I Got Nothin’

I’m in a stretch of being busy with the day job, exhausted with winter, and struggling with self-doubt on the writing.

Ideas that once seemed as clear as this

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Have now blurred into this

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Or maybe new glasses will help. I have an appointment this week to check into that….

I should be back next week with a book review. May your days be brighter!

87 thoughts on “I Got Nothin’

    • Thank you for the encouragement! This all-day snow is not helping my outlook, but my fingers are crossed that next week will be more Spring-like and I’ll feel my mood lifting. I hope you’ll be out of your rut before then!

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  1. Keep going. I’ve been through loads of ‘doubt- blizzards;’ and they are always gruelling, but I come to your Blog regularly, and you are talented. My book has just been published, and after a brief fan-fare there can be an engulfing silence which challenges your confidence and makes you ask whether it is worth the time to continue. I am somewhat in that place now, but I will keep going, because I have no choice, if I am to truly call myself a writer. You too, have that same challenge, and you will rise to it, I’m sure: you have all the qualities

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    • These words of encouragement mean a lot, Peter, coming from such a talented writer as you. My “doubt-blizzard” is joined today by an all-day snowfall, which is not helping my weariness with Winter. Everything I’ve read from published authors suggests your current feelings are normal—and you will come through them as you work on the next book. What is it about writers (and creative folks of all types) that many of us seem to have an overabundance of self-doubt? I would never want to be wrongly confident, but a little more belief in my abilities would go such a long way.

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    • I may be one of the few bloggers I know who hasn’t taken some kind of break. If this rut continues, I may just do it. Although, I’m really hoping for a shot of Spring at some point that will help get me going again!

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  2. Racing stripes in the sky? Cool.
    I think this winter is slogging thoughts everywhere. Sometimes better to change gears and let it simmer a while…sounds like neurons battling the story out without your knowledge, so you might as well occupy your self elsewhere and doing something out of routine…if you had energy, and it would stop snowing! Pictures of ordinary things are always a good start…or a nap. yes. Nap wins!

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    • I have some photos of those contrails when they were crisper, too. That was on a morning drive to work, and I think most of those jets were coming out of New York and heading for points west. At one point, I counted 13 ahead of me. (I was not driving, by the way! My husband’s hands were firmly on the wheel while I snapped photos. ;) )

      If I don’t come up with some blog post ideas soon, I may just have to take a break. I may be one of the few bloggers who hasn’t done it yet, and maybe it’s getting to be time that I do. This wretched snow is making things worse today. It’s been snowing since about 7 am and won’t end until this evening sometime. At least the roads aren’t getting covered, but it’s sticking everywhere else. I’m beginning to think the Cherry Blossom Festival will be over before any of the cherries start to bloom! I think they’re going with that nap idea until things perk up. Maybe next week? But I’m not holding my breath!

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    • Around here, March is usually a nicer month, with a lot of blooming flowers and stretches of nice weather. Today? Snow, snow, snow. Yuck, yuck, yuck. I know this Winter has been tough in a lot of places, but Spring can really get here any day now. There are a lot of grumpy robins and groundhogs around here!

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  3. I just got a text from my son….they’re expecting another round of snow,,,,at the end of March! Unreal….no wonder everyone is feeling under the weather (Now I understand what that old expression really means!)

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    • Yep, it’s been snowing all day around here, and it’s sticking to the grass and accumulating. At least the roads aren’t too bad, but they could freeze up overnight. The few blooming snow iris are living up to their names this year! My light-therapy lamp has really helped this winter, but all this snow and cold is starting to take its toll.

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  4. March is my least favorite month in terms of productivity. It always seems like I am constantly in the waiting zone, unable to move on to the next thing because other things keep interfering. That in-between stage of seasons doesn’t help, time drags but there isn’t enough of it. You will snap out of it, I’m sure!

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    • Today’s constant snowfall isn’t helping, but I have moved up in my thoughts on my writing. I’ve gotten past the “It’s all garbage” stage and now can think “Some of it’s not too bad.” Baby steps to be sure. But at least they are forward and not backward. We’ll see if I come up with any blogging ideas in the next few weeks. If not, maybe it’ll be time for a break—something I’ve never done before.

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    • I hope being back in the groove means Life has settled down for you! (My post notifications are set to weekly, so you may have posted on this, but I won’t be seeing it until Thursday.) Let’s hope that April will bring a breath of fresh air to everyone and give us a chance to enjoy our family, friends, and interests.

