Monday, May 2, 2011

The Scary Sound of Silence

At the beginning of April, we Pirates (Sin in the lead) kicked off Awrapaho (or whatever tribe you want to call it) and I was totally gung ho. I vowed to write  no less than 25 pages a week and what did I write? Ten. Maybe. For the ENTIRE month. I’m pretty sure I stopped in the middle of a sentence somewhere around the middle of the month and never went back.


During the month or two leading up to April, these characters were constantly yapping at me. Telling me their life stories and what they wanted and what they believed. They threw whole scenes my way full of angst and laughter, sexy banter and a few tears. But now, they’ve gone silent.

*double sigh*

I’m not quite sure why they’ve shut up. Far as I know, I didn’t tick them off. I mean, I’m only ten pages in, how far could I have deviated from the story they were practically throwing at me? My guess is the usual – it’s not them, it’s me.

Imagine your memory as a long hallway with countless doors running down both sides. Closed doors. There are some doors along that corridor you gladly throw open and dance through, swimming in the sunshine and joy of the experience. That tenth birthday when you got the bike you were sure you’d never get. The day you graduated college and knew the whole world lay at your fingertips, offering everything you ever wanted. The bright Wednesday morning when your first child came into the world.

But then there are doors you don’t want to open again. Doors you want to deadbolt and nail shut, maybe even brick up to keep them locked forever. Well, for some odd reason, these are the doors that seem to be opening for me lately. And the noise and shit that fills the small space of my memory hallway is drowning out the characters voices that were so exciting just a month ago.

I’m not looking for sympathy nor am I racing off to therapy. (I wouldn’t even know how to do that.) I’m writing this to possibly exorcise these annoying gremlins in my head and make way for the characters to start talking again. No idea if it will work but at this point, I’ll try anything.

I had a three day weekend and slept three to four hours all three afternoons. After sleeping well through the night. I’m also having dreams with famous people in them. Not the same dreams and not the same famous people, but everyone from Colin Firth to Billy Crystal to Oprah have made appearances. WTH is up with that??

Today, we’re going New Age. I won’t promise to try everything, but I’m open to all suggestions. What do you do to find focus and balance? How do you make yourself move when your body is telling you to curl up and shut down? Ever have your characters run off on vacation without you and if so, how the heck did you get them to come back?!

PS: I have an early morning doc appointment so I'll be late but feel free to get your Zen on until I get back.


2nd Chance said...

Well, it isn't New Agey...but I write a blog. Just like you're doing. And if that doesn't work, I write another blog...generally not about what is bothering me oddly enough!

Before I was a writer (oh, doesn't that sound sweet!) and these things would happen, I'd write letters. Or I'd dive into my garden, or some other craft I was dickering with. Things like jewelry, perch hats, buttons...

From working in the metaphysical bookstore well...I'd sing, I'd put together rituals, I'd do spellwork...breath deep, meditate and address prayers to the goddess... Whatever works! And sometimes it did!

Nice vivid way to address the issue, btw. The doors, through which the past lingers... You're writing, just isn't the book you were hoping for there.

Donna said...

Terri, I love the doorway metaphor. It seems like the things we want to ignore and lock away find a way back to the surface, so then we have to find a way to deal with them, even though we don't want to. Even a simple acknowledgment of their presence helps, so they can go back to where you put them originally. If your body is trying to shut down, it usually means you've pushed it more than it can handle, and now it's calling timeout, whether or not it's convenient for you. :)

As for the not writing. . .maybe it's a signal that that particular process doesn't work for you, or your characters. That's actually how I found out I'm a pantser, by trying--and constantly failing--at trying to be a plotter.

I find that working on something else completely different often helps motivate the uncooperative characters. That's when they realize, "Hey, nobody's paying attention to me. How can I be a diva now?" :)

Hellion said...

The door metaphor is wicked, mate. Sorry you've let the gremlins pick the locks and out of the asylums.

By the way, did Oprah promote your new book into a bestseller? Because that would be an AWESOME dream!

Well, I'm not sure if you've gotten your new RWR in the mail yet, but it addresses a lot of these things. There are several articles about not self-sabotaging yourself (which I plan to read about 50 billion times!) and even an article about meditating, which I've thought more and more about doing because I think it would help with my anger and stress and fear.

And the writer of the article didn't say you had to go to a special place or be in a special position, you could sit on your couch, close your eyes, and just breathe. Of course, the key with this would be your TV has to be off. It must be silent--or as silent as you can make it with two cats and a tween--and you practice not thinking for about 10 minutes. Of course, she said, you'll do horribly at it but you're to keep trying anyway and do it every day for just a little bit, 10 minutes, and it is supposed to make your writing more focused (and pretty much anything more focused.)

