Dismayed, Dissatisfied and Overwhelmed

Yesterday I noted some of the things that came in to interrupt and distract me from writing daily. Today I’ll note what happened on the days that I did write — which was four days last week and three days — so far — this week.

Last monday I got into the office at 7:41am!  Hooray.  At first I hardly knew what to do. I wrote in my Morning Pages journal (from The Artist’s Way) then got down to work — for almost all day. I have stacks of notecards and papers all over the place, so I took one of the stacks which was on my main character, Talmas, and used it to update my character file on him, then threw the stack away.

Tuesday I got into the office at 7:26am, but then had to intersperse writing with other stuff. In the end I did three pages of back story on another character. I had a bunch of different notes because I’d kept changing my mind about how things were going to go, and finally pulled it together and into line with the other characters’ storylines. I waffled a good deal — is this really the relationship and sequence that makes the most sense and will be believed? I wasn’t sure. Then I realized I just flat-out liked it the best, so I went with that. It doesn’t seem like much progress, but it took most of the day.

Wednesday I thought hard about the book and got nowhere. I was all ready to rail on in my current journal about my frustration, dismay, lack of progress and sense that there’s both too much here and nothing at the same time, then discovered that I’d already done that. In my journal entry from March 1, 2007

Ahem. That’s five years ago. When I was starting The Enclave. Which was mildly alarming — the fact it’s been almost exactly five years since I started a book. Of course it doesn’t seem like I’m “starting” Sky because I’ve been picking at it for about four years now in between all the other things, and do have seven chapters written.  But since it’s been more a process of two steps forward, one step back, maybe it just seems like I should be further along because of the time, not the continuity of work.

Anyway, here’s what I wrote at the start of The Enclave, 5 years ago:

“[This morning] I was bugged, condemned and dismayed because I’d started to look through my notes and was not only dissatisfied — it’s not right, it’s not compelling , it’s not going in the right direction, I don’t like it — but overwhelmed by all the ideas and info and possibilities, and at the same time clueless as to which to choose. When I finished wrestling with it — and by then it was only noon — I was exhausted!”

Exactly how I felt with Sky. And still do most of the time. Trying to get my head around the world, which is only partially conceived, and the characters and some kind of actual plot  is both overwhelming and confusing. Yes, that event would be an okay thing to happen, and that detail of setting is cool, and this conversation would be nice, and yeah, I did have the idea that he would rescue people, and then there are the Mole People, those are cool, but I have no idea how they relate… and the ma’el– Should that be their name or should I change it? — and the Artifacts – how do they fit in? And…

AAAARG.

So I went off to Good Reads, which I’d only just learned about and read some nice reviews about The Light of Eidon

Ahem.

But I did want to set down one more quote from that same journal entry in March of 2007  because it also applies to me working on Sky. I guess it’s not surprising that I would wrestle with the same personal flaws and tendencies every time, but it always seems Amazing and Startling to me when I discover that I do.

So, continuing from the March 1, 2007 entry:

“I realized I’d had unrealistic expectations (ie, “see the entire storyline in pleased and confident clarity”) and that of course it would be like this (chaos, too much to process, nothing that seems good) and I should have set some sort of specific and reasonable goal like, “look through the material and see if anything occurs to me…” rather than beat myself up for reasons that are absurd and even… well… insane…”

So that is what I’m trying to do. Just look through the material and see where God leads me. Without expecting it all to fall into place at once. Or even in a day. 🙂

10 thoughts on “Dismayed, Dissatisfied and Overwhelmed

    1. karenhancock

      Thanks, KC. Hmm. I’m not usually terribly excited when I get my edits back… more like terrified… (Okay, that’s an exaggersation, but it fit the sentence. LOL) Are you talking about editorial comments or something else?

      Reply
  1. Susan Donetti

    Boy, do I relate. I want to know how it all fits together when I write. Sometimes, I think I have it and then I read something I wrote and think, wait, that won’t work, darn it, what about….And I’m off down the rabbit hole with Alice. Sometimes, I stay there for days! The tea is awesome! LOL

    Reply
    1. karenhancock

      Oh, tea! I shall have to get my fancy tea cup out and have a little party when I get really frustrated. I love it! Being down in the rabbit hole with Alice is a wonderful description of how it is!

      Reply
  2. Brandi

    I have been struggling with journaling…thinking that I really don’t have the time or it is really not that important. Watching you realize the cycles that you are in and have experienced before due to your journaling is encouraging. Thank you so much for your honesty in the process and in your experiences; it is refreshing to know that I am the only one who doesn’t have it all together.

    Reply
    1. karenhancock

      I have found journaling to be immensely useful. At first I used it just to get my brain and hands to work together in setting down words at all, then to try and order my thoughts, or chase down a cause and effect sequence of events. And later I found it was very helpful in reminding me of the what the process works for me. Those barren blank times, the times of too many ideas, the times when it starts to click… I recommend journaling to everyone! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Christine Watson

    Praying for you, Karen, as God leads you through this journey. He has anointed your writing more than maybe any other author that I have ever come across and I know that He has something incredible in store for Sky. Thank you for being faithful to this gift that He has placed in you and for continually seeking Him for His will in all of it. It shows!

    Reply
    1. karenhancock

      Thank you, Christine. I appreciate the prayers — and the encouraging words. It’s always good to stand back and recall that it’s not my project but His, and even if I have no idea where we’re going, He does.

      Reply

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