With a little help from William Faulkner and my friends

This morning

 pointed out that I was leaving rather sad writing-related comments on journals.  She wisely advised I stop beating myself up about my lack of progress and instead, give myself room to write whatever comes to mind.  To relax and breathe.  Or just be stuck.  Her concern brought tears to my eyes.

A few minutes after reading her comment, I left for my weekly somatic experiencing appointment.  When I got there, I told my therapist I was weepy this morning because I was so frustrated and stuck on a project.   In talking about it further, I realized a huge part of my anxiety is the worry that I’d “talked” myself out of this book.  The thing is, I learned the hard way (as in having to abandon a really great project) that I cannot talk about a book until I have at least a first draft written because each time I say something about the book, it’s like letting air out of a balloon.  Pretty soon the book/balloon is flat and lifeless and I have no desire to play with it anymore.  I do have a first draft of this book but it’s different than the others I’ve written.  More plot oriented than character-driven.  Since I’m not as comfortable with plot as characterization, I started talking with Zippy about plot issues.  Well, he suggested stuff and we talked and talked about my book, and at the time I thought it was really cool to have that connection and collaboration.  Now I’m not so sure.

In discussing all this loss-of-energy-on-this-project stuff with my therapist, I realized I needed to stop talking about this project.  Then she recommended visualizing a circle around me and my project, one that keeps that creative energy close but also prevents anyone/anything from interfering in my process.   So I closed my eyes and did that (somatic experiencing is all about looking within and tracking physical/emotional sensations.  I know it sounds wacky but it’s been a lifesaver for me).  She asked if there was anyone I wanted to stand guard on my circle, to help me keep out the interference.  I chose William Faulkner.  As I visualized my circle with ol’ William standing guard, I felt relief.  Not one hundred percent relief, but some.

Then we talked more about the panic and doubts I’ve had about this project and I told her I felt like I was in a free fall.  She asked if there was anyone I’d trust to grab onto me, to stop my fall.  I immediately visualized a human chain of writer friends, all of you, reaching out to grab my hand.  As I pictured all of us linked by our hands, I thought about how you all understand what I’m going through, how we all cheer each other on, and celebrate the good moments and mourn the bad.  I thought about how this publishing trek is so tough and competitive but how everyone here is willing to help out the other writers. 

I got teary again.  The good kind of teary.  In that moment, I felt safe and confident of my writing ability.  The panic and doubts were gone.  I wasn’t alone in my crazy shame spiral.  You’ve all been there.  You know what it’s like and you all do your best to drag fellow writers out of that icky place.

Since this morning’s appointment, I’ve had a couple more moments of loathing and doubt.  But each time I visualized my connection with all my writer friends, and felt calm again.  Later I sat at my desk, closed my eyes and basked in the quiet

 wrote about in today’s post.  And you know what?  I wrote 700 words. 

I appreciate each of you so very much.  Thanks for all you give.

 

83 thoughts on “With a little help from William Faulkner and my friends

    • I did smile, Nan. Thank you for being there for me and everyone else on this crazy journey.
      And I’ve probably said it before but your little pic is such a good reminder for me to stretch and breathe.

      Like

    • You’re welcome, Laurie. I’m so glad we’ve connected and can support each other. And I love me some Aretha so that song is my new writing soundtrack. Thanks for being there.

      Like

  1. Yes, I, too, find that talking in depth about a work in progress makes the power go out of it. Makes me feel sad, like I shared something I wasn’t supposed to.

    Like

    • It’s so true about losing the power. Talking just deflates everything and does make me feel bad. Loose lips sink ships, and all that.
      Thanks for always being there and providing me with so many smiles, Lizzy.

      Like

  2. Yes, I, too, find that talking in depth about a work in progress makes the power go out of it. Makes me feel sad, like I shared something I wasn’t supposed to.

