Wednesday, January 21, 2009

If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.

(Lewis Carroll)

Still with the winter blues. They lifted for a day or two, crashed down again with a vengeance, and seem to have given way again. I tend to believe that shifting my focus from writing to other activities has helped with the mood improvement. I was very wound up in an "oh woe is me, I stink and shall never ever be more than a hack" phase, brought on in part by reading too many blogs and articles on why most aspiring writers will remain aspiring for eternity. (With the other contributing factor being the self-feeding cycle of depression: "I don't care enough about anything right now to write about it. If I don't care enough to write, I'll never make it as a writer. That's so depressing. Why bother caring enough to write anything, if I'm never going to make it anyhow?")

Or maybe I can attribute it all to the lack of sunshine or the tilt of the earth or the change in weather pressure or... Yeah. Exactly. Who the hell knows?

At any rate, although I had to keep my head down for a couple of days, I did manage to finish a revision of "Wings" that, if nothing else, made it shorter and more polished. I also dropped it back into the submission battleground, made note of the followup date on my calendar, and crossed it off my list of stuff to do. I haven't decided what I'm doing next. And y'know, that right there could be the source of my angst, come to think of it, because the latest mood downpour happened right after I finished up "Wings" and tried to move on.

"Pale Roses" would be the logical next step. I even printed out a draft of it. But it's longer than most markets are looking for. I could probably polish it down a couple thousand words without losing much story. But the markets I'm aware of don't seem quite the right place for that story. And why bother revising and polishing (or even re-reading), if I have no market for it?

Which leaves me with my two novel-length projects, the Loki story and Crowmaker. And both of those have me feeling a little overwhelmed right now. I know that if I pick one and sit down and dig in to work on it, I can break it down and get back into it.

But damn, they both just feel so BIG AND SCARY right now.

I have all but decided not to decide anything this week, however. I started some volunteer tutoring at the boys' school this week. As we all know, I am a planning freak and a perfectionist, so I'm still sorting out what I'm doing and how to do it. I had my first session yesterday afternoon, so I have a better feel for the kids in my group and how I can (hopefully) approach teaching them in a way that will benefit all of them. I didn't realize going into the program that the tutoring sessions would include more than one child at a time; I'm confident of my ability to help a child learn things one on one. It's trying to get through to four of them at once that will be my challenge. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the tutoring session, though. I was really nervous at first, but once I had the kids all on board and working with me, it was fun. And I was less nervous. And I felt like I maybe got some of what we were reviewing to stick for a couple of the kids. Being me, of course, it's the ones who didn't seem to get it that will eat at me. I've already adjusted my initial plans for the next session in an effort to get to ALL of them.

I've toyed with the idea in the past of offering some kind of writing class. Maybe the tutoring will help me get my teaching legs under me. Then I just need to keep working at getting an impressive enough publishing record that people will be confident enough that I can teach them something that they'd be willing to pay for it.


Sean said...

Don't let big projects scare you. This faculty summer contract application I've been developing for my university was a big and scary. Doing things in little pieces turned the monster of a project in to me having more fun then work.

"Why is this printing three of these?"


"Wow that date is so small I could use an electron microscope!"


From Associate Dean: Could you get it to say hello to me?

From Me: Do you really want me to do that? Cause I could! I'd have to find the right voice to do this with.

From Application: Hello Dave.

From Associate Dean: Uh.. my name isn't Dave.

From Me: His name is Hal.

Lori Erickson said...



Next week. Or maybe even Friday.

Maybe you could set up Hal to give me a pep talk each morning?