I'm Pam Morris, secretary of our newly begun but already highly adventurous Montana chapter of Romance Writers of America. I've picked the fifteenth of the month for my posting day. My hope is it will help me stay disciplined and keep at least one toe planted in reality long enough to track days passing.
Yep, like a lot of you, in winter I default to hermit mode. From there I dive into dozens of characters, a myriad of plot lines, mythic themes, humorous scenarios. And get lost. So of course, I start January completely unfocused. And over the top optimistic. I set unrealistic goals, reread and rewrite what I've already drummed to death with verbiage. The truth is in winter my perspective gets skewed (a bit more than usual!) and I don't have the presence of mind to even realize it.
In winter, I miss the sun and even chocolate can't take the place of a radiating molten orb! I forget that years of rejection letters and learning to write while working and raising a family will pay off because I deserve it. I start believing I'll never crack the publishing barrier. That no one in the business will ever read what I create.
And then Self-doubt slimes me big time.
Does this sound like the person who looks back at you in the mirror? For me, depression sets deep into my bones. Along with the darkest winter blues. Double wammy. And that's when I pull out my tried and true anti-blues remedies. I start by reading Joseph Campbell (and if you haven't read him, you're missing out on a story-dreamers best friend.) He writes about mythology and symbols and Jungian psychology. What he defines for us as writers and people are the properties of the deep, internal workings of mind, soul and character. How cool is that?
Then I take a dip into Shakespeare and no, I'm not a literary snob. Or at least not on purpose. Reading Shakespeare reminds me of the versatility of language, how using and mis-using words leads to puns, exploitative humor and misdirection. And how dopey, often idiotic and un-credible plot lines can still bring the magic. Fact, no matter who writes or gets published, intriguing characters plus good story-telling equals fun on a page. Or between the covers of, among other things, a book (like, hello… romance writers)!
And if none of the above makes me feel intelligent enough to climb out of bed each day and open my laptop, I start reading Care of the Soul; a guide for cultivating depth and sacredness in everyday life, by Thomas Moore, yet again. I always start this tender, self affirming book and rarely finish it because before too long I begin to refocus. I start to matter to myself again and remember that I write for me, not publishers. That I LOVE to write, words are candy for my brain synapses and making up stories I'd like to read completes me.
I am what I am. And you all know who that is. So here's to the successes 2009 will bring all of us, huh?
Signing off with a ta for now, Pam