    Like

  3. It *is* a chain — thank you for that image! I agree…we all do know what it’s like. Sometimes the stories are right there, right on the edge of my mind, and it kills me that I can’t get it out in a way that will inspire others to read it. I’ve got your hand, Tracy — and I won’t let go!!
    Thanks for all the support you’ve given me!

    Like

    • Thank you so much, Robin. I’m glad we’re linked on this journey, helping each other along the rocky trail. I can’t imagine doing this alone and I’m so glad I’m not.
      I’m looking forward to having that big celebration over your good news very soon!

      Like

  4. It *is* a chain — thank you for that image! I agree…we all do know what it’s like. Sometimes the stories are right there, right on the edge of my mind, and it kills me that I can’t get it out in a way that will inspire others to read it. I’ve got your hand, Tracy — and I won’t let go!!
    Thanks for all the support you’ve given me!

    Like

  5. It *is* a chain — thank you for that image! I agree…we all do know what it’s like. Sometimes the stories are right there, right on the edge of my mind, and it kills me that I can’t get it out in a way that will inspire others to read it. I’ve got your hand, Tracy — and I won’t let go!!

    Thanks for all the support you’ve given me!

    Like

    • Now I’m teary again. Thank you, Melodye, for all you give to me AND everyone else here. You have an incredible spirit and I thank you for sharing it.
      Big hug…….

      Like

  6. I love your “chain of friends” image too, Tracy. And I always think of you as the one who pulls everyone up and says the exact right thing.
    I’m sure outsiders wonder why we spend time on LJ. For me, this chain of ours is one of the big reasons.
    Thanks for being you, dear friend!

    Like

    • Wow, that was such a kind thing for you to write. Thank you, De. Guess I need to be weepy again for a while (but a good weepy, you know).
      You’re so right about the importance of our LJ connections, and the support system we have going here. I’m very glad you and I have connected and can share the journey.
      Thank you for all the smiles and inspiration you bring me with your wonderful posts.

      Like

  7. I love your “chain of friends” image too, Tracy. And I always think of you as the one who pulls everyone up and says the exact right thing.
    I’m sure outsiders wonder why we spend time on LJ. For me, this chain of ours is one of the big reasons.
    Thanks for being you, dear friend!

    Like

  8. I love your “chain of friends” image too, Tracy. And I always think of you as the one who pulls everyone up and says the exact right thing.

    I’m sure outsiders wonder why we spend time on LJ. For me, this chain of ours is one of the big reasons.

    Thanks for being you, dear friend!

    Like

  9. Oh, Vinca, your post made me teary–in a good way! I soooo get it–all of it! If I discuss my writing before I have at least one finished draft, I can’t do it anymore. Maybe that’s why I’m stuck on my current WIP and totaly frozen on the life-histories project I wanted to do.
    I LOVE the idea of drawing a circle around yourself and your project. That is exactly how writing feels to me–a safe place away from everything else. I also love the idea of someone standing guard to protect that space.
    I completely agree with what you said about all our writer friends. You all really are my friends even though I haven’t met you in real life. You all have been so important to me in so many ways. It is so lovely to have place where we are all pulling for each other and we all care about each other. I love this community and I’m glad to call you my friend, Vinca!

    Like

    • Okay, I just have to cry some more. Thank you, Sarah, for always getting where I’m coming from and understanding my struggles.
      I hope you can draw that circle around you and your stories, and let them come out in that safe place. And if that’s how you need to write (in solitude), I’m betting you’re right about the life-histories project being stuck. Talking is inherent to that kind of writing but then the talking deflates the will to write. Hmm. I wish I had an answer for you on that one but I don’t. Your WIP, on the other hand, can be resurrected if you get in your circle and let the story flow, don’t you think?
      Thanks for being a link in the chain.

