Convalescence

Several people mentioned on "I Don't Think I'd Know How to Dabble" how glad they were to hear that I am not 100% productive 100% of the time.  I don't mean to come across as inhuman, though one always makes an attempt to show one's best side in public, but several of you seemed to visibly relax in your seats when you learned that.  No, naturally I am not on-the-go all the time.  Sometimes I push ahead into the manuscript and feel my way in the dark as I go; but sometimes I have to "run from the manuscript." Sometimes the last thing I want to do is sit down and write, often for various reasons.

pinterest

Sometimes I feel like I don't know where I'm going.  Usually I can push through that, but sometimes that sensation lasts too long and I fall back in a huff of melodrama.  Sometimes I get burnt out.  I've been blazing on too long and I need to rest.  I flog myself and the horse has nothing more to give.  Sometimes I am overcome by the scourge of the artist - I believe that my writing is complete rubbish and will never amount to anything.  Of course there are people who are vastly better than myself, and I don't believe that my writing will never need editing, but when I am really tired and really depressed, I tell myself that it is all for naught and everything I have written today, yesterday, tomorrow, is junk.  I had one of these wretched moments just last night, squeezed in between exhaustion and twenty-four hours' worth of tension headache due to the stress of going to Scotland - I even had a bit of a cry over it.  I know the moments pass, but they are never fun while they last.

On top of that, Ethandune has completely broken out of the corner.  I don't dislike that fact too much, especially since my husband is enjoying every bit of it and I have the pleasure of writing a section and showing it to him, and that helps relax him.  But it does tear my resources between Gingerune and Ethandune, and at this juncture I have little energy to give.  These moments always pass.  Eventually I will be settled in my flat in Glasgow and I won't be stressing over getting there, but this next week or so could be very painful if I do not play my game very carefully and admit to myself that I can't give 200% of myself to two novels all the time every day.

Each and all cannot do better than be found doing his duty, but doing it as a Christian, and with a heart packed up and ready to be gone.
j.c. ryle

I have Gingerune open on my desktop, a cup of tea to hand, and some music playing in the background.  I will try to write 500 words, but not in a plunk: today I am taking it easy because that is what my brain and my body needs.  I'm not a Super Penslayer, just a penslayer, and even I weary in the way.
reorientation
Where am I?  Perhaps it will help if I give myself a little perspective.   I started Gingerune in January (2013) and I am 146,986 words into the plot.  I think it is moving faster than Plenilune, but I wasn't paying attention to that aspect of Plenilune so I could not swear to that.  Ethandune has its own notebook, a main Word document, and several scenes written.  I have fifteen pages to the middle of Practical Religion, which I told myself I would reach before I get on the plane.  I have already said that I have several more novels in my head - that's cheering!  Not too shabby a collection of facts.
opening a vein
I'm told there is nothing to writing: you have only to sit down and open a vein.  This is probably true.  I've also noticed that sharing one's work is rather like the medicinal practice of blood-letting: it does seem to get the bad humours out, whatever else it does.

In the end she had not been sure how to do that, so she clung to the great shadow which was like the back of a god hiding its splendour and stood with the sensation of one about to be martyred upon the seaward threshold of the Temple of the Rammerowt. 
gingerune

"It is a worm in my soul which eats at me that the Earth-Master would not bend down his head to accept my light and momentary yoke.”
“It is like the Earth-Master,” she pointed out, “to not bend down his head for anyone’s yoke.”
gingerune

If I told you that you could do it, not merely that you had to do it, but that you could do it, and not to shrink back, you would have dug in your heels and resisted, and the despair would have lasted much longer than a night. But if I agreed with you, that you were not raised to this and that you would find it difficult, almost impossible, then you would chalk up your hands and grasp the bull by the horns."
gingerune

Mazelin had dropped his staff and had both hands around [the other's] neck, squeezing until the muscles in his shoulders could be seen in relief through his tunic. White-hot light seared through the cracks between his fingers.
gingerune

Thera is hollow-rotten. In what manner does one make the dead to live?
gingerune

A man loves his life and will do much to spare it. Much, Mazelin, as you well know."
gingerune

"I hung my scarlet thread for you."
"And the warlords of Israel have come."
ethandune

By the twelve houses!” he swore up one side, “you abominable girl, why didn’t you mention that before?” He crossed the distance between the two of them and grabbed her by the shoulders, giving her a violent shake. “Did it not occur to you that perhaps my father and I might care to know that? The devil take you!” he swore down the other side, still shaking her. “I could wring your neck!” 
ethandune

"Why is it that every time I see that man, I feel as though I've just been caught with my trousers down?"
ethandune

"We are not doing a ten-penny romance novel!"
She hit him again.
ethandune

6 ripostes:

  1. Do all writers have off weeks at once? XP
    For me, I feel as though I'm treading water; trying to juggle schoolwork, writing, a host of new designs, and dance when it starts in two weeks. And then there are all the books I want to read. And Gumusservi won't keep quiet and I want to do NaNoWriMo when it comes around...

