Decorating in Discontent

Confidence-1I hate when that happens and I’m usually pretty good at not going there. But the last couple of days I did just that. It’s time to come back from the dark side. Because it does lead to darkness. You start to question your commitment. Worse your abilities, and it’s all downhill from there. Before you know it you’re wallowing. It’s lowering to admit. I don’t want to be the person who gives into jealousy and it’s poisonous head games. That’s when I knew I had to nip this shit in the bud.

First order of business. Figure out what’s making me crazy. I’m in the midst of a writing challenge. Not NaNo but within my own small writing group. My goal is to write a 1000 words a day. By no means an impossible task. I’m two-thirds of the way through. Writing first drafts always make me in turns euphoric and cranky. Add to that, I’m impatient to get to the revising/rewriting part of the process. I love revising. But writing the last third of a story, tying up all those lovely threads, pushing towards the end, makes me double crazy. And doubtful I’ll find a resolution that doesn’t completely suck. Cue my lurking insecurities.

So what do I do? I go to Goodreads. I visited the other day and was checking out new-to-me authors and looking for something to read. Because that’s what you do when you’re doing your level best to avoid your own writing. Found a couple of books I thought looked promising with 20,000 ratings and 2,000+ reviews each. When I checked further I found neither one of the stories were for me. <delete> There I saved you from my rant on selfish, abusive heroes.

That’s when jealousy moved in, signed a lease, and decorated in discontent.

I hate when that happens.Β It makes me feel small and petty. Not to mention unproductive. And unhappy. That’s when I have to start asking questions. Like what’s really wrong? Because it’s not poor Goodreads fault. And people like the books they like, end of story. They don’t need any more reasons than that to talk about the ones they loved reading. We’re as unique as the stories we prefer.


So, lesson learned? Writing first drafts stress me out. What should I do to avoid more stress? Perhaps this is the month to reread a book. One of my favorites and an old friend. One I know will not only soothe my battered brain but inspire me. And I’ll try to remember I’m not trying to find a cure for cancer and stop taking myself so seriously. Sheesh. I’ll take a walk. Get some fresh air. I’ll choose to be positive and productive.

Three of my favorite writers are Tara Janzen, Suzanne Brockmann, and Nora Roberts. How about you? Do you reread books? Think of them as old friends? What do you do to keep from stressing out?

4 thoughts on “Decorating in Discontent

  1. Hi Karyn,
    I know exactly what you’re going through. I’m in the dreaded middle of my first draft, otherwise known as the “this is all crap” stage. It’s something of a slog right now, but I’m trying to push ahead, keeping Nora Roberts’ advice in mind: I can fix crap, but I can’t fix a blank page.

    When I’m in the pit of writer despair that you are currently experiencing, I try to avoid reading other people’s work, because I’ll inevitably compare their work to mine and I usually come out the loser. I figure, why torture myself? I manage to criticize myself enough on my own without adding fuel to the fire. So I wait for a bit to read or reread a favorite book. My suggestion to you when you’re feeling this way is to concentrate on your accomplishments: reread positive reviews of your work, your acceptance letter from your publisher, positive emails from your editor, things like that. You need to change the channel, to concentrate on the positive rather than the negative. Remember why you got into this business in the first – for the money! Ha, Ha! If you are like me, it was to tell the stories you felt compelled to tell. Keep your chin up, Karyn!

    • Thanks for the pep talk, Jana. I needed it and it helped. I love the bit about changing the channel. That really resonated. I’ll pick up the old familiars and enjoy them because I have to read something. I’ll concentrate on the book club pick and settle in with it. And yes, I’ll remember why it is that I want to tell the stories I tell! And who knows, maybe I take a break and make a pie! wink wink

  2. YES! Wow, I can totally relate to this post, Karyn! And you put it so well (obviously because YOU’RE A WRITER). Best wishes getting through the discontent and finishing up that novel – I look forward to seeing it soon πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Janet. I’ll try to remember that bit about being a writer πŸ™‚ I met my goal yesterday and that made me feel better. I’m starting to feel it come together. Yay!

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