      Like

  10. Oh, Vinca, your post made me teary–in a good way! I soooo get it–all of it! If I discuss my writing before I have at least one finished draft, I can’t do it anymore. Maybe that’s why I’m stuck on my current WIP and totaly frozen on the life-histories project I wanted to do.
    I LOVE the idea of drawing a circle around yourself and your project. That is exactly how writing feels to me–a safe place away from everything else. I also love the idea of someone standing guard to protect that space.
    I completely agree with what you said about all our writer friends. You all really are my friends even though I haven’t met you in real life. You all have been so important to me in so many ways. It is so lovely to have place where we are all pulling for each other and we all care about each other. I love this community and I’m glad to call you my friend, Vinca!

    Like

  11. Oh, Vinca, your post made me teary–in a good way! I soooo get it–all of it! If I discuss my writing before I have at least one finished draft, I can’t do it anymore. Maybe that’s why I’m stuck on my current WIP and totaly frozen on the life-histories project I wanted to do.

    I LOVE the idea of drawing a circle around yourself and your project. That is exactly how writing feels to me–a safe place away from everything else. I also love the idea of someone standing guard to protect that space.

    I completely agree with what you said about all our writer friends. You all really are my friends even though I haven’t met you in real life. You all have been so important to me in so many ways. It is so lovely to have place where we are all pulling for each other and we all care about each other. I love this community and I’m glad to call you my friend, Vinca!

    Like

  12. I never discuss my writing projects before they’re done with anyone. i think it’s important to nurture your ideas alone and allow them time to grow on the page. sometimes i even think we shouldn’t share first drafts unless the feedback is very gentle and general. you are right to want to find a safe place to create your story.
    i don’t think i could ever have come so far without my writing friends on LJ. i like to think of us a long, interconnected strand stretching across the country, lifting each other when we fall or watching us when we fly.
    Thank you for your friendship. You have always been there in my saddest moments and noticed when I’m working hard. I’m so glad I got to meet you at Rutgers.

    Like

    • “i like to think of us a long, interconnected strand stretching across the country, lifting each other when we fall or watching us when we fly.”
      What a beautiful image. We’re all so fortunate that it’s not only beautiful, but also a true image. We’ve got each other’s backs on this trek and I’m so grateful for that.
      I’m very glad we met at Rutgers and could continue our friendship online. Thanks for always being there for me, Sheela.

      Like

  13. I never discuss my writing projects before they’re done with anyone. i think it’s important to nurture your ideas alone and allow them time to grow on the page. sometimes i even think we shouldn’t share first drafts unless the feedback is very gentle and general. you are right to want to find a safe place to create your story.
    i don’t think i could ever have come so far without my writing friends on LJ. i like to think of us a long, interconnected strand stretching across the country, lifting each other when we fall or watching us when we fly.
    Thank you for your friendship. You have always been there in my saddest moments and noticed when I’m working hard. I’m so glad I got to meet you at Rutgers.

    Like

  14. I never discuss my writing projects before they’re done with anyone. i think it’s important to nurture your ideas alone and allow them time to grow on the page. sometimes i even think we shouldn’t share first drafts unless the feedback is very gentle and general. you are right to want to find a safe place to create your story.

    i don’t think i could ever have come so far without my writing friends on LJ. i like to think of us a long, interconnected strand stretching across the country, lifting each other when we fall or watching us when we fly.

    Thank you for your friendship. You have always been there in my saddest moments and noticed when I’m working hard. I’m so glad I got to meet you at Rutgers.

    Like

  15. Hope you’re counting me as part of the chain.
    I don’t talk much about my WIPs either. I have one writing partner to whom I send something every week and she replies with encouragement — but we don’t talk ABOUT the work and where its going. It helps me to know that someone is waiting to read what’s on the page, and it also stops me from needing to tell lots of people bits and pieces of what I’m doing or plan to do. She protects my bubble, you know? Golly. Wait til I tell Myra that she’s my William Faulkner!
    Trust yourself, honey. It will come.

    Like

    • You are absolutely a link in the chain, Linda. Your zen/quiet post was at the front of my brain yesterday when I started thinking about how fortunate I am to be part of this this supportive community.
      I like what you and Myra do: share encouragement. That seems safe and healthy. I’m glad you’ve got your own Faulkner!
      Thanks so much for all the kind words and encouragement. It means so much to me.

