evolving! So be good to yourselves. Jami - congrats on your contract, and I hope that the pressure might be the motivation that you need to get going again, or if not, maybe you can try something totally different. Alison - I hope you can press through your writer's block. And if that doesn't work, maybe a break from writing, or to try another creative endeavor altogether might be what you need at the moment. Just remember, you are all fantastic, creative women! Hope the new year ahead brings you all good things!

Alison said...

Thanks for the cheerleading, Linda! This has been a good support group.