Fresh Starts – WFMAD Day 20

 

That adorable baby in the photo is our first grandchild, born yesterday afternoon. Welcome to the world, Logan!!

It’s a good thing I got in about five hours of writing yesterday morning, because from the time we left for the hospital, my head has been a total muddle.

What do you do about your writing when life throws you a curveball? The entrance of a grandchild is a glorious, positive thing, but it does distract a bit from my intensity and focus on my novel. Getting bad news; a car accident, illness, death of a loved one, are even more distracting. If you are taken away from your project, it often feels impossible to find your way back into it.

First things first – give the people you love the time and attention they deserve. If you are caring for a sick child, or a terminally ill parent, that’s where your energy and heart goes. If it’s a joyful distraction, like a new baby, same thing, though in my experience, it’s easier to stay connected to creative work during the happy times than the sad.

That being said, try to keep a window into your creative soul open. You might hear lines of poetry in your head. Drawing might soothe you. If you have enough concentration, look at a small piece of your work-in-progress. Just a chapter, or maybe a scene. Polish it; add some detail, trim the dialog, make sure your transitions are solid. The key is to stay connected with your work in a small and consistent manner.

 

Today’s Quote

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.”

Neil Gaiman

 

Today’s prompt: Look at the photo of a newborn (say, for example, that incredibly handsome and intelligent fellow above) and write a list of possibilities for his life. Instead of the “what ifs” you’re writing “what could bes.”

Then take a baby photo of someone you know well, someone whose life story you are familiar with. Pick one or two of the possibilities you already listed, and freewrite about how that possibility did or did not develop for the person you know. Don’t feel compelled to stick to the facts at hand; if your imagination takes off and invents a fictional character, run with it.

 

  Scribble… scribble… scribble…

15 Replies to “Fresh Starts – WFMAD Day 20”

  1. A virtual hug to you. I’m sure you don’t remember, but you gave me a real hug on the day my (second) granddaughter was born–we were at ALA in Anaheim (2008), and I had just found out about it as I walked into some reception or another. Grand parenting is the best!

  2. Aaaaaaa! I have one of those little guys, only mine is two weeks old! Thanks for the words about trying to keep a little window open, because I haven’t gotten any writing done (actually, the whole pregnancy was bad for writing) and this perceived failing on my part has been driving me nuts.

    Your grandbaby is a dandy. Have fun with the little guy!

  3. Congratulations.

    I think that’s been a huge issue for me. The last 5 years of my life I’ve been caught in a downward spiral of depression/anxiety. I’m in my 30’s now and am mourning the time lost, and the worrying over still trying to “cope” somehow each day (I’ve chosen to go the anti-medication route, whether thats right or wrong, it’s what I’ve done). So now I’m in my 30’s and only just coming to writing again. And I’m like a kindergartener for it.

    I think the thing that worries me most is the day job which is 8-10 hours per day. I understand (relating to your last post) that writing isn’t a money-thing. I understand that and I don’t expect that or even dream of that. I just want to be at home and write. And obviously that can’t happen. To make a situation less pleasant is the fact that I hate my profession, but I’m kind of in the “no way out” zone because of debt and financial realism and practiciality. I can’t make foolish actions (I already have trust me: a ridiculously huge amount of student loan debt, plus I’ve been out of work for over 3 years due to medical conditions and have basically lost all my money and everything).

    I miss the days when I woke up buzzing with stories and characters and dreaming up scenes all day. Now the “real life” is seemingly pulling me down and I find myself either exhausted or staring at the screen/words and reading the same line over and over. Unable to focus or unable to imagine or dream.

    I know I have to just be patient. That’s life, that’s the way it’s going to be. It can’t be the way that I want it to be. I just hope, hope , hope that I can somehow make some magic on the page again and actually REALIZE my dreams to be published and see my books on shelves and have kids read the tales. It worries me a lot that I won’t realize these dreams because I’m “cheating” myself. That seems like an excuse I guess, but its just mentally and physically exhausting to be in a profession that takes up more than half your day that you really can’t stand. I feel like the funny and magical scenes that I used to dream up during the day now just won’t come back into my head. And instead I end up eating in the eveening, trying to take some “chill out ” time and then end up too “gone” to do anything, much less figure out things.

    Ah!! I’m sorry, this I know sounds like all excuses. And I feel it must be. I just need to somehow try harder and try not to be perfect, but just be PATIENT and realize things might take a lot longer and be a lot harder, but at least I can try to do little things each day and see what happens.

    Okay. Breathe again. I think I needed to get this off my chest. I’m wound up 🙂

    And sorry if I got off topic!! Truly. I think I just re-read your last post and your recent post (all regarding the money, MFA, etc ) and it got me thinking.
    Oh, and that’s another thing: I have zero writing education. Nothing. I’m trying to simultaneously write and learn a bit along the way. So much to know and learn. I need to just do little things I guess. I just want so badly to realize my dreams sooner vs. later and I think the reality of things is hard to bear. Still will do what I can do though.

    I have to confess though that I do have some envy and jealousy of those who work from home or who have flexible schedules or who love their jobs or who write full-time at home (eek! the ultimate!). I know that is so petty. My attitude will change with time, I just need to need to step away from the comparison stage or I’ll let it run me down!!

    1. Hey Jade — I know where you’re coming from, since I’m currently stuck in a dry spell which I think is mostly hormonal (I just had a baby 3 weeks ago) but your situation really is a tough one and the depression is a serious issue and one I have had to deal with myself. It is insane that a small imbalance in the brain’s chemistry can throw you so off-kilter, but unfortunately it happens and it sucks.

      Right now (and I’m giving myself advice here too) we just need to focus on making small steps. One of the faculty at Hamline suggested writing just 500 words a day. Keep it small so you don’t scare yourself away from the keyboard. Write in the cracks of time. I have a full-time job as well as baby! and a daughter, so it’s tough to find time … so you swipe a little time here and there. It’s what most writers have to do.

      Now the “writing when I’m depressed” thing is what’s really giving me fits right now, and I am still working that out because good gravy, I really need to get back on the wagon again.

      (More later because lunch break is over!)

    2. I think the big thing is not to kick yourself for not writing. You don’t need a degree to write if you read widely and learn from the reading and find ways to practice — even on your lunch hour or during breaks (if you get ’em). And though inspiration is dandy stuff, sometimes you have to slog through your writing without it. (I also miss those heady younger days when I would write like a crazy fiend.) But it’s okay. It comes back eventually.

      If you want to heckle me over at my blog, feel free. I’d sure like to give you a hand, because sometimes unsolicited advice is just silly talk, and hard times are no fun. I hope you see these comments!

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