      Like

  16. Hope you’re counting me as part of the chain.
    I don’t talk much about my WIPs either. I have one writing partner to whom I send something every week and she replies with encouragement — but we don’t talk ABOUT the work and where its going. It helps me to know that someone is waiting to read what’s on the page, and it also stops me from needing to tell lots of people bits and pieces of what I’m doing or plan to do. She protects my bubble, you know? Golly. Wait til I tell Myra that she’s my William Faulkner!
    Trust yourself, honey. It will come.

    Like

  17. Hope you’re counting me as part of the chain.

    I don’t talk much about my WIPs either. I have one writing partner to whom I send something every week and she replies with encouragement — but we don’t talk ABOUT the work and where its going. It helps me to know that someone is waiting to read what’s on the page, and it also stops me from needing to tell lots of people bits and pieces of what I’m doing or plan to do. She protects my bubble, you know? Golly. Wait til I tell Myra that she’s my William Faulkner!

    Trust yourself, honey. It will come.

    Like

  18. Big hugs to you!
    I, too, feel that talking a work to death “lets the air out of the balloon.” That’s why I focus mostly on process, less on content. It’s a way to keep the energy of the work alive while I’m involved in it.
    I LOVE your big circle of support. Count me in! (I’m a hand squeezer). And I think it’s awesome that you have Faulkner standing guard. He’s such a badass–he won’t let any interference in!

    Like

    • Re: Big hugs to you!
      Oh, I’m going to have to think about your idea of focusing mostly on process, less on content. That sounds so healthy!
      Thanks for being part of the circle, Erin. I’ll always be able to recognize your support because you’re the hand squeezer!
      Faulkner is a bad-ass, exactly who I need on my side.

      Like

  19. Big hugs to you!
    I, too, feel that talking a work to death “lets the air out of the balloon.” That’s why I focus mostly on process, less on content. It’s a way to keep the energy of the work alive while I’m involved in it.
    I LOVE your big circle of support. Count me in! (I’m a hand squeezer). And I think it’s awesome that you have Faulkner standing guard. He’s such a badass–he won’t let any interference in!

    Like

  20. Big hugs to you!

    I, too, feel that talking a work to death “lets the air out of the balloon.” That’s why I focus mostly on process, less on content. It’s a way to keep the energy of the work alive while I’m involved in it.

    I LOVE your big circle of support. Count me in! (I’m a hand squeezer). And I think it’s awesome that you have Faulkner standing guard. He’s such a badass–he won’t let any interference in!

    Like

  21. I’m teary too
    Ooooooooo, Tracy–this post was exactly what I needed this morning. I loveloveLOVE your balloon image. I’ve done something similar with my new novel idea the past weeks. And I need to get in one of those protective circles. Can I have a fictional character guard mine? I’m thinking Beowulf.
    And it’s such a comfort and inspiration to be reminded of this helpful chain of writing friends, there with me in my dark doubtful moments, even when I forget.

    Like

    • Re: I’m teary too
      Beowulf it is! Keep your circle free of interference. Write your stories, let them flow. You are safe there.
      Thank you so much for being such a strong link in the writer chain, Dot. It means a lot knowing you have my back.

      Like

  22. I’m teary too
    Ooooooooo, Tracy–this post was exactly what I needed this morning. I loveloveLOVE your balloon image. I’ve done something similar with my new novel idea the past weeks. And I need to get in one of those protective circles. Can I have a fictional character guard mine? I’m thinking Beowulf.
    And it’s such a comfort and inspiration to be reminded of this helpful chain of writing friends, there with me in my dark doubtful moments, even when I forget.

    Like

  23. I’m teary too

    Ooooooooo, Tracy–this post was exactly what I needed this morning. I loveloveLOVE your balloon image. I’ve done something similar with my new novel idea the past weeks. And I need to get in one of those protective circles. Can I have a fictional character guard mine? I’m thinking Beowulf.