    And sometimes I want to hit myself over the proverbial head for not narrowing down interests and putting 100% into one thing instead of five. :P

    But I must add that laughter is good medicine.
    ...Those last two snippets made me laugh. ^_^

    And besides, what is a writer community for if we don't bear each other's burdens from time to time?

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  2. I WONDER.

    It's not easy trying to be creative when you are bombarded with school and dance and whatnot. But the nice thing about writing is, like a pet, it will always be at home, waiting for you to come back to it. Although occasionally it does try to break down the door and pummel us a la Hobbes on our way up the front stoop...

    Snippets. XD

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  3. I was going to say, perhaps it would be better if we all did have our off-weeks together; then those of us who were "off" wouldn't have to be jealous of the inevitable one who was being cheerfully productive. But on second thought, I don't know if the rest of the world could handle a horde of miserable, restless, non-writing writers. :)

    I've definitely experienced all those feelings you list, including what you so aptly term "the scourge of the artist." I wouldn't wish it on anybody, but somehow it is comforting to know I'm not the only one.

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  4. Well *I* for one am simply glad to hear a bit of Jenny-Sass in this post. I like Jenny-Sass and as *I'm* having an off-week too (due to the scratchy part of a cold and the prospect of playing mother and father, and church-hoster and baby-sitter-for-other-people for five days beginning TOMORROW, writing is nil. WOOHOO for other people. And those snippets--gah. I like Ethandune too much already, and that's not fair since it'll probably be four years before coming out of its closet in total.

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  5. I've been having an off MONTH. You all got of easy. But the words are starting to role again. Ugg I hate the scratchy part of the cold. I always feel like I'm swallowing glass.

    And for the record we always knew you were human. such posts as 'Jenny vs. Writers block" and "Are you slain" and "After the world's last night" convince us of that. It's just that you are so much better than us. It makes us sigh sometimes. And it inspires us. I find if I'm stuck I have only to read "Janus" or 'Dante's Wood" or the one about dancing as patterns in ink that I can't remember the name of right now, and I feel invigorated and ready to write again. That's a gift Jenny. You don't just slay us with your pen. You bloodlet us us a little true, but we're better for it afterwards.

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  6. This post made me smile a sort of teary happiness, because you bravely did not shy away from sharing of the difficulties you DO face and struggle with as a writer: how I have felt those self-same emotions over my writing countless times! But you know, Jenny, I truly admire your talent as a writer (I always have!) and understand that in a very human way that skill doesn't come with the asking: it demands so much more - sweat, labour and a few tears as well not to mention a heck of bull-headed perseverance! Indeed you can't be a super-Penslayer with super human writing abilities (that is an insult to the energy and work you put into your writing): but believe me, my dear, when I say you also are a wonderful Penslayer who gets us inspired with the wielding of your pen with every word you write.
    Always, I have been excited upon seeing the productive energy of writers such as you and Abigail and Rachel! And of course some days it CAN be a bit of a plunk when I seem to see the writing world a rolling Milton-like Machine of literary industry and my one little typing machine is squeaking and puffing and producing nothing but fluff balls. But seeing others' successes always makes me happy, far more than failures...Every time I read snippets of your writing on your blog or hear of another hurdle ( a chapter, scene, book completion and editing) that has been overcome I am as happy as a lark and it makes me want to work so much more on my own work!

    God placed us among one another to stir one another in every good work and word in God-honouring diligence: as iron sharpens iron, so have you impressed and inspired me personally in my writing! For which I am so very thankful! Please don't ever feel like any of us are jealous or anything... ^_^. Or at least, if ever we are, I think it is the healthy sort that works something in us to 'do better'. I can't say how much your blog has helped me stay inspired lately not just to write, but to write with a godly purpose...

    The truth is, it is good to know that even successful writers have their off-days when they write very little, because then when it happens to me I know that this okay and with some work I can get back into writing well ;) But anyway, Ethandune sounds so good - I loved reading the snippets: they are so beautiful! Gah, but I can't choose a favourite... Except I would have you know that I was laughing over the last few ones!!! Brilliant, mon Penslayer ^_^

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