Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Missing in Action

The fact of the matter is I stink. I really do. What kind of rotten knitting writer/writing knitter would just disappear into the wilderness like that and not even drop in long enough to say Happy Thanksgiving?


It's not that I haven't thought about you because I have. Lots. Every time I pick up my knitting needles or thumb through the gorgeous new Harmony guides or sit here (literally) beating my head against the laptop, praying for the right words to finally FINALLY appear on the screen.

It's been a long tough grind to reach the place where the story finally has a life of its own, a life separate from me. For some reason I had a wicked time shedding the characters from my last book and slipping into the hearts of the new characters. I've been alternately overwhelmed, intimidated, terrified, uncertain, anxious, ready to grab my AmEx and race to the airport, ready to board a plane for anywhere but here.

Poor Dallas and Poor Nancy have heard all about it in email. At length and ad nauseum, I'm afraid. (Nobody on the planet can whine more effectively and endlessly than a writer on a killer deadline.) The clock keeps ticking. Those calendar pages flip faster than I can register. And I waited and waited for the paragraphs and pages to mount.

There's a weird syndrome common to working writers that I call The Butt Springs Syndrome. I was telling Goldisox about it this afternoon and, brilliant thought he is, he just didn't get it.

Me: It's like the second the writing starts going well I spring up from my chair and run as far away from it as I can get.

Him: I do that too when I'm procrastinating.

Me: No! No! It's not that. I said it happens when it starts to get good.

Him: You mean the words are flowing and you know what's going to happen next?

Me: Yes! That's it! All of a sudden the words are there and they're flowing from my brain to the keyboard without human intervention and something comes over me and next thing you know I'm at Shop Rite.

Him: (very long pause) That's just plain weird.

And it is. And also extremely common. I mean, I could understand running for the hills when the going gets tough. That's just good sense. But when it's good, when it's there, when you're finally in the zone: what the hell is that all about anyway? I mean, you'll never see me put down the needles when the cables are forming effortlessly. So what is it about writing that sometimes makes me want to flee the country?

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Blogger georg said...

I don't know a cure- but I do know that feeling. The important thing is you have gotten beyond it! Hooray!

9:37 AM  
Blogger kshotz said...

I think that (in really broad and oversimplified terms) our society tends to make women shy away from their successes. We are supposed to be the quieter sex, the "behind the scenes" sex, etc. I learned this early on with school. It never paid to be the smart chick in terms of social life. So I think that many of us, when things start going smoothly or we are doing well tend to run and hide.

Too much soap box???

I'd love to hear what others think!


ps....and I'm really glad to see you again Barbara!

9:55 AM  
Blogger loribird said...

Perhaps when the words start to flow, you run away because you can finally stop looking sideways at them, waiting for them to come... also, once you get going, you're closer to being finished, and then you'll have to start over again :)
The solution? Install a remote-activated locking seatbelt to your computer chair, and give the remote to Goldisox. He'll probably be sensible about it.
Glad you're back!

10:08 AM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

I'm sitting here savoring your extremely perceptive comments, Georg and Kim and Lori. I have considered a self-locking mechanism on my chair but I'd probably gnaw off my arm (or leg) like a coyote in my frenzy to get away! Truth is I'm a wandering writer: I float through the house with my laptop, landing here and there. Each book seems to claim a different (sometimes only slightly different) spot where the words flow more easily.

And yes, there are times I think writing just might have made me crazy!!

11:08 AM  
Blogger ~Tonia~ said...

Well I don't have anything insightful to say like the other comments. Hopefully you can figure it out.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Cindi Myers said...

Buttsprings Syndrome -- so nice to have a name for a behavior I have definitely experienced. I hope you find the cure, Barbara.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Keep a miniature tape recorder next to your keyboard. When you get the urge to run...take your recorder with you and keep the flow going by telling the story as you run!!! Then you can go back and type it up later!! lol

9:12 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Aww, Barbara, you don't stink and you don't whine! Buttsprings Syndrome is the all-time best name for that particular writer's problem. And oh yes, I suffer from it too. It makes no sense at all although there have been some truly impressive analyses and suggestions here in the comments.

Maybe we should have a naming contest for all the amazing methods of procrastination writers can dream up.

Any suggestions?

1:10 PM  

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