I’m the first one to admit there are enough hours in the day. If you’ve read here before, you know I have a strong reaction to people saying they don’t have the time to do something. But there are times where I wonder where they all went. And now is one of them.
The real reason comes down to, I want too much at once. A month and a half ago I got back the first set of feedback from my critique partner and then a few weeks later I got the other one. While my head tells me it’s great that I got so much info about things that weren’t working, my heart felt a little broken. I’ve come to realize this is a very natural reaction for feedback about an art. This is real progress for me. A couple years ago I would’ve been a crying mess. Or worse, a defensive know-it-all who didn’t accept any of it and queried anyways. Only to get a slew of rejections from obvious holes in the story. But now I’m trying to be patient.
I needed time to process. So I turned to baking. I’ve been thinking about baking, talking about baking, and creating cookies in my head for a cool book that is going to release in a couple months. I’ve been trolling Pinterest for new recipes and even started another blog about baking. I’ve pretty much gone off the rails. To add to the crazy, it’s a busy time in my “real work” life which is leaving me exhausted at the end of each day. How do I deal with this? I cram more stuff in like going out with friends, planning play dates for the kids, or do some more baking.
But today I realized the time I’d been giving myself away from the novel was actually getting me off track. I’d even started to sneak around with my mistress “television” and watch a couple shows here and there. It was during an episode of “Discovering Bigfoot” where they were talking about the area being “squatchy” that I realized I’d hit rock bottom. The book needed me and I needed the book.
Two nights ago I went over notes, studied what I’d learned at a recent workshop, and storyboarded the book in its current form. Last night, I started slashing and cutting; scenes dropping dead or moving to a new area to be something completely different. You probably are waiting for me to tell you it felt great. Sorry to disappoint, but it was terrible. I was more lost than ever. I cursed my changes, thought about burying my head in the sand, and going back to what I had. I tweeted a single word, “Lost” and updated Facebook to read “Doing major edits is kinda like amputating one of your own limbs with a dull knife. In the middle you’re kinda like what the fuck am I doing?”
Then I paused for a moment. I inhaled a deep breath and turned on Innocence by The Airborne Toxic Event. This is the acoustic version I can’t find anywhere except YouTube. It’s the soft staccato strings at the beginning that slow my breathing and give me the minutes I need to enjoy a good song. (Yes, it’s a nice 8 minute version.) I use this song at work when people are driving me to the edge and it even works wonders on the weekends when I’m forced to do laundry.
Why am I blogging about this song? (Besides the fact I love Mikel.) Because no matter what you do, how little time you have, or how crazy you feel, it’s important to find the thing that takes you back to your happy place. It’s the reminder that whatever you’ve decided to do, it is all worth it. You’ll get through the tough times and know you are working to get to the real place that makes you happiest.