Thursday, February 25, 2010


3 : a state of powerlessness or incapacity to act

I recently read a blog post where the author wrote about how she has four different projects going (a screenplay, a memoir, a book, a TV show) and therefore has gotten nowhere with any of them. This sounded vaguely familiar, convicting and, ahem, scary.

I wouldn't say that I am generally someone who is afraid of commitment, but with my writing, it's another story altogether. I have, in various stages:
a non-fiction book based on The Fun Jar

a partial novel (?) centered on a character in her early 20s

a set of book reviews that are possibly marketable with some editing, effort and elbow grease

a concept for a young adult fantasy novel

an idea that my blog posts about B's butterfly would make a great article

an allegorical story of my own journey

the best short story I've written so far - and actually submitted, but need to re-submit since it didn't win the contest

oh, and a commitment to speak at a women's retreat one month from tomorrow
So this person I don't even know has me wondering where I should spend my time and energy. And wondering why this is such a hard decision for me. Surely most people don't spend this much time thinking about what they should do...

I was sharing my thoughts on this struggle yesterday with some friends and asked whether I should focus my energy on what I want to do or what I think is the most marketable project. I would love to have something published, if only for the affirmation that I have written something that other people want to read. But I have found that creativity, for me, is not a hot water tap that just needs to be turned on. Sometimes when I open the tap, nothing dribbles out. And the past month has left me unable to really attempt tapping into my creativity. Have I lost the opportunity to do so? Should I just give it up as a lost cause, write only for this little blog and focus my energy on preparing to homeschool A next year? That seems a bit defeatist, if practical.

I am trying to move past the paralysis that I fear is setting in because I'm not really powerless, even if I do feel incapable of acting. My thought at the end of yesterday is that perhaps I should settle on one short term goal and one long term goal. Then I could work on editing book reviews alongside drafting a book proposal. This simply requires that I make up my mind about which of the various ideas flitting around my head are worth pursuing...


Variations On A Theme said...

Don't know if you're looking for suggestions here, but I'd start with the smallest, most do-able project to get yourself rolling. If that short story is already written...maybe just finding another venue for it.

Do you want to start meeting again regularly, and instead of talking, we'll actually DO something? I could come over to your house and make you get out the Writer's Market and envelopes and by the end of the hour, have the story SENT OFF. And I'll send off some poems....

WordGirl said...

Suggestions are welcome - I agree that maybe starting small is a way to go and I would love to start meeting again regularly. Are Wednesday afternoons good for you? My calendar remains pretty open since I'm still unable to commit to much...