Tag Archives: fear

Patience & Story

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

For a writer, I have remarkably little patience.  Often in my life – patience is a virtue that I do not possess. At the moment, I’m near the end of the novel I’m drafting. I have another 10-15k to write, but I’ve been hovering. Not writing. Waiting.

I’m starting to get impatient with myself. I need to be setting words to paper, now, or so it feels like to me. However, at the same time, I’m awed by the possibilities that are in front of me as I near the end of this novel. And largely, I write intuitively, letting the story take me on the journey – me following where it leads.

So, when something doesn’t feel right or ready it is difficult to surmount that feeling because my subconscious is telling me to wait. Be patient. However, when does this stuck feeling become inertia? I’m still trying to learn the balance between moving forward for motions sake versus slowing down and feeling the story.

Writers write every day. I hear this continually. I’m practicing, but even in my best weeks, I’m writing 5-6 days week. Not seven days a week. Does that make me less of a writer? I don’t know. Probably not. I’m still practicing writing. Hell, even in the weeks that I only write 2-3 days that week, I’m still thinking about the novel. Or dreaming about it. The story is on my mind.

I also must admit, I’m at the stage in the story where I’m dreaming about a new novel. Characters from other stories and worlds are seductively dancing through my head. Write me – they cry at me. I have to ignore them, for now, so that I can finish the mad dash of this novel. I know the ending is in me. It is just taking its time gestating. And hopefully it will come out sooner rather than later.

© K. Klein 2013

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Hiding

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.  ~Charles W. Eliot

Whenever I feel sad or depressed or too anxious to function I have a tendency to hide. And looking at my blog and how I haven’t posted for most of January I think it is safe to say that I have been hiding.

When I was in high school, my way to hide included a dark blue sweater with a Mickey Mouse embroidered on the front. I felt a lot like Mia Thermopolis from the Princess Diaries – minus the whole royalty spiel.

For the most part, I have tried to use other more positive coping mechanisms in my life. However, I didn’t realize it until now, but I have fallen back on the hiding technique. It is just easier to pretend nothing is wrong when I pretend I am not there.

There are several reasons I think I went into this mode during January – a lot of overwhelming things have happened.

Firstly, I read a writing blog called Miss Snark’s First Victim run by the lovely Authoress. She ran a Critique Partner Dating Service. I actually put myself out there, which is a challenge for me. I met some lovely people. However, it seems that none of them have clicked. Perhaps there is still some sting from rejection. And sting from an honest critique. (I probably started the novel in the wrong place and my first line wasn’t a hook. Sigh. I suck at writing hooks.)

It isn’t that I don’t want honesty, but the critique killed my creative voice. And the critical voice has been in the forefront since then. I’ve been feeling apathetic and averse to writing since then. I suppose it just means that this person was not my destined critique partner. And that is ok. I wasn’t super nice to them either. Their technical skills were solid, but for me, their character fell flat.

It is interesting, because this ties into something else that I discovered this January. I stumbled into the blogs of Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. And they have some offbeat advice. In fact, they made me start thinking about writing as a business. And in thinking about it as a business, I started to question my original plan.

Initially, I wanted to get a query together and find an agent. Now that I have read their blogs and thoughts I am definitely considering indie publishing. I am considering a small publishing house or self-publishing e-books. A year ago, this would have been an unimaginable decision for me. Now I am really weighing the cost and benefit of each model of publishing. And the thing that seems clear to me is that indie publishing is perhaps a good launch pad, even if traditional publishing is the goal.

I’m still trying to process all of the information from their blogs. I would strongly suggest that if you are unpublished and don’t know what direction you want to go in to read these blogs because they are definitely thought-provoking.

Furthermore, I have also spent January being a bit anxious about some personal situations. Hopefully this week will bring some highly anticipated news and be a positive start.

©K. Klein 2013

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Struggling against the Silence

Writing is a struggle against silence. Carlos Fuentes

My anxiety has been riding me hard for the past week. Some days; especially today that has made it hard to concentrate and get things done. I hate the feeling of being arrested and unable to accomplish anything. When it feels like every task – even finishing the laundry – is too much. I did get the laundry done today, but it feels like I didn’t accomplish much else.

This is so damn frustrating to me. I know I am capable of accomplishing many things. And yet, days like today happen where doing anything feels like an uphill battle against me. Even typing these words is a chore.

I want to write or journal, but it feels like I am in a tank of water and every motion I do takes the extra effort of working against not only the air, but the water too. I don’t want to be silent. I want to be able to speak up. Or write. Or communicate. I want to write – even when it is hard or scary. Perhaps, especially when writing is hard or scary.

I hate this feeling that fear is ruling my life. I want to live my life despite the fear I feel. I want to be able to do what I want to do. I want to accomplish things in a day; more than just getting the laundry done and feeling exhausted because it took that much exertion to just start it. So here I am, writing this blog post, trying to work over that feeling of not being able to accomplish anything today.

There is also that voice of doubt in the back of my head. This post is stupid. Why don’t you stop whining? If you post this to the internet people are going to think you are a whiner. You don’t want that, do you? Argh, listen up, doubt – please just shut the fuck up. All right? I am striving against the silence. I am writing despite the uphill battle. I don’t need your help.

