Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Gone Fishing

So...is it okay to admit I’m taking a break on here? I don’t mean a Kit Kat munch or the Magazine bearing the name, I mean a break from writing. Just a small one, tiny really, just long enough to fill my lungs with some inspiring breath and my brain with some emotional stamina.


There, I’ve said it on Strictly Writing. That’s the equivalent of standing up in an AA meeting room, and announcing yourself as a fellow drinker. There’s no going back once something has been admitted out loud for fellow peers to hear. For I am a ‘write-aholic’ and sometimes, even I have to admit that it doesn’t always make me feel good...In fact, sometimes it’s responsible for me feeling bloody awful. Sometimes, like an hour ago as I debated hurling my manuscript out the window, it even makes me look like Mr Bean. And gurning doesn't suit me.

I didn’t plan on outing this particular feeling today but as I typed, these words appeared before me of their own accord. I was wary of them seeming negative but as I thought about it, I know most of you go through similar temporary gloom and felt you wouldn’t mind my honesty. My pared back frankness can now reveal:

I’m tired. Much as I love the craft and feel privileged to be able to write when I want, I’m finding the constant rejection and therefore constant reinvention of my work exhausting. I’m feeling frustrated at my failure to produce something commercial. I realise that I’ve become so hung up on trying to figure out what other people want from me, that I can’t even remember what it is I want myself. And I need to re-claim that.

During this writing process, I've learned many skills but the ability to know when to step back is vital. Knowing when to leave the words alone is ironically one of the most important things to me. Strangely, it enables me to carry on.

So, although today, devoid of any inspiration, I’m admitting defeat - as Arnie says - I’ll be back. A few days off, thinking time, is what my brain needs. I've decided between now and next Monday, I’m not going to write a word. I’m going to watch crappy television and read some of the books on my ‘To Read’ pile. I’m going to try meditation, or my version of it, that involves closing my eyes, forming my thumbs and forefingers into a circle reciting ‘Om, Om’ whilst eating chocolate. When my eyes are closed, I’ll imagine somewhere exotic and restful and fill myself with new and shiny thoughts. And in amongst them will lie a gem of an idea, which will excite me and make me want to write again. Time to stop wallowing in last manuscript gore and move on.

So I'm stepping away from words, just until Monday. On Monday, I will get over myself, embrace the craft I adore once more and move on.

14 comments:

Debs Riccio said...

Aw bless you, Fi - I SO get what you're saying. Can I come with you on your retreat? It sounds just perfect. I abstained for a couple of days over Christmas and because I'd 'decided' to, I didn't feel guilty for not writing. I completely understand your desire to get away from it all. You'll come back refreshed and raring to go - I know you will! x

L-Plate Author said...

Sorry to hear that Fi, but as one who has been trying to get published for over ten years now, I feel your pain. I took a break of a month before Christmas, boy did I feel guilty every day, but it was what I needed. I'm back writing with a gusto again now.

Maybe once you've reclaimed the fun element, you will, like Arnie, be back. I wish you all the best x

CarolineG said...

Yup, I know exactly what you mean. I think we have a creativity tank and sometimes it's just running on empty. We need a bit of time and space sometimes in order to, er, fill up [think I've gone as far as I can with this tank metaphor!]

Gina said...

Keep your notebook handy in case that fresh idea strikes out of the blue!

Helen Black said...

I think sometimes you need to be kind to yourself and allow yourself some time off.
Refuse to feel guilty.
Accept that writing is often hard, therefore, unlike eating chocolate, you will not always want to do it.
Accept also that rejection is very hard. Yes you have to keep your chin up. Yes you have to keep on keeping on. But you can admit it hurts. And you can take a break while it's stinging.

By Monday, you'll be in a hwole new place.
HBx

Old Kitty said...

Hi

I hope you have a lovely break watching telly, eating chocolate and dreaming the days away!

Sometimes you just need a break to re-charge, re-load, and re-assess.

:-)

Take care
x

Diney said...

Hi - I know just how you are feeling. On my last post I admitted that I don't have a life now, since I started blogging, and it is true, despite the underlying humour of the post. I'm chasing my tail trying to decide whether to re-edit my novel which has been rejected by 10 agents, or start another, perhaps try some articles, or childrens' lit....there is so much choice and so little time. You retreat for few days is a great idea and I hope it clears your mind!

Samantha Tonge said...

Great post - i think we all feel like that some times. For those of us with young kids the hols are good, as they force us to take something of a break.

Enjoy your time away and don't come back until you're ready.

Fionnuala Kearney said...

Thanks everyone for commenting! Its wierd, I feel better already - maybe there's something in this 'saying something out loud' theory?
See? I'm itching already - roll on Monday!

Ann said...

We all need those pajama days to recharge. Enjoy the chocolate! I wish you an abundance of shiny thoughts.

The Virtual Victorian said...

I'm sitting there watching the tv with you, Fi...enjoy yourself and take a good break.

The Virtual Victorian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen said...

I so sympathise Fi, and really hope you're full of inspiring breath (as opposed to wind) very soon.

Bouncing back from rejection is exhausting - it took me a long time to accept that my first novel probably wasn't going to make it and I would endlessly tinker with it, trying to make it 'right.'

Since then I've been more than 30,000 words into a couple more, and then run out of steam.

Sometimes it's good to step back and take a breath xx

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Thanks for your honesty, Fionnuala. Mind you, a weekend's break is nothing! I've been a month without writing now, at least. Hope the muse taps on your shoulder again very soon.
Susiex