Saturday, April 13, 2013

Waiting and My Wandering Mind

(I wrote this on Wednesday, but since the hospital had not-so-trustworthy wifi and since I’ve been bouncing between caring for my husband and my boys, this is the first chance I’ve had to post this.)

Right now I’m in a waiting room, awaiting my husband’s doctor to give me the report on his surgery.  My mind should be solely focused on his surgery, but it’s actually on something else entirely.  Now, this may be because I’ve been so worried and so stressed that my mind is actually trying to give me a break.  Or it could be something else, like the fact that I’ve been up since 4 AM and have gotten about 5 hours of sleep in 4 days and my mind is short circuiting.  Either way, I’m here to write about the thoughts in my head.

Which are…critiques!  I’ve been hosting open rounds on my blog for quite some time now, and I love it.  I love, love, LOVE seeing people come and offer helpful, honest, constructive feedback in the attempt to help another writer make the best story possible.  But, I’ve wondered lately; what would the critiques look like if they were blind?  Meaning, what if you were critiquing work, without seeing what others are saying about the same piece? 

Don’t misunderstand, I don’t think after the original critique that others are just following suit—I’ve seen plenty of varying opinions on one small sampling—but I do wonder how often and how much the first critique can influence the rest.  So, in a fun little twist on things, the next critique round will be blind.  I’ll set the comments to be moderated, and on a set date and time, I’ll open the flood gates, at which point I’ll close off commenting.  Only I will be able to see the critiques until they’re released.  I’m really excited to see how this works out.  I also hope the entrants are as excited about this opportunity as I am.  It’ll also (probably) be a small pool of entrants, too, just to beta-test it.  And, like always, the entrants will be anonymous.

Speaking of critiques, the amount of entries has been steady, but I hope to keep spreading the word and getting a bigger turnout for all of you to benefit from.  So if you have writer friends, writing groups, a grandma who secretly writes steamy romances, send them along.  There ain’t no party like a critiquing party, in my opinion (poor joke, I know—there’s that lack of sleep kicking in).

(My anxiety is climbing at a rapid pace, now that I’ve written this out and cleared what was distracting me.)

Anyway, I continue to be all over the map.  My “Dear Diary” post helped, much more than I thought it would, but I’m still drifting.  If I had to describe myself in a word, I’d say broken.  I’m fixable, but in terms of repair, a part needs to be ordered, and of course it’s out of stock/on order.  In an interesting turn of events, one of my voices started up again, though, so I know I still work somewhat, which is great.  She’s been quiet, not the usual loud mouth I’m used to her being, but she’s present and speaking regularly.  It’s like all my characters are in a waiting room, like I am now, waiting for the Doctor to come in and give some news. The one who is speaking again is definitely the character to instigate a riot amongst my other voices, so undoubtedly they’ll be demanding answers soon, since they’ve been waiting so very long.

As for my editor, I’m allowing myself to get through this surgery with my husband and his recovery (dependent on what the prognosis is), so it looks like I’m slated to start in mid-May on the work front.  It’s totally doable—at least, that’s what I keep telling myself.  You know when an Olympic diver hits the platform and sustains a sidelining injury?  They eventually have to get back on that concrete platform, put their toes to the edge and stare down the water, stare down the fear, 30 feet below. 

Hello, water.  You’re so far away, and I feel unstable and wonky staring down at you, but I will plunge head-first into your glassy, cold surface and come out okay.  I will.  I may be shaking-in-my-speedo-about-to-pee-my-pants afraid, but I did effortlessly before, and I will again, after conquering this mounting fear of failure.  The first dive may not be as graceful as I’d like, but it’ll be a dive—much better than standing back, afraid to even peer over the edge, like I’ve been for months.  You will not scare me away, not this time.

What fears do you have, and how do you face them?  Leave your comments below and share with me your witty analogies, cause I bet they’re good.

Annnnd my husband’s surgery is done, way ahead of schedule.  He’s going to be fine, thank goodness! Holy crow, I can breathe.  No signs of what they suspected. 

Today turned into a great day, and that dive is looking really doable now.  <3


  1. First, congratulations on your husband's successful surgery--wonderful news!!! :)

    Second, it is so strange, but I was thinking the exact thoughts you expressed about your "blind critique" idea earlier this week. I have no idea why I was even thinking about that, but I am really excited that you are going to try it out! :)

    My fears? Getting old(er), failing as a writer, not having any sort of decent career, just being a failure and a financial disaster. How do I face the fears? One day at a time, working to make my writing the best it can be. (Haven't really figured out the career--aside from writing--or the getting old part. lol)

  2. Very happy to read that your husband's surgery went well. My mother has had cancer twice in her life, and I've spent many a day and night terrified yet somehow hopeful in waiting rooms...Keep doing what you're doing. You're making it through and keeping strong, even if you don't feel it! Sharing with us allows us to send you healing energy. I hope you feel it!

    As far as fears go - well, I'm afraid of so much. But when it comes to my writing, for the first time in my life I felt a fear so powerful that I actually couldn't write. I felt in my heart that nothing I wrote, no story line, no character, no simple sentence was worth writing if it came from 'me'. I was afraid to believe in my own ability and gift as a writer.

    So i went with the fear flow. Let it take hold. Felt it. Wrestled with it. And finally, I was able to write in my journal. And then write a short poem. And then finally 'write' my way out of the part of the fear that was paralyzing me. Poetry helped me do this.

    I think my fear stems from one small but extremely powerful voice that says: you don't matter.

    this extends into my writing life and cripples my ability to create and trust a creative instinct that I know I was born with. That existed before this one little voice was able to have such power.

    And so...I've been able to write again but the only way i can is if i literally pump myself up with courage. Be as brave as I feel when writing - BEFORE i sit down to write.

    I'm thinking of getting a tattoo on my wrist that says 'brave writer'.

    Be well. Thank you for all you do for the writing community.

  3. K.T., I'm so glad to hear that your husband did well in surgery and doesn't have whatever they thought he might. On to full recovery for him.
    I'm afraid of everything--the dark, bugs, snakes, spiders, all the things that creep and slink, nuclear threats, pandemics, world hunger, the dwindling of global resources and the rise of global temperatures, Alzheimer’s. I’m afraid of the world my grandchildren will have to live in, of the lack of justice and compassion, the invasion of privacy, forced conformity, corporate greed, judicial dishonesty, radical extremism. Also of not leaving a legacy to my children and grandchildren that’s worth a damn. Maybe I can’t write after all. My good days are all behind me and none of them were great.
    Thank you for the opportunity to let loose. Best wishes to your family as you all continue to put your lives back in order.

  4. Thanks, everyone, for posting your comments, sharing your fears and for wishing my husband and family well.

    I, too, struggle with the same things you 3 do, and it was quite comforting to see I'm not alone. Maybe we can create a fountain of youth? A friend of mine always says "You're only as old as you make yourself feel". I think there is some truth to that.

    As for great days in writing, I think for most none feel great until we get that much-needed validation that the struggle was all worth it. But if we give up, we'll never get that, so we can't give up (unless, of course, writing makes you miserable--then it's not great at all, no matter what).

    Stick with me, and we'll stride forward together!