Tuesday, September 18, 2012 | By: Lynn

Foggy Meanings

I'm an introvert, hence I’m someone who naturally goes for the deep meaning, the explanation, the "ya see, Timmy," when things in life go right and when they go wrong. When my children are going through tough times my mind tends to suggest things like, "This experience builds character." If a job opportunity doesn't pan out, my brain may suggest, "There's something better coming."

This tendency goes for my writing, as well. If I don't sell a story idea to a market or my latest book is rejected, once again, I find myself looking for and maybe assigning an abstract meaning to the rejection – it's a sign I'm not meant to write. Maybe this tendency is an influence of my fundamentalist upbringing. Nothing happens just because; there is a message or lesson. It can be exhausting. Such is the life of a member of a self-aware species, an introvert and the survivor of an intense upbringing.

It also can be exhausting to simply be present with what is. It's hard to stay put and persevere when things don't seem to be going well. To avoid the move away to something more comfortable or the quick explanation. If I do that maybe I'll see that my book is crap. Maybe I need to do some serious revisions. I have started more than one story but I can't sustain them, so am I lacking in creativity? I'm struggling with finding an audience, so what does that mean? I have a healthy readership but now I feel like I can't do something different for fear of losing them. If I stay in the place of how situations like this make me feel, what are the implications? Cue abstract message: "Ya see, Timmy, we don't always get what we want."

The problem with moving to some meaning that may not be applicable is it may not be useful for anything other than assuaging the discomfort of the truth. My story is crap. I do need to revise extensively. I need to spend time doing more research so I have more information to draw from. I don't have an audience and how am I going to find it? If I change my writing, I may lose readers, but do I still want to change?

Wise people, people who are not me, suggest that in staying put and not resorting to the ya see, Timmy, writers may find a more meaningful truth about themselves and their writing. It may be an opportunity if we can sit with the situation for a bit and let it tell us more. It may be an opportunity we don’t want to miss.

This parable seems fitting:

A man built his house on a cliff by the sea. He was excited about the view. Soon, a month-long fog rolled in. He quickly hated the place because it pained him that it wasn't the beautiful thing he had envisioned. He moved away. A week after he'd gone, the fog cleared.

I'm frequently the person who curses the fog, not having the patience to wait and learn, and concludes, "It wasn't meant to be." Have you had a situation in your writing life where you needed to wait and because you did, you learned something? Share?


RT Wolfe said...

Hmm. What is our goal? Is it to be as good as our favorite author? Is it to have a compact, but lovely group of followers? I am going for it...although I'm at that moment right now when I feel like I'm standing in front of my high school class getting ready to read my first poem. Yikes!
Great Post, HiDee!
-R.T. Wolfe
Black Creek Burning (Crimson Romance, Sept 24)