Bosun said...

I'm here! Me and my new diagnosis of Carpel Tunnel. LOL! Must buy a brace on the way home tonight.

Chance - I'd try just about all of that right now. I've never ventured into really creative territory. Except that time I tried cross-stitching. Nearly went blind! I used to journal A LOT so maybe I should try that again. Wonder how hard it'll be to write with a brace on?

Bosun said...

Donna - Some of this stuff I'd totally forgotten about. For a REASON. LOL! And they're creeping up when I'm not paying attention so I'm not expecting them. I'm blaming The Judds. All that therapy every Sunday night is apparently not good for me.

And you're right, could totally be that I'm trying to force a process that isn't working. I'm willing to change things up to make it work. And I did write a WW story to focus on something else, but the heroine came across as extremely hateful. I'm working on making her gentler so the story might have a chance.

Bosun said...

Hellie - I'm pretty sure Oprah wasn't pushing my book. That's the thing, I don't remember the details, just that they were IN the dreams. Well, Colin kissed me on the cheek and I think I was washing a car with Billy Crystal. HOW are you supposed to analyze stuff that weird??

I have not received my RWR mag yet this month. I get mine late for some reason. Maybe it'll be in the mailbox when I get home today. I shall read the articles right away. I could try the meditating. I've been considering that a lot lately.

Scapegoat said...

The doorway metaphor is awesome.

This is going to sound boring but I find that ROUTINE is what keeps me focused on writing. Sitting down in the same spot at the same times with my "stuff" around me (post its, pens, plot charts, etc) just flips a switch and makes me write. It's like "Activate" and I'm off.

I also have to find time to workout everyday. That's when I let all the crap runnign through my mind take over and I expel it out through sweat or yoga. Talk about "exercising" your demons! :)

Scapegoat said...

I love that Billy Crystal was in your dream & you are asking how to analyze it.

Analyze This!

Okay - I'm in a wierd humor this morning.

Bosun said...

Scape, I didn't even catch that. LOL! Billy could probably help me out!

I know I need to exercise, even if it's just a walk, but the exhaustion is winning. And I've always been tired, but this is more than that. I've NEVER slept this much. It's all I can do to get up and make something for dinner when I get home.

I did up my vitamins last night and I'll keep that up for a while to see if it helps. This crap definitely needs an outlet.

Marnee said...

What do I do? I clean. I organize. When my head is out of order or feeling disruptive, I clean. Dishes, closets, the garage. Whatever. It helps me settle.

And when all else fails, I sit and stare at my file and force myself to write junk. Usually if I break the seal, I can get going. Eventually.

These aren't very original suggestions, are they? Sorry....

Bosun said...

Originality is not required here, Marn. I bet if I did clean, I'd feel better. Get unstuck, so to speak. Not that my house isn't clean, but it's like I hit a certain point when moving in and just stopped. Some shelves never got put up. Some stuff that needs a home never got one.

Maybe if I clear the clutter in the house I can clear the clutter in my brain. Hmmmm.....this is worth exploring.

Janga said...

The doorway metaphor is stellar!

Have you had things like thyroid level, potassium level, etc. checked to be sure there's no physical reason?

I echo the recs for exercise and meditation. Also, if I'm having anger issues, which can make me feel exhausted, I find writing a no-holds-barred letter to the one who has stirred my anger and then burning the letter wonderfully cathartic.

Marnee said...

Maybe if I clear the clutter in the house I can clear the clutter in my brain. Hmmmm…..this is worth exploring.

If nothing else, you'd get one more thing off the "to-do" list. Nothing wrong with that. Can't hurt anything, I always think.

Bosun said...

I love that everyone gets the hallway metaphor, that was the best way I could think to describe this mess.

Janga - I've been angry for a couple weeks, to the point Hellie declared I had an angry uteris. A little less angry this week, but the exhaustion is still here. I had all those tests run back in January and other than a little cholesterol imbalance, I'm all clear. I almost wish it was one of those things because then at least I could medicate it.

Never gone so far as writing and burning a letter, but that does sound cathartic. Supposed to get cold here again tomorrow, maybe I could write something then go outside and burn it in the drizzle (just to be safe as I don't have a fire place.)

Bosun said...

Marn - Last Friday I looked at kiddo and gave her a rundown of cleaning goals for the weekend. Then she spent more than 24hrs at a friend's house and I slept the weekend away. Didn't even put a dent in the to-do list. *sigh*

Well, this weekend is another chance. Or even this week. I actually mowed the lawn last night.

Bosun said...

Quick OT update: Anyone interested in winning some pretty jewelry can go to and comment for a chance at a love necklace/earing set from CC Hunter (aka Christie Craig.)

