Thursday, January 22, 2009

Building blocks

LOML is away in California for the next week. I have conned various friends into staying with me, though, so I'm not too lonely. I'm also trying to stay very busy. As well as my own writing and my freelance work, I have a huge pile of alterations to do.

This week has been an uphill struggle when it comes to writing. For some reason I have been in a state of full-blown resistance, building little writer's blocks for myself like a toddler making a Lego tower. I have a whole array of things I use to block my creativity:

1) Perfectionism. This one's a killer. "Why should I bother doing it if it's not going to be perfect?" Translates as "I'm afraid to finish. I don't trust my abilities."
2) Indifference. "I can't be bothered. I'm bored with it." Translates as "I'm afraid of caring too much about it and then failing," or "I'm afraid of succeeding and causing changes in my comfortable little existence."
3) Guilt. "I feel so guilty about my low productivity. I'm only writing 500 words a day at the moment. Instead of being kind to myself and realising that at least I'm making progress and it will get easier soon, I'm going to stop writing altogether because I feel so guilty about not writing more." Feeling guilty and thinking about how rubbish you are for half an hour is a lot easier than working for half an hour. I've developed a method of mentally splitting myself in half. I let one part of my brain go and sit on the couch and chew its hair and mutter about how guilty it feels about not being productive, while the other part (which has control of my body) sits down and surreptitiously does some work, glancing over at the first part occasionally and going "Mmmm," and "I know what you mean." Then both parts are happy. And I have a page of new writing.
4) Misplaced (and false) virtue. "I really should help Mum/mow the lawn/scrub behind the toilet cistern with an old toothbrush/make lunch for my husband/brush the cat." Translates as "I do things that allow me to feel smug and self-righteous about avoiding the work I know is more important." Also translates as "But I COULDN'T work, I was far too busy. It's not my fault."
5) False pragmatism. "This is never going to sell. Why am I bothering? I should do something practical that I know will make me money."
6) 'Real job' syndrome. "Think of all those people working 12-hour shifts in factories to get by. They'd be disgusted if they knew I was staring at a screen biting my nails and doing nothing. I'm not living in the real world." The counter-attack to this one is, "The world needs artists just as much as it needs doctors, factory-workers and crocodile hunters. I'm doing what I'm meant to be doing."
7) Self-criticism. "This is terrible. Worst thing ever written. Who are you kidding?" Telling yourself something is bad is far easier than working to make it better, and gives you hours of mental entertainment as you self-flagellate and eat lots of chocolate.

And then there are things like drinking endless cups of coffee, making snacks, looking at blogs. Endless displacement activities. For the past couple of weeks I have been relentlessly busy - every hour of every day has been spoken for. I have been telling people, "I've hardly had a chance to work on the new book because of [list of Things To Do]", when in reality I know I have manufactured a lot of this busy-ness to avoid working on the new book. Why? Because it's scary. Because waiting for news from agents has made me lose confidence in myself. Because I feel uncertain about the future. The only way to get past these blocks is to work through them. So that's what I'm trying to do. So I'd better get back to work.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I am still alive, but hit the ground running as soon as we got back from Wellington and have had hardly a spare moment. I'll be back in full force tomorrow, though, to show you all my new finds, catch up on comments and visit your lovely blogs. See you soon!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Christmas photos!

There wasn't much time for taking photos on Christmas Day, but LOML whipped out his camera before lunch and took some shots of me, my sister and my Mum's cat and dog. And some psychotic Christmas ornaments.
Santa army!
Santa army!
Suicidal Christmas ornament
Don't jump! There are some things worth living for.
Lucy making out with my nose
This is Lucy. She likes to lick things.
But she's so cute!
Lucy opening her present!
She also likes to open her own presents.
A necklace from my lovely sister.
This is Sandie, playing with her new catnip mouse.
Me and my sister
And here is my aforesaid lovely sister.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Well, I got another rejection this morning. This one said:

"I am afraid that although the novel is exciting and a strong work of fiction, we do not feel that we are the right agents to represent it."

It kind of feels like a dating agency. I'm searching for my Perfect Match, that one person who enjoys pina coladas and walks in the rain as much as I do. Sadly, however, it seems that the people who enjoy pina coladas don't like the rainy walks, and vice versa. I might have stretched this analogy too far.

"Frustrated female writer (23) seeks generous, outgoing agent for long-term partnership. Physical appearance not an issue. Deep pockets preferred."

Anyway. To cheer myself up, I spent my Christmas money on something gorgeous which will be fully revealed soon ...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Back! (But yet to unpack)

We had a fantastic time, and it went by far too quickly. Lots of soaking in hot pools (and getting a great massage, thanks to LOML's Christmas pressie), drinking, eating, lounging, talking, playing games and playing with our friends' two dogs. Can't wait till we have a big enough house to get a dog of our own. Thank you all for your New Year's wishes - happy New Year to you all, and I hope you had a great night on the 31st.

Anyway, we're back now and have two more days of freedom before normal service (and a healthier diet - the festive season is devastating on the waistline) resumes. One of the things we're tackling this weekend is New Year's Resolutions. Instead of making huge, whole-year ones, this year we thought we would make 52 small ones - one for each week in the year. The small resolutions range from fun things (one of mine is visiting a particular antiques shop that is quite a drive away) to chores (like finally organising our filing system and photo albums) and personal victories (one of mine is getting petrol on my own, because I'm a big wimp with a driving phobia and always get it when LOML is with me. Self-service, here I come!). We're writing each one on a playing card. We have a pack of cards each, and every week we're going to shuffle them and draw out one to do. Should be fun, I'm hoping.

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