Monday, January 19, 2009

starting of a brand new day


I'm still working on my New Year's resolutions, you know it's not good to jump into these things to quickly. I'm trying to decide what is really important to me, and what goes at the top getting the most time and energy and what gets fit in when it can. Last year I put writing on top and gained weight. I don't want to remove writing from the top spot (of personal pursuits). But I am not enjoying the way my body currently looks. I don't feel like me. I wish I could lose weight without making that the primary focus of my time and energy.
So far the feedback for my writing (Echo) has been scant. My mom did say some things about the prologue needing work, and my cousin did tell me that the grammar is very bad, "at times not really even writing sentences." I took those kind of hard. As I did the fact that none of them have made much progress with reading it. The energy for writing has really been knocked out of me, it has felt rather pointless to pursue. (Why bother? is the attitude I keep trying to ditch) But my husband not known previously as a pep talker, has certainly decided to be one now. He has told me to keep going forward, keep writing, telling me he likes my writing, and that the areas that need improvement, are areas, with work, that can without a doubt be improved. I say, "But why spend my life pursuing a dream that can never be, it is pointless." And he says, "What other way is there to spend a life?" And then I think of that, what other way would I want to spend my time. To let go of the dream, to pursue nothing, is certainly not an improvement. I wouldn't like such emptiness. One can of course change one's dream and pursue something else. But he is right in knowing that I am not at that point yet. I am still only at the beginning of this journey. I must fail a lot more before I know whether or not I can succeed. And I might as well finish the stories I have started that I long to see all the way through.
I wish I wasn't taking it so hard, this lack of feedback, and then a few negative words, but handing someone Echo is like handing them a fragment of my soul. Dramatic words I know, but it feels entirely true. My other storeis are part of me too, but not in the same way, not to the same degree. I knew it needed work certianly, I asked for feedback to help me improve it, but they are finding things wrong with the parts I thought were fine. And no one seems to be connecting with it, feeling and seeing any part of it as meaningful or beautiful. So that is the source of my sadness.
So I am trying to move forward with the writing but I am doing so on wobbly legs. On the positive side, I am really touched by my husband. I mean perhaps when married it should be obvious that one loves the other, but I haven't truly felt it so, merely so, but not deeply so. But in this, that he didn't say, "Yeah you suck, why are you wasting your time, and our time. You should be learning how to cook better, and looking after us more. Go get a job outside the house to bring in more money." I have felt keenly his love for me. He has validated my pursuit of a dream, knowing it may bring him nothing, and even take time away from him. He has validated it knowing I long to pursue it, knowing how much it means to me. There have been times when I would have, and have, fought for this privilege, for time, mine. But not lately. I have stood before him more or less defeated, feeling I had no right, to take such time as my own, to sit alone for hours with pen and page. Sadly at this point I felt, I feel, I need permission, and I have been amazed that he has given it to me. Not reluctantly, not under coercion, but freely, abundantly, heaping it on me like a directive. With a little bit of tone that I would ever leave the question of pursuing my dreams up to the opinions of other people.
God am I grateful.

I don't have my new year's resolutions down yet, I'm still forming them in my head, but I do know that writing wont be pushed down around the edges. Not this year. I must finish the other two stories.

10 comments:

Vesper said...

I just love what your husband said to you! What other way is there to spend a life other than pursuing one's true dreams?... Wonderful!

And that's what you should do. But first, you should find better readers. If your mom and cousin do not respond to you the way they should, you must find somebody else. Fellow writers can help a lot. Unfortunately, you've been quite absent from the blogosphere lately. You've chosen to work on your novel, and I understand that. Also, blogging is very time consuming. But at the same time it is helpful because you can learn a lot and because you can interract with ... your kind, the Writers. There are some great people here. There's just been another flash fiction contest at The Clarity of Night, for example. The exercise and the feedback are fantastic.

I know there's a lot of work to do, but it's worth it.

What can I say? I think I've suggested to you before to put some fragments of your work here. Also, if you want, I'm willing to read and comment on your Echo. I won't be quick because my time is very limited, but I could try it. Think about it...

Taffiny said...

Vesper,

Yeah it really helped me to think about it in another way.

I know I have been absent a lot. It is really hard for me to juggle things. I tend to focus on one thing at a time. And I never know where the time goes. You are right, I have been missing the companionship and inspiration of fellow writers. I haven't been able to find any of my kind in my day to day life. Still I am unsure of how I'm going to balance it ( or rather work in all in).

I believe you have. I am reluctant to do so, because I read somewhere that it decreases your chances of getting published if part of the work in question has been blog/web published. I don't know if that is true or not, but now I can't help but worry about it. I realize though there is no point in my worrying about that if I don't improve my writing (which will require feedback).
Your offer is very generous. But seeing as my family is having so much trouble slogging through it, I would feel bad asking the same of anyone else. After I can get one of them to finish it and give me some insights I can use to improve it, then perhaps it will be ready for keener eyes.

I do plan on forcing myself to go to the local writers conference.

Thank you Vesper,
:) Taff

strugglingwriter said...

Taffiny - I'm so glad your husband was so supportive. We can't lose a great writer such as yourself.

I'd be up for reading a chapter of your novel for you also. I do that sort of thing with my writing group all the time.