P. Kirby said...

Moving is never a problem for me, even though, I'm lazy. The dog and horse need exercise; the garden needs tending. The demands of living things keep me well exercised. Walking the dog, in particular, has really kept the pounds off. (Which is good, because I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate all other forms of exercise.)

Sitting my butt down and connecting with my characters has been a real problem. And the culprit is the Internet. I spend so much time wandering from site to site, my mind on anything but my stories, that nothing is getting done.

So, I'm going to have to commit to some serious, no Internet, completely off-line time.

Oh, and I hear ya on the angry thing. I think it's hormones on my end, but lately I'm just spoilin' for a fight. Which also takes away from my creative energy. Again, a long walk with the hound really takes the snippy edge off.

Bosun said...

I've actually considered getting a pooch just for that reason, but I don't want to have to pick up shite throughout the neighborhood. Which is stupid considering how much shite I shovel out of the litter boxes. Though I have to wonder what the cats would do with a dog to harrass (or be harrassed by) all day.

I do my internet surfing during the day job (sshhh...don't tell anyone) so I'm surfed out by the time I get home. Then, it's all about the TV. But I'm getting better at that too. Sometimes.

Ain't hormones fun?

2nd Chance said...

Hmmmm. Anger issues...didn't Billy Crystal deal with that in the western with Jack Palance? And that basketball movie with Debra Winger? And most of the movies he's been in?

I'm going out on a limb here and guess this has something to do with the b-day this year... You really have done a lot with your life...and there is plenty more left...

Find a pedometer and set a goal of so many steps each day...don't get a dog just for the walking of. Or you could see if Bumbles would tolerate a leash... ;-)

BTW - Journaling kept my husband sane during his two years layoff/job from hell crap.

P. Kirby said...

Ain’t hormones fun?

Yeah. Like a barrel of rabid, shit-flinging monkeys.

Bosun said...

Chance - I think I've watched When Harry Met Sally no less than six times in the last couple months. This could have something to do with Billy's appearance. Oh, and that FunnyorDie short that is the WHMS sequal cracked me up.

P. - Exactly!

Bosun said...

Forgot to say I've wanted a dog for a while, but I have NO yard. A small patch of grass in the back and a little more in the front. The shelter where I got Caelen has a teacup chihuahua and though I'm not a major chihuahua fan, that little patch of grass would probably be enough for her. Then again, Bumblebee is likely 7 times her size (if she's 2lbs) so I wonder how that would go over. And don't those little ones tend to piddle everywhere? I can't have that.

2nd Chance said...

Well, the little ones have little bladders so it's good to get them out more often... You could always put in a teeny tiny pet door to the backyard...

Hormones, can't live with 'em, can't use the mental stress defence without them!

Scapegoat said...

Interrupting the convo to say that if you are interested there is an auction that just started today with some awesome items that should go pretty cheap. I actually got a 20 page Critique for only $10 yesterday.

It's all to help a Golden Heart Finalist pay her way to Nationals (and she's a great writer friend who has helped me out a lot too). :)

There are critiques, book trailers, marketing help, an agent synopsis review, etc.

Check it out here:

Bosun said...

I got a crit over there yesterday, Scape. For a bit more than $10 though. LOL! Still, it's a fun way this author found to get herself to Nationals. Almost wish I'd thought of it!

From what I hear there are going to be lots of good stuff available everyday this week. Must stay tuned.

2nd Chance said...

Some can...just takes patience. ;-)

Bosun said...

Chance - Too bad I can't litter train the pooch.

Irisheyes said...

My suggestion was going to be to get checked out physically. Janga beat me to it.

I can't count the times either myself or someone I know self diagnose themselves and then find out it is something completely different. The kicker is when you think you just need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and snap out of it and it turns out to be something physical that all the positive self talk in the world wouldn't cure!

So, I know it sounds bizarre but I love when there is something concrete wrong that can be fixed with a pill. Otherwise, I'm back to pulling myself up, etc. etc. and I really HATE to do that. LOL

I've been dealing with the anger thing too, Ter! Maybe there's something in the air lately. LOL I actually threw a loaf of raisin bread across the kitchen at the DH last night and had the whole family looking at me with jaws dropped. Mommy very rarely loses it and I lost it!

Bosun said...

Patience - something I have very little of these days.

Irish - I bet that was a sight to see. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at Kiddo lately and said, "Do NOT mess with me right now." LOL! Is this what it means to be a woman on the edge? Is some planet in retrograde again?

I had all the tests done in January and I was good. Unless it's something that snuck up since then, there's nothing simple to pin this on.

2nd Chance said...

Maybe we need to exorcise the ship... I'm not dealing with anger, but I'm curiously blank lately. I haven't been doing the napping, but it's sounding more enticing then naps ever have for me...