Thursday, August 18, 2011

Slumpa-diddly-umptious

I am in a slump. A funk. A slumpy funk? Funky slump?

I know we all hit them. Okay, maybe there are some out there who are just so supremely confident that it never happens. For the rest of us, well, slumps-r-us. What matters, I suppose, is how we pull ourselves out of it. Therefore, instead of continuing to whine about how discouraged and disheartened I'm currently feeling, I'm going to talk about how I'm going to fix it.

My son started school yesterday, which means it's time to get back into a week-day routine. I've given myself the rest of the week "off," but intend to start my new routine on Monday.

Now that company is gone, it's time for me to jump into Project 52. I'd like to scratch at least one thing off per week (which is rather the point, anyway). That also begins next week. I can scratch off number 45, though, as I went to a new area of Garden of the Gods AND took photos. Woo-hoo, me! I want to go back with the kids to explore further and get some better pics, though. Since I updated that, I get to post this:


Woot-woot! Look! I accomplished something!

It being the end of summer (sort of--I figure when my son starts school, summer is done, for all intents and purposes), I can return to my original WIP. I want to make a lot of changes to it now that I've had the summer to stew over it. Perhaps getting those changes off my mind and onto the page will help with the slump and rejuvenate my writing.

Now that I've pretty much caught up with my backlog from the week my company was here, I can start visiting more blogs again. Hearing success stories, as well as other people talking about being on a low and how they plan to change that, might help me out a bit. I know I've seen a couple the last few days, just from the visiting I've done to bloggers who posted comments on my blog last week and this week. I'm hoping that brings a positive light back to things.

I'm going to get some things organized and jump back into this writing thing. I think I would feel a little more in control if the organizational things I've been telling myself need to be done GET done. They will also aid with many of my other goals.

Finally, I'm going to face the fact that I'm never going to hear from the editor I submitted to in May. Not only that, but I officially sucked too much to be a finalist in the Colorado Gold. However, I do recognize a couple names from the finalists' list, and I'm happy for everyone on there. I noticed a couple people made it as finalists in a couple categories, so they must be spectacular writers. Good for them! There's always next year. In the meantime, that's the WIP I'm about to gut the hell out of. And, yes, I realize that is only two strikes against it, really, but I feel like it needs the change. Maybe I should put it off until I'm not depressed about these two things, though. Ha, you think?

I do also understand that I'm really just getting into this, which makes me a noob. I can't expect to be good straight out of the gate. Yeah, I've been writing since I was a kid, but what does that really count for? I haven't been writing as an adult in years and years. I would go so far as to say I took nearly a decade off from writing except for itty bitty things here and there. I need to practice, practice, practice by writing. I need to read what those in the know have to say. To kick this off, I plan on reading Stephen King's On Writing for the first time in a decade, possibly more (12 years-ish, probably).

Those are some of my plans to beat this slump to death. Once I've killed it and buried it in one of the myriad of places around here perfect for the disposal of bodies, I will be able to move on. That's the plan, anyway. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Tell me some positive things! Have you recently gotten over a slump? How long did it last? How'd you pull yourself through? Had any big confidence-shakers lately? Want to commiserate? What have you accomplished lately? Even the tiniest thing counts!

May you find your Muse.

22 comments:

  1. Good luck! You will do fantastically! Getting through slumps can be tough--if I'm so worn out and discouraged, I either go to my friends/family for some pep talks/encouragement, or if I'm just drained because I've been working so much, I pause to read, or watch a movie/tv show, or play a video game for a little while. All those things have the potential to clear my head and kickstart my imagination again.

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  2. I had a slump when the agent I wanted told me to fix a few things on my manuscript and I had no clue how. But that was a year ago. I took a little time away from the manuscript and did some research on how to do what she suggested before getting back to it. After I fixed it, I submitted it to a writing contest called the Frasier Contest. They had my first 3 ch.'s and although I made it past the first round of judging, I didn't final. The judges wrote notes about what they though was wrong with my opening and it needed big changes. Funny, because right around that time the agent who rejected me earlier had just finished reading my updated partial and thought it was great, requested the full. So don't always take not winning a writing contest too personally. :)

    And what have I accomplished? Well, I finished writing the climax of my WIP and have only one chapter left before the manuscript's rough draft is complete. :)

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  3. I have done the positive thing of startong my second poetry book.

    I have got over the fact my son don't want me in his life, it took
    four months to accept but I have accepted it knowing I did no wrong to cause this .

    Loved your happy attitude.
    Yvonne.

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  4. Hey Shannon,

    I too am in a slump, so I feel your pain. But you go too far. You do not SUCK too much to win the Colorado Gold. I love your writing. So get to it!

    As far as two strikes against WIP, that's nothing. Contests are hard. There's so many judges with some many subjective opinions. In fact, fairytale got scored low at Colorado Gold, and won at PPW contest. Contests are not a great measure of your writing. I am! And I say you make me laugh, so :P to them.

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  5. Try this: Quit! Promise yourself that you are giving up...and just see how long that lasts :). If you're like me...the next day you'll be writing dialogue and creating new characters in your mind. You won't be able to help yourself. You're a writer Celebrate it!

