STEP AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD

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Hi My Loves,

I am not ashamed but also not proud to admit that I had your typical flaky artist breakdown last Monday. I was to my wits ends with the project I have been working on for a year and a half now. I’ve kinda stonewall. The way I write – I was milestones that I want to hit in the story and the rest I just seem to find my way, somehow – but I couldn’t this time. I finally knew how I was going to end the story and I thought it would spur me on to finish the first draft finally – but it didn’t. I had the milestone but I just couldn’t find my way this time. I started to unravel – while I was at my nine to five, I might add.

I emailed one of my oldest friends, who has been one of my test readers for just a little over a decade. The poor thing, I swear, she must think I have lost my mind. All my insecurities and doubt washed over me like a tsunami and I could help but drown.

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It just wasn’t good enough, I was never going to get it right and I’ll be stuck in the job I hate. I’ll die at my desk and decompose and no one will notice. No agent will want anything to do with me. No publishing company will give me the time of day – I might I as well give up now

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My friend to her to her credit tried calming me down. Told me it was great work. Just as good as any book that she had brought – normally that would have done the job but on this day – I was just too far gone. I was down the rabbit hole and not quite yet at Wonderland

Did I mention that this was all before noon? Because yeah it was.

I went out at lunch – now realizing that I wasn’t quite normal today.  I thought I’d go for a walk – buy myself a new notebook ( the paper kind) so I could write down how I was going to fix this problem I found myself in. I brought one of the only notebooks that bookshop had and made my way over to Boost juice to give my brain and body something healthy – hoping it would help my dark day

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It backfired. While waiting for my orange, carrot and ginger juice, the blenders singing their song, happy shoppers chatting around me I had an epiphany – I’m going delete the whole thing – I didn’t like much of the first draft – I didn’t like what I had turned my heroine into, it was actually the one thing I feared I would turn her into – other than the milestones – I didn’t like anything – just press delete. It was the only thing that made sense. I jumped on my FB author page and told everybody what I was about to do.

 

By the time I got back to my office I had emails, FB message and one phone call from a writer friend. I answered her call just as I was entering the door – she didn’t even say hello – what she said or rather shouted at me was

 

STEP                AWAY                    FROM            THE           KEYBOARD

 

Every email, message and phone call said the same thing. Why is it that we have more faith in others and their dreams then we do in ourselves? Because else people were fearful that I was letting go of mine and they wouldn’t have it.

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Nine days down the track and I haven’t deleted but I have started a second draft – the words are coming out like a drip from a tap – tiny bits- and not in order but it is flowing again.  I’ve always beat myself up about not getting it right the first time because I always hold myself to a higher standard than I do anyone else in my life and especially when it comes to my work. That is something that I need to change

 

So has I go down this second path with the characters I love so much, it’s time to get to know them a little better, so I can make their story a little more rich and a lot more full of life.

xxLayla

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3 thoughts on “STEP AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD

  1. Everyone who writes goes through these kinds of days, so don’t despair! I know, I know, it’s easier said than done, but you are certainly not alone. First rule of writing, though: never delete anything! Even if it’s garbage, don’t delete. The most rewarding part of writing is looking back to see how far you’ve come. And you have to write the crap to get to the good stuff. Writing only gets better with revisions. I once read that author John Green (wrote a little book called The Fault in Our Stars…you may have heard of it??) 😉 estimates that he discards about 90% of his first drafts! So even the greats of our time write crap. It can’t hurt to put the laptop away for a week or so. Sometimes time is a writer’s greatest gift.
    Best,
    Gwen x

    1. And the funny thing is – the thing that scared me the most- that possibility that the first draft wasn’t good enough – actually excites me now because I can go in and change everything that’s wrong with it. Strange, I know
      Layla xo

      1. First drafts are NEVER good enough — that’s why it’s called a ‘draft.’ What I tend to forget is the novels I read have been through countless revisions and often years of development. But you’re right, revising can be the best, and most exciting stage of the writing process. Not strange at all. Glad you’re in better spirits.

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