Tag Archives: feelings

Refuge

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.  Bob Marley

When I was in elementary school, I played flute, but I never practiced. I played passingly and usually sat towards the end of the section because I didn’t put the effort into improving my musical skills.

The interesting thing about music or art versus writing is that often there is the idea that writers are born and not made. However, writing is a skill like any other, and to develop any skill that means you need to practice.

I’ve been working on my writing practice this year. I’ve been writing towards a novel since late January and am at sixty-two thousand words. I’m happy with my progress. When it comes to my writing, I want to practice. I want to get better.

When I write, I am a happier and more complete person than when I do not write. For example, yesterday, I was in a funky mood. A bit anxious and upset and I sat down to write and just lost myself to my characters. And when I finished, I felt better. I even went on to write more in a second session later last night.

Writing is my refuge from the world. When I am telling stories it takes me away from my problems and issues. It allows me the freedom to bring my characters to life and to share them with others.

©K. Klein 2013

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Impatience

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood.  I’d type a little faster.  ~Isaac Asimov

No news on the personal front. Sigh. It makes me more impatient the longer I have to wait. Oh well. I just have to take a deep breath and know that the news will come when I least expect it.

The lack of news and my impatience over it makes me wonder, how in the name of heck did I ever decide to become a writer? In an odd sort of way, writing does require a decent level of patience. I have to sit down and type out the words. Then I have to put them out there. And then I have to write some more.

I’ve been reading a lot of Dean Wesley Smith’s blog and his series on Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing. It is really interesting. I don’t know if I agree with it all, but I definitely find it informative. I like that he makes me think.

One of the things that he talks about is Heinlein’s rules for writing:

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

Now I’m not sure that I entirely agree with this set of rules. However, it seems solid enough and a good place to start. For me, in my process, “editorial order” is my brother. He is my first reader and helps me to see my writing through a reader’s eyes. I don’t take that one literally.  At the same time, I think it is good advice not to polish for so long that nothing is ever done.

Further, I can see my own pitfalls in this list. Right now I am getting back on the writing bandwagon. And I know I can finish. However, I am stuck on numbers four and five. I’m not going to lie, I’m scared. There is a pit in my stomach when I think about moving forward.

I know that I can’t stay in stasis forever, but there seems to be a precipice in my mind when it comes to making the jump to get published. Part of it is my personal impatience. No matter what route I take – indie or traditional – I will have to wait for a response. There is that tinge of impatience again…instant gratification would be wonderful. Or possibly horrible.

And oddly enough, I am terrified of failure, but success frightens me even more. Tonight is making me think about the enigma of writing. Why should anybody care about what I have to say? Who says anybody does?

So far as I know, no one does. And yet, I cannot stop writing. The stories come and I write them down. I finish one and write another. Perhaps I could be an Emily Dickinson, but what fun would that be? I will get there eventually. I just need to give myself permission to jump off that metaphorical cliff. Who knows? It might be fun.

©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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Being thankful

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say “thank you?”  ~William A. Ward

I will admit that I am sometimes bad at gratitude; such as I am bad at being optimistic. These are things that I have to work hard to remind myself and my brain about. I am prone to anxiety and catastrophizing if I don’t work hard to remember the good things in life. And if I don’t remind myself that everything is going to be ok.

But I am thankful because I am lucky to have many wonderful people in my life. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving (despite some of the horrible history behind it) here are some things I am thankful for in no particular order:

  • My family
  • My brother
  • My significant other (boyfriend, whatever word you wanna use).
  • My friends
  • Books
  • Learning
  • Words & writing

What are you thankful for today? How do you show your gratitude? Happy Thanksgiving.

©K. Klein 2012

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What is in a name?

Nicknames stick to people, and the most ridiculous are the most adhesive.  ~Thomas C. Haliburton

Usually when I am writing a novel I am quite fussy about my names. I either want a specific sound. Or I am aiming for a meaning or association with something such as the sun or moon or any number of other objects. Sometimes, although not usually, I will have a character arrive in my mind and introduce themselves fully named. I once had a character arrive and say hello my name is Will – you’re going to need me. It unnerved me because I had written two-thirds of the first draft of novel-1 when he did this.

It is interesting to see what names of character evoke. For example, let’s take the characters from my description from Wednesday – Miss Andrews, her sister (Mrs. Saunders), and Mr. Saunders. From the way they are addressed they’re probably not from the modern times. For the most part we don’t go around addressing people by Mr. Smith and Miss Johnson anymore. It seems to stiff and formal for our modern form of communication. We usually address people by their first names such as Jane or John.

There is also the question of what are their first names and how does that affect their characters? And do we get a picture of where our characters are from by the names we give them? Right now, without giving my description’s cast any first names they seem vaguely British. Perhaps they hark from the last nineteenth or early twentieth century. Their parlor had a fireplace, but no television or radio. We don’t know what other technology they have access too.

Does the perception of the reader change when we give our characters first names? When it is revealed that Miss Andrews’ first name is Eleanor or that her sister is Prudence and her brother-in-law is Charles. The first women’s names seem a bit on the old-fashioned side. Charles is pretty common overall. These names evoke pictures of what sorts of people who these characters are or might be.

Names are powerful. They can help to provide dimension to the world of the story I am trying to bring alive.  Some of my favorite fictional names include Fitzwilliam Darcy, Albus Dumbledore, and Gandalf the Grey. Each provides a different picture of whom that man is. I love how names can help to paint the picture of our world. What are some of your favorite character names?

©K. Klein 2012

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Bits n pieces of faith

faith (noun)

1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.

2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.

5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

Definition from dictionary.com

I desperately want to be an optimist at heart, but due to life events and general disposition I am not. Being prone to anxiety and catastrophizing doesn’t help. Seriously, I’m not dramatic or anything. Despite this general tendency to see the whole world collapsing around me I try to take a deep breath and let go. Because really, the world is not falling apart around me and nine times out of ten even if things don’t go the way I want them to it will turn out ok.

My mantra in life is: everything will be ok.

If I say it often enough I sometimes believe it too. For good measure, everything will be ok.

This takes a certain amount of faith, which is something I struggle with immensely. Faith takes an amount of confidence that I often lack. It also takes believing in something or someone. I find this incredibly hard.

I grew up in a Catholic household. And as a kid, I believed in God. As an adult, I am agnostic. I don’t definitely believe in God. However, I don’t believe there is definitive proof against God, either. It is an odd philosophical stance to straddle. Sometimes I wish I could grasp on to the faith that came so easily to me in childhood.

At times I can grasp shards of that faith I once held, but I find it like pieces of a shattered mirror. I can’t really hold the whole together anymore because the edges are too jagged. I find this frustrating because if I could hold the whole then I could see the picture with more clarity.

I might be able to see myself with more clarity. Part of the faith that I lost is the faith in me. I have never been a paragon of self-confidence. However, there fact is that the rough times in my life battered what faith in myself I do have.

Every day I wake up and have to face down those self-doubts. Will I finish my novel? Once finished, will people enjoy reading my novel? Those are the most common questions I find myself asking when I feel the self-doubt creeping up my spine.

These are the times when I try to have faith in myself. When faith is difficult to come by I try to cope through taking a deep breath, writing about the feelings, and doing yoga. How do you cope when you are questioning your faith? Do you pray or meditate? Do you write about it? Or do you have a completely different coping mechanism?

©K. Klein 2012

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