    My "go to" resource for inspiration and encouragement is "The Writer's Way" by Julia Cameron. She dispenses with many of the self-imposed obstacles we create for ourselves.

    Hot fudge sundaes work, too.

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  6. Laura, thanks for the tips and encouragement! Today I read all day, and it was loooovely.

    Rachel, congratulations on your progress! Good point on the contest. Everybody has a different opinion on what they read.

    Yvonne, that's a very positive thing (the book)! I'm sorry about your son, though. That definitely puts a writing slump into perspective.

    Julie, thanks! I actually should have a few things for you soon. Smart people at PPW...I shall now dub thee my better-than-a-contest-writing-expert.

    Jan, I did, in fact, imbibe in some lovely freshly made black raspberry ice cream that was divine! Also, so true! Once I got all slumpy and felt like giving up, my mind started being flooded. I'm still taking a break until Monday, though.

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  7. Oh yes, and thank you for the Julia Cameron rec!

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  8. "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can....AND I KNOW I CAN!"

    ...that helps, sometimes. :)

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  9. I get slumps. They're a pain, especially because I've found the best way for me to get out of them is to take a break for a day or two and just leave the writing alone. I feel unsettled if I'm not writing or thinking about writing, so in a way taking any kind of break makes me feel a bit like I'm punishing myself for being in a slump.

    But I carry on. I remind myself that my characters will still be waiting for me when I'm ready to go back. Writing and publishing a book is such a long process that taking a few days or weeks to get through a rough patch is fine.

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  10. You're right when you say that we all go through slumps but don't get into a slump because of a rejection (or hearing nothing). Everyone gets rejections and you need to have the name of the next publisher to send it to before you've even sent it out. Plan that and you won't be so disappointed when it comes back. That's what I do. A writer friend of mine recently had a ms accepted that has been to 15 previous publishers so never give up on any of it.

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  11. Yea for you! I love the one-project-a-week idea. Love it! While I don't seem to have any writing projects that can be accomplished in a week, I do have some ratty closets and other household chores that I could easily do in a week if I made a list. Great idea! Thank you :)

    Happy Weekend!

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  12. I'm sending good vibes your way..don't give up, you do NOT suck, and just keep plugging away:)

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  13. Hmm... What to say, what to say...

    I'm not sure what you mean by a slump. Is it discouragement or do you not feel like writing?

    My general attitude when dealing with discouragement is, well, generally, "screw 'em, because they don't know anything, anyway." I've found that generall to be the case most of the time. Of course, I have an issue with a slight superiority complex, so that probably helps.

    If it's not feeling like writing... well, there are lots of things you can do. My way is generally just to write anyway. Sit down and do the job. Because, if it's a job, you don't have the choice of just doing it when you feel like it. If you don't go to work too often, eventually, you don't have a job anymore. Writing's kind of the same.

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  14. You're not the only one feeling it. That's for certain. :) We must just keep at it and encourage each other. There are many bumps, but someday we'll look back & not remember them so well. So, I hope. We certainly won't get there if we stop.

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  15. Mymy, I'm betting the last will help the most.

    Paul, thanks. Yes, I already feel a difference from just having told myself I could take a break (and taking it!).

    Rosalind, great advice, thank you!

    Carol, hope it helps you get those things done! I have one closet in particular I need to tackle.

    Mark, thank you, I will!

    Andrew, it's discouragement, but I am feeling much better since getting it off my chest. I'm having a hard time holding myself back from jumping back in, but told myself I would take a break until Monday, and I'm going to, darn it!

    M Pax, definitely true about not getting there if we stop.

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  16. I'm glad you're feeling better. :)
    Discouragement can be a hrd thing to deal with because, even though you "know" something, it doesn't really help. We all want to be liked and even saying "screw 'em" doesn't help the feeling of being rejected.

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  17. I was in a slump a few days ago, too. Coming out of it is difficult, but I've managed. Hang in there.

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  18. Anyone who says they don't get into slumps is lying. The only thing you can do about those is live in the solution rather than stay in the problem, which it sounds like you're doing so right on.
    +followed

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  19. Andrew, no it doesn't. It's always easier to say until that discouraged moment.

    RaShelle, I'm glad you've come out of yours. Thank you.

    Elliot, I like what you said about living in the solution.

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  20. I just got over a slump where all I had to do was tie in five small things into my WIP and the book would be done. Took me three days-purely no motivation. I kicked myself in the bum.

    As for my accomplishments, well that WIP is finished (Yay!!) and the synopsis has been written. And I signed a contract for my novella.

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  21. Your plans are good for getting out of the slum. I wish you all the best and may the writing juices flow again. I regularly hit a slump, I think it's a writerly thing ;) I have to take a break and then think positive thoughts and remember again why I love to write.

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  22. Donna, great news! I'm glad you go through your slump and finished up. Congrats on the contract!

    Lynda, yes, I needed to remember what it was I enjoyed about this. Too much focusing on the non-writing parts, I guess.

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