    And it’s such a comfort and inspiration to be reminded of this helpful chain of writing friends, there with me in my dark doubtful moments, even when I forget.

    Like

  24. I did smile, Nan. Thank you for being there for me and everyone else on this crazy journey.
    And I’ve probably said it before but your little pic is such a good reminder for me to stretch and breathe.

    Like

  25. I did smile, Nan. Thank you for being there for me and everyone else on this crazy journey.

    And I’ve probably said it before but your little pic is such a good reminder for me to stretch and breathe.

    Like

  26. You’re welcome, Laurie. I’m so glad we’ve connected and can support each other. And I love me some Aretha so that song is my new writing soundtrack. Thanks for being there.

    Like

  27. It’s so true about losing the power. Talking just deflates everything and does make me feel bad. Loose lips sink ships, and all that.
    Thanks for always being there and providing me with so many smiles, Lizzy.

    Like

  28. It’s so true about losing the power. Talking just deflates everything and does make me feel bad. Loose lips sink ships, and all that.

    Thanks for always being there and providing me with so many smiles, Lizzy.

    Like

  29. Thank you so much, Robin. I’m glad we’re linked on this journey, helping each other along the rocky trail. I can’t imagine doing this alone and I’m so glad I’m not.
    I’m looking forward to having that big celebration over your good news very soon!

    Like

  30. Thank you so much, Robin. I’m glad we’re linked on this journey, helping each other along the rocky trail. I can’t imagine doing this alone and I’m so glad I’m not.

    I’m looking forward to having that big celebration over your good news very soon!

    Like

  31. Now I’m teary again. Thank you, Melodye, for all you give to me AND everyone else here. You have an incredible spirit and I thank you for sharing it.
    Big hug…….

    Like

  32. Now I’m teary again. Thank you, Melodye, for all you give to me AND everyone else here. You have an incredible spirit and I thank you for sharing it.

    Big hug…….

    Like

  33. Wow, that was such a kind thing for you to write. Thank you, De. Guess I need to be weepy again for a while (but a good weepy, you know).
    You’re so right about the importance of our LJ connections, and the support system we have going here. I’m very glad you and I have connected and can share the journey.
    Thank you for all the smiles and inspiration you bring me with your wonderful posts.

    Like

  34. Wow, that was such a kind thing for you to write. Thank you, De. Guess I need to be weepy again for a while (but a good weepy, you know).

    You’re so right about the importance of our LJ connections, and the support system we have going here. I’m very glad you and I have connected and can share the journey.

    Thank you for all the smiles and inspiration you bring me with your wonderful posts.

    Like

  35. Okay, I just have to cry some more. Thank you, Sarah, for always getting where I’m coming from and understanding my struggles.
    I hope you can draw that circle around you and your stories, and let them come out in that safe place. And if that’s how you need to write (in solitude), I’m betting you’re right about the life-histories project being stuck. Talking is inherent to that kind of writing but then the talking deflates the will to write. Hmm. I wish I had an answer for you on that one but I don’t. Your WIP, on the other hand, can be resurrected if you get in your circle and let the story flow, don’t you think?
    Thanks for being a link in the chain.

    Like

  36. Okay, I just have to cry some more. Thank you, Sarah, for always getting where I’m coming from and understanding my struggles.

    I hope you can draw that circle around you and your stories, and let them come out in that safe place. And if that’s how you need to write (in solitude), I’m betting you’re right about the life-histories project being stuck. Talking is inherent to that kind of writing but then the talking deflates the will to write. Hmm. I wish I had an answer for you on that one but I don’t. Your WIP, on the other hand, can be resurrected if you get in your circle and let the story flow, don’t you think?

    Thanks for being a link in the chain.

