Friday, April 27, 2012

Never, Ever, Underestimate JOY

GOOD MORNING! It's a lovely day. Look, I'm learning how to digitally paint!
Completely original digital water color/acrylic paint painting
 I made this morning. I am LOVING my Wacom Bamboo
Create Pen and Tablet.

Show of hands, how many think that creativity comes from misery? That whole, we must suffer for our art?

I don't agree. You see, I've had seasons of abject misery in my life. Days where I struggled to find the will to eat. To get up an face the day. There was nothing creative or artsy about it. Now, I don't share that to contradict anyone who feels their outlet from their misery is their art. This is a very personal issue. I'm sharing  this because someone who is like me might find relief that they don't have to be miserable to create.

Joy is infectious. When I am happy, my children are happy. My husband is happy. My days are exciting adventures, not chores to get through.

I've been rather stuck as of late, coming to grips with my roles as a wife, mother, and author. Call it a muse if you want, but I've been stilted in my writing. I lost my desire to write stories.

But I've got it back.


A conversation with my husband where I confessed I had three unfinished outlines, bits of chapters for three stories made the difference. Oh I whined....

"Ugh, too much of me just feels like I wrote Cancelled to just see if I could. I did it. I succeeded. And the book is making money! I'm partly bored with it, and just don't feel like writing ANYTHING."

He took a sip of his coffee.

"You know what your problem is? Time management."

I scowled. Great, he was going to tell me again how I needed to schedule time to write and blah, blah, blah, which by the way, I totally tried.

"You're too caught up in making this a business that it's not your hobby anymore. You set aside time to write, but because you set aside the time, it feels like a chore."

Damn. He got it. Turns out he HAD noticed for a few months now, I wasn't coming to him and laughing about a scene I just wrote. I was only coming to him to tell him how many sales I made, where I was being interviewed, etc.

Today is my last day in Amazon's KDP Select. I feel bad because I am thankful for the opportunity, but now, I really want to make sure my book is back to being available everywhere.

And last night? Last night I read Chapter 2 of STONE and loved it. I wanted to read more! (Unfortunately, it seems like Chapter 1 is being cut, once again. I always start my stories too early it seems, but at least I can  identify it, right?). And the focus is changing. Yes, Melanie Stone is STILL going to kick a total creep out of her life, but the organic story of a mother and daughter trying to repair their relationship is more important to the overall tone of the piece than I was giving it credit for:

Ergo, with much adieu, I finally have my one-sentence synopsis that's getting plastered on my wall over my laptop today:

Never up to Mom's expectations, a clothing designer kicks "Mr. Right" to the curb.

Talk about a loaded sentence! It only took me a page and a half to get it just right. As a reader, I'm thinking, wait, why isn't the main character living up to her mother's expectations, and why is Mr. Right really Mr. Wrong? That's good. That means I have a story question: How can a single-mother clothing designer make amends with her mother and get rid of a guy who won't take "No," for an answer?

Up next? The Paragraph and story arcs for the three main characters. 

A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble 

WIP: STONE. Can Melanie Stone let her mother back into her life and kick out the creep trying to worm his way in? March 2012.


  1. I know when I'm miserable I can't do anything. Except for when that misery might be caused by something specific(like when my FIL died and I used poetry as a way to deal with my grief). But, otherwise, I don't feel like doing anything.

    Creating is like a cycle for me. I love writing. And when I'm writing I'm happy. And since I'm happy, I love writing(except for when the words don't want to come). And when I'm not writing, I'm not happy. And everyone else is affected by that as well. So, I try to keep myself happy(and everyone else as a result).

    1. Hi Fallon! :)

      Yes, misery is not a motivator for me. I'm finding that writing that second novel is harder than the first. You lose a bunch of that excitement/naivete because now you KNOW how much work is indeed ahead of you. Add onto that pressure to be better than your last work, and yeah, I was halted.

      We'll see where I am again in a few weeks. I HOPE to be able to report some serious word count carnage.

  2. I went through feeling that way a couple months ago. It is true, writing had become a chore and I was pressuring myself to do things like plot, which just doesn't work. I stopped plotting, started writing and it's back.

    1. Ah and see I'm opposite. I wasn't thoroughly plotting and trying to pants it, and that did not work for me. I'm back on the Snowflake method! :) With my non-fiction background, I'm an outline JUNKIE!

  3. I love that you are looking at a different way to express your creativity (with the painting) and identifying what's been holding you back from finding the joy in your writing. I know that often when I'm going to an extreme on one aspect of this whole journey and that balance is out of whack, I find myself being unhappy about lots of things (real or imagined). Your painting made me smile and reminded me of my own spurts with doing trying my hand at visual art. Thank you for sharing!

    1. We are on spending lock down until we close on our new house, June 1. :) I am really enjoying painting and no mess! :) I think though, I will rename my sunrise painting "The Grassy Butt" :)

  4. I do agree that you don't have to be miserable to write, but you don't always have to be ecstatic either. I find I write best when my self-loathing reaches its highest peak of any given time, and since that loathing usually comes from NOT writing, it totally works out in my favor. Just takes some nasty days and weeks to get to that spot, and I am getting close to being there now. Yay! (Yay?)

    1. I find I am motivated to write by reading crappy books. I know, that sounds AWFUL. But even Cancelled came out of a question of "Why doesn't anyone ever write the guy's POV?"

      But guilt about not writing just makes me want to write less. But that's a personal thing. Thank you for sharing that, though. I bet it helps many, many others that feel motivated when they're angry with themselves.

  5. For me, writing when I'm miserable/angry is like writing a letter when I'm in a foul mood. It might be full of passion but the quality is terrible and it comes off very harsh. Fortunately, writing will often get me out of a miserable mood, especially if it's a positive story.

    Congrats with getting STONE back on track :D I've had the same problem with a short story anthology of mine. Once I start thinking of writing as a chore, it's game over. I'm starting to get back on top of it, but it's one of those things I've got to take step by step.