Writing vs Gremlins

Writing vs Gremlins

We’re dedicated, excited, motivated writers, right? Determined – even more so after last month’s ice-bucket dunking – to make our deadlines and achieve our goals. We have story boards, plot outlines and projected publishing timelines. We are serious, professional, business-minded women dedicated to take our writing careers to the next level.

Then why is it so easy for life’s little gremlins to rear their ugly heads and distract us?

Okay, so granted, some of those gremlins are unavoidable and do actually make life better. The day job pays the bills (or at least some of them 😉 ), and if you’re one of the lucky ones, you enjoy what you do for a living or at least the people you do it with. Parents, siblings, kiddos, spouse, and various other folks you enfold under your “family” umbrella: they fill our hearts with love and bring happiness and meaning to our lives, but let’s face it, they can all be huge time sucks, bless their hearts. And anyone ever notice how enticing laundry or scrubbing toilets can become when faced with a blank page or worse, characters who simply refuse to cooperate?

And then there’s those damned gremlins that are wholly self-generated. My own personal top three? An addiction to reading, a struggle with depression, and tied for third place – the internet and the television. But you know what the real kicker is here? I know my problems, in fact, I am an expert at berating myself for my own shortcomings, but contrary to the old adage, admitting you have a problem is not the first step. It’s a darn good place to start, but I think the saying needs tweaking, and in my uber-overconfident writer/editor mode, I’m going to take liberties and do just that.

Owning up to your problems and admitting them publicly to people who will hold you accountable for getting your butt in gear and doing what is within your control to fix those problems in the first step. (And trust me world, this group knows a thing or two about holding a person accountable and meting out appropriate behavior-changing punishment when necessary.)

So, here goes…

Hi, my name is Dawn, and I’m an introverted procrastinator with sloth-like tendencies and unbalanced brain chemicals, and I require support – both loving and ass-kicking – to help me:

  • Remember to take my meds and stay active, as these are the two best ways to keep my brain balanced.
  • Achieve my writing goals first thing every day before life can get in the way and derail my good intentions.
  • Limit my reading time to only that which is necessary to help recharge my introvert side and allow me to go forth in the world and interact with others.

(As for my internet/TV issues, I figure if I can put a check mark by the first three, then what the hell … everyone deserves a good vice.)

Anyone else?

Dawn Temple

Back when her twin sons were young enough for daily naps, Dawn Temple took advantage of those quiet moments to pursue her dream of becoming a published romance writer. Sneaking in an hour here and there paid off in 2005 when she sold her first book, To Have And To Hold, to Silhouette Special Edition. She managed to secret away enough time to write and sell the second book in her Land’s Cross series, Moonlight And Mistletoe, but alas, her boys outgrew naps and Dawn let go of those stolen moments with her laptop to enjoy life with her two little guys and her big guy, hubby of 21 years.
But now, as an officially retired stay-at-home mom, Dawn has once again found the time and the creative drive to return to writing, and this time around, she’s set her sights on independent publishing. Her first self-published book, Peace of Heart, is scheduled for release in 2017.

5 thoughts on “Writing vs Gremlins

  1. Ah, it’s the old adage we hear on airplanes: Put your own oxygen mask on before helping someone else….

    For me, the oxygen mask is meditation practice, which has the added benefit of making the voices of the Girls in the Basement a little clearer as I’m writing. It’s taught me to trust the Girls and the process much more than I ever have. I won’t say every day I spend at the keyboard is a joy, or that I write on-topic every single session, but the process in general is much improved for me.

    And you’re absolutely right, Dawn — whatever our practices are, they have to be something we do as an ongoing support. If I slack off on taking care of myself (don’t eat clean, don’t exercise, don’t meditate), then I’m just asking for trouble. The writing is usually the first to go. (It doesn’t do wonders for my relationships, either. My Dear Him will casually mention that I’m a bit snippy, and he’s a pretty laid-back guy so that’s when I know it’s baaaaaaaad.)

    For me, the ass-kicking would likely make me never want to participate, so I’m glad there’s room in our little group for a more gentle approach, too. 🙂

  2. It’s been my experience that asking for help, whether in the softer, gentler manner or the ass-kicking variety, is hard to do. While I think it is fair to say that we all need a push in the right direction from time to time, for me anyway, those low times seem inevitably wrapped in self-pitying, self-deprecating isolation. Put simply, I withdraw. This is a bad place for me to be. I don’t write. I don’t get out. I don’t do much of anything that is not absolutely required of me, and sometimes not even that. Worse, I KNOW this, and yet I go to that place anyway. Willingly. Unsurprisingly, this leads me to ask what this penchant says about my character, which has no good answer and many bad ones. I feel more morose. I withdraw more. A vicious cycle.

    So Dawn, I agree wholeheartedly that admitting you have a problem is a place to start, but the true blessing of this group is having at our disposal loving friends to hold us accountable with support and with an enthusiasm to mete out appropriate behavior-changing “motivation” not punishment (please see my 03.02.15 post).

    So yeaaaaah, that sounds all peachy, but my problem has always been actually reaching out for that help. So my pledge to our group (and to any other writer) is that without judgment I will make every effort to be there for you when you are low, when you need to confess that you are slacking off, or when you just need to vent or have a good cry. In return, let us all pledge to the infinitely harder task of calling, emailing, texting, hell-showing up at someone’s front door whenever you feel yourself slipping. Let’s see if together we can all becomes members of the Dry Team.

  3. WOW – no wonder we are friends – we all fight the same demons! AND we are all kick-ass talented writers, but I agree with Sandra that’s the only ass-kicking I’m willing to participate in! It is so EASY to slip into a FUNK (sounds less clinical than depression). For me, that means hiding in my house, wearing pjs for days on end, ignoring personal hygiene because who the hell cares, it’ll be days before I have human interaction … and the ‘cool’ thing about being a writer is that when asked what I’ve been doing all day, I can say “working on my writing” and NOBODY knows it a total LIE! All I’ve really done is veg out in front of the television, sleep, veg some more, eat like a teen-ager (which means existing on junk food and carrots — yeah, I love carrots!) So, I’ve taken the proverbial bull by the horns, and I’m moving back to civilization where I will be required to interact with other humans every day, even if that is only my husband. Only now, I have the move to use as a REASON (read excuse) for avoiding my writing.

    Meanwhile, I continue to add chapters to “The Technology World of Terri” YES! I feel cursed by this blessing of an electronic world. I think my electronics plot against me on a routine schedule – I PROMISE you I have more issues than ANYBODY ELSE YOU HAVE EVER KNOWN! I’m hoping moving back to civilization will also help to cure this curse.

    Where does that leave me vis-a-via our group — well, I have plans to spend the day writing! Anyone believe me?
    Love you guys,
    Terri – The Technology Cursed member of our group

  4. I believe. You didn’t say what portion of the day you will be writing…so as long as you write when it’s day….does that count…I think so!

  5. Crissy – Fess up. You’re just angling for a top notch Christmas present with that remark. You don’t fool me!!!

    Terri – Stop reading this and get back to your story!

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