Paul

Taffiny said...

Paul,

Thanks, that means a lot to me.

Thanks that is a sweet (and generous) offer. But I'm afraid after the first paragraph you would change your mind. I mean my family seemed eager to read it, before they started, now not so much!
But then again, I really do need more feedback, and a chapter, that isn't as much of an imposition..and my first one isn't that long. I could perhaps send it out to you and Vesper, and the feedback on that part could be extrapolated to help me with the whole. If you are sure you are serious, maybe I could do it. How would one do such a thing anyway? As an email attachment?

Perhaps I will go over the first chapter and try again to improve it, incase.

strugglingwriter said...

Taffiny - an email attachment would be the best. As a fellow writer I can give you more than "this isn't good" (I wouldn't say that anyhow) or "this is great". You really need to know why it's good or why it's bad.

Also, I don't really care all that much about grammar. I can help with that, but you probably want to know more about the writing, right?

Paul

Vesper said...

Certainly, Taff, send me the first chapter. A Word attachment to the e-mail would be fine.

chickwithaquill at gmail dot com

You're worrying too much! :-)
(Listen, I understand perfectly if you don't want to send it.)

Bee said...

I think that you are very brave to even TRY to write at all. It is a difficult thing -- drawing on both the imagination and mental discipline. I'm sure that all writers feel despondent at times.

I think that a reader who comments only on your grammar is not a very good reader. Grammar is not the point, and many, many writers can't spell "for toffee" (as the English say). Having read your blog quite a lot, you obviously have a good grasp of the mechanics of writing. What I admire, and see in your writing, is real perception and wit and a way of describing things that sounds fresh and "writerly" to me. I'm glad that you feel support from your husband, though. That is a really good thing.

As for resolutions, I think that January 1 is the worst time to start them. Let it be a ball that gathers speed!

(Your pictures are so luscious and dreamy! Good inspiration!!)

Taffiny said...

Thanks Vesper and Paul. I'm going to look over the editing books I got from the library, then try and tweak the first chapter...then if I am feeling brave; I will send it out to you. I intend to do it, but indeed I am nervous. What if you all respond unfavorably too? Or what if you would like to, but now will feel pressure to be positive? Yes indeed Vesper, I do tend to worry. Is there any way one can get paid for that?


Bee,

Thank you for your comments. Obviously I greatly appreciate the positive ones in regards to my writing. :)
Regarding my readers. I did tell them to feel free to offer me grammar advice, as I know it is an area I am not strong in (though I would try much harder at spelling if someone was tempting me with toffee). It is just that they haven't given any other feedback yet, that is disheartening. But they are still at the beginning, so perhaps that is the easiest feedback to give so far. It just fills me with concern that the content itself is uninteresting. And they must find it so or else they would be farther along in the reading.) Because I know my technique needs work, it has always been my hope that my ideas are good. Now instead of just questioning my ability to say something, I'm also questioning whether I have anything worth trying to say. If I'm not good in either area, then how could the term 'writer' apply. Anyway..I am going forward, just taking smaller, more hesitant steps. Your support means a lot, and will help me to keep going.

Resolutions-
Well I've been nudging the ball a bit, it rocks back and forth, then rolls an inch forward (where it stops again to rest). I think perhaps I need to set my ambitions on an incline (though that would be downhill fast), better to motorize and solar power them (oh, but not as sunny in winter). As you say, all in good time, one increment at a time, till it becomes routine, then it should be easier and faster.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

I know how you feel about all of this. I sometimes send work to my writing partners and it takes them ages to get back to me - it's not a great feeling. Then at the end of last year I paid for a professional review of my manuscript - it knocked me for a six. Although I knew there were things wrong with the MS, I hadn't expected 18 pages of criticisms. It will take a hefty rewrite to fix what is wrong - and resultantly, I find myself stunned into a period of inactivity while I try to figure out where to start. Having paid for the review, I must use it constructively and I know that many, though not all, the criticisms are right on the money.
But this is the thing about writing - as much as anything it is a craft and the only way we can learn and grow is to look for and accept constructive criticism, as much as we may not like receiving it - it's the polishing of the diamond, the honing of the skill.

I'm so glad your husband is being so supportive, we need that support to sustain and nurture ourselves.

I love the new look of your blog - so bright and fresh!

Taffiny said...

Vanilla,

Thanks. I know it is important; but like you say it can be hard to take, a bit bracing. I keep trying to get myself out of the phase of 'stunned into inactivity' but I guess it is all process, and being stunned for a bit is part of it too.

18 pages, cringe. The stuff that resonates with you, certainly I see working on that, and also giving time to the other parts to see if you see it that same way, but I don't know, I would be concerned with giving too much power to a single viewer/critiquer (apparently if you add an r at the end it is no longer a word, oh well), even one trained in editing.
My immediate response to 18 pages is "kick him/her in the shins and run" (you now hit them back), so clealry my feathers are still a bit ruffed, ruffled and ruffed, and I am strutting about trying to make myself appear larger, and inclined to peck at critics. Hopefully this process of taking in criticism will become easier over time. As we learn to take what is helfpul to us, without feeling defeated by it, be able to do the work and get better, and also know what isn't useful. I think I'll set that goal for 10 years from now. :) I know you will arrive there much sooner.