    Like

  37. “i like to think of us a long, interconnected strand stretching across the country, lifting each other when we fall or watching us when we fly.”
    What a beautiful image. We’re all so fortunate that it’s not only beautiful, but also a true image. We’ve got each other’s backs on this trek and I’m so grateful for that.
    I’m very glad we met at Rutgers and could continue our friendship online. Thanks for always being there for me, Sheela.

    Like

  38. “i like to think of us a long, interconnected strand stretching across the country, lifting each other when we fall or watching us when we fly.”

    What a beautiful image. We’re all so fortunate that it’s not only beautiful, but also a true image. We’ve got each other’s backs on this trek and I’m so grateful for that.

    I’m very glad we met at Rutgers and could continue our friendship online. Thanks for always being there for me, Sheela.

    Like

  39. You are absolutely a link in the chain, Linda. Your zen/quiet post was at the front of my brain yesterday when I started thinking about how fortunate I am to be part of this this supportive community.
    I like what you and Myra do: share encouragement. That seems safe and healthy. I’m glad you’ve got your own Faulkner!
    Thanks so much for all the kind words and encouragement. It means so much to me.

    Like

  40. You are absolutely a link in the chain, Linda. Your zen/quiet post was at the front of my brain yesterday when I started thinking about how fortunate I am to be part of this this supportive community.

    I like what you and Myra do: share encouragement. That seems safe and healthy. I’m glad you’ve got your own Faulkner!

    Thanks so much for all the kind words and encouragement. It means so much to me.

    Like

  41. Re: Big hugs to you!
    Oh, I’m going to have to think about your idea of focusing mostly on process, less on content. That sounds so healthy!
    Thanks for being part of the circle, Erin. I’ll always be able to recognize your support because you’re the hand squeezer!
    Faulkner is a bad-ass, exactly who I need on my side.

    Like

  42. Re: Big hugs to you!

    Oh, I’m going to have to think about your idea of focusing mostly on process, less on content. That sounds so healthy!

    Thanks for being part of the circle, Erin. I’ll always be able to recognize your support because you’re the hand squeezer!

    Faulkner is a bad-ass, exactly who I need on my side.

    Like

  43. Re: I’m teary too
    Beowulf it is! Keep your circle free of interference. Write your stories, let them flow. You are safe there.
    Thank you so much for being such a strong link in the writer chain, Dot. It means a lot knowing you have my back.

    Like

  44. Re: I’m teary too

    Beowulf it is! Keep your circle free of interference. Write your stories, let them flow. You are safe there.

    Thank you so much for being such a strong link in the writer chain, Dot. It means a lot knowing you have my back.

    Like

  45. Oh man, I totally get what you mean about the lifeless balloon, just thinking about talking about a WIP makes me cringe inside. I can’t do it. When I’m in the middle of writing it’s pretty much a secret between me and the page. The most I can manage is a general sentence or two about the story and even that make me feel uneasy.
    Good going on the 700 words!

    Like

    • I really, really like that idea of writing being a secret between you and the page.
      I’m going to hold onto that image. Thanks!
      And thanks for the congrats on the words. It’s all progress, right?

      Like

  46. Oh man, I totally get what you mean about the lifeless balloon, just thinking about talking about a WIP makes me cringe inside. I can’t do it. When I’m in the middle of writing it’s pretty much a secret between me and the page. The most I can manage is a general sentence or two about the story and even that make me feel uneasy.
    Good going on the 700 words!

    Like

  47. Oh man, I totally get what you mean about the lifeless balloon, just thinking about talking about a WIP makes me cringe inside. I can’t do it. When I’m in the middle of writing it’s pretty much a secret between me and the page. The most I can manage is a general sentence or two about the story and even that make me feel uneasy.

    Good going on the 700 words!

    Like

  48. I really, really like that idea of writing being a secret between you and the page.
    I’m going to hold onto that image. Thanks!
    And thanks for the congrats on the words. It’s all progress, right?

    Like

  49. I really, really like that idea of writing being a secret between you and the page.

    I’m going to hold onto that image. Thanks!

    And thanks for the congrats on the words. It’s all progress, right?

    Like

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