©K. Klein 2012

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Just bleed

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

Ernest Hemingway

Unfortunately, as much time as I have spent thinking about new idea and anticipating writing it, the writing is being difficult. My mind is resisting and trying to run away in fear. I want to hold back. I’ve hit upon a personal nerve. Oddly enough, NaNoWriMo often brings to light things that I don’t want to face.

Ironically, even though this novel is set in a magic pseudo-futuristic America, the main character’s mother is insane. Part of the major conflict is the main character needing to pay for mental healthcare for her mother. This is something I discovered in the planning on Halloween, but it makes sense for the larger plot overall.

This hits a personal nerve. My own mother is schizophrenic. Sometimes it just hurts to think that. A tiny piece of me is terrified of becoming ill like her; more often I am just terrified of becoming her. So having a character who is intimately dealing with the relationship with her own mother strikes me deeply.

I haven’t talked with my mother in a decade and going on longer. There are many reasons beyond my own mother’s illness of why we have not had contact in that long. Ultimately, I made the decision for my health.

So here I am, at the beginning of NaNoWriMo writing a novel about a daughter who is willing to do anything to care for her mentally ill mother; setting regardless. I might as well take the kitchen knife and slice my wrist open – I think that would hurt less. I honestly don’t mean to be melodramatic. I know it probably sounds pretty over the top to those who aren’t inside of my head.

But the issues that I have surrounding my mother and the array of confusing feelings – love, hatred, anger – decided to come up. Why hello issues, it is nice to see you again too. Not.

Wish me luck. Maybe I can dig into the fear as Dorothy Allison advises. I hope to bring honesty to whatever I write. I just have to sit down and face myself to do it. Sometimes seeing yourself clearly is the hardest thing there is to do.

©K. Klein 2012

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Writer’s Block?

“Discipline allows magic. To be a writer is to be the very best of assassins. You do not sit down and write every day to force the Muse to show up. You get into the habit of writing every day so that when she shows up, you have the maximum chance of catching her, bashing her on the head, and squeezing every last drop out of that bitch.” ~Lili St. Crow

I am not going to lie, the last semester of graduate school kicked my butt and I stopped writing every day. I am a bit perturbed because it took me so long to get into the habit the first time. I am still struggling with it now. (Hunting for a day job doesn’t help either). But that is me.

I’ve heard many writers say there is no such thing as writer’s block. I don’t know whether or not I agree myself. I think that writing is such an intensely personal thing that I can’t know if it exists for other writers. However, I do know one thing; it does exist for me – sort of. Please, let me explain. When I do not want to write there is usually a reason. I suffer from writer’s anxiety, writer’s depression, and writer’s fear. I occasionally suffer from writer’s denial of reality. Overall, I think it is easier just to say writer’s block.

When I don’t want to write or feel blocked it is usually because I don’t want to face the reality of the situation. There is an underlying emotion that the writing is bringing up and I want to run away from the emotion. And I can’t write about it and still run away from the emotion. (I never said I played nice with my emotions). It isn’t always that I am trying to run away from my emotions.

Occasionally, I have written myself into a corner and don’t know what is going to happen next. Or, I know what is supposed to happen next, but it doesn’t feel right. And the plan looks like it is falling apart. I don’t handle the plan falling apart well; it might be a slight tendency towards perfectionism. At this point, I start to avoid the page because I don’t know what to do. And I am afraid of failure.

If I don’t write – I can’t get it wrong. I know. I know. It is not exactly logical.

However, if I am smart, I ask myself what is wrong? For example, I am working on my rewrite in a two-pronged way.  I am writing the chapters out longhand and I am typing up the longhand chapters. Not the most efficient method ever, but it works. I think. The point being, I am still stuck on how to make Chapter 24 work; it is the lynchpin of the novel. I really don’t want to screw it up. Even more, I don’t want the plan to fall apart.

So in an effort to do something productive towards the rewrite, I have been typing up the longhand chapters I have. I came upon Chapter 16 and realized the longhand version is wrong. I couldn’t explain it to myself. I looked at it again and realized I needed to do my research.

This ended up with me looking up how to write an alphabet encryption and creating a cipher. I haven’t written the new Chapter 16 yet, but now I know what is happening. I have a better mental picture of where the chapter is going and a clear path to connect it back to the overall plot of the novel. It took me staring at the screen, getting frustrated, and then scribbling in my journal to realize I needed to do my homework.

That worked for me. I don’t know whether or not it would work for others. I figured out what makes me tick and actively work towards keeping the words flowing. That doesn’t mean I don’t hit fits and starts sometimes. Now I know not to stop writing for six months, but actively go back to the page and try to figure out what is going on so I can fix it and move forward.

©K. Klein 2012

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Insomnia

The icy fingers of fear crawl up my back; I shiver. Sleep won’t come.  Who is there? That shadow moved. Am I really alone? My mind knows the house it quiet and I am the only one awake, but my body is convinced I am not alone. I tense up.

I stare into the unending pool of the internet; trying to lose the feeling of those cold fingers. But chills still creep up my spine. I chase sleep down a back-alley. It eludes me; it jumped the fence. And the fear follows as I sprint away from it; I reach a dead end and find I am trapped between fear and its enforcer anxiety.

The questions start to race in my mind. Who is there? What is happening? Oh my god, am I going to die? As my mind races, my heart follows and my breathing becomes shallow. I try to slow my breathing down, but can’t really. I have to stop entirely; sleep is gone. I lost it in my pursuit. Now I curl up in a ball as fear and anxiety beat me into submission.

©K. Klein 2012

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