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  5. You are so funny! I love the pictures, and laughed at the blurry sky one. I totally relate to that and hope your winter ends soon and that glasses help. That can’t be fun to be squinting or having headaches (or whatever is bothering you).

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    • It’s been snowing all day, so I feel like Winter will never end. And my eyes are definitely not happy with all the time I’m spending on the computer these days. That’s probably one reason why my prescription has likely changed since last year. Everything’s a bit fuzzy, whether I’m looking close, middle, or far. So it’s “yes” on both squinting and headaches recently. This new eye doctor has good recommendations, so I’m hoping for a good fit this year. ;) But five hours of creating report graphics of Native American stone tools and ceramics was about all my eyes could take today!

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      • Ouch! You sound like you need computer glasses to wear only when you’re on the computer. And I can’t imagine snow right now. We’ve had several beautiful weeks of spring and pretty mild temperatures. I’ll blow hard your direction to see if I can send some warmer weather your way.

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        • I have progressive lenses, but I’m going to ask the doctor if maybe I should have a pair specifically for computer work. I do so much of it, and maybe that would help. We’re supposed to have a colder than normal spring, and so far, that’s absolutely the case. This is far too late for snow around here, and yet here it is. I’m really hoping it’ll be gone in a couple of days!

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    • Normally, there would be a lot more flowers blooming around here by now. Today? Snow, snow, and more snow, and it’s only 30 degrees. This can’t be suburban DC! But as I noted to 4AMWriter above, my writerly thoughts are slowly improving. And the encouragement from you and other readers is definitely helping. :)

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  6. That blurry view is still a beautiful one. It’ll all come into focus soon. Reading always helps but if not then might as well get out there and do some snow angels! :)

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    • There were a heck of a lot of planes that morning, probably heading out of New York for western destinations…. Amazing how those contrails start out so crisp and then blur into the clouds, really. It’s been snowing all day today, and my eyes are blurring from creating graphics in PaintShop Pro for an archaeological report. Tonight, I should probably step away from the computer and take a brisk walk and then just take it easy.

      (Sometimes reading makes things worse for me. I’ll read something good and then think I’ll never come anywhere close!)

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      • I hope you enjoyed your walk in the snow! :) Ironically, it always helps to get away from the computer. I know what you mean about reading books but sometimes they fill me with such awe that I can’t help but be inspired. Writing is such a pouring out that we need to fill ourselves up with something (whether it’s with books or the outdoors) before we can pour our own words out again.

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  7. There are lots of stories in your fog JM – new glasses might help, but so might a smile or a touch of spring! Just keep doing what you know you love, they’ll emerge, bit by bit – and all the better for it :)

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    • That touch of Spring would be greatly appreciated anytime now. ;) It’s been snowing all day, and I’m so ready for a stretch of nice temperatures and sunny skies. At some point, it will happen. But then we’ll probably head straight into summer heat and humidity! New glasses would probably help a lot, too. But the best thing I could do for my eyes and brain is probably to step away from the computer this evening….

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    • Brigitte, when will Winter end? It looks like Christmas outside, not the first week of Spring! I should be seeing all kinds of flowers blooming, but I think this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival will be lacking in cherry blossoms. :( I hope your weather isn’t as wintry as ours and that you’re having better luck on the writing side than I am.

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  8. Not true! You have something not too many can claim: Honesty and courage. These are huge attributes that will help you meet your goals as a writer. I will stand by my prediction.

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    • The wonderful support and encouragement I receive from you and others helps more than you can know. Even though it takes time to work through these stretches, your words help pull me through. Winter’s refusal to give way to Spring is making things a bitter harder, though. I can’t believe it’s been snowing all day at the end of March!

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    • I have a facial tomorrow night, and I’m really looking forward to it. Work is really busy right now, even with snow piling up today. I shouldn’t complain about that, though, because it pays the bills. ;)

      I’ve always been terribly hard on myself, even when objectively I know there’s no reason for it. At some point, I will get past it!

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    • Thanks, Ileandra! I’m trying. Sometimes I only get a few sentences down, but that’s better than nothing, right? Some real Spring weather would do wonders, but all day long, I’ve been looking at more snow falling. Ugh!

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  9. We all go through these lows. I blame winter. It’s taken its toll on a lot of folks in the eastern U.S. We Chicagoans were just getting used to the idea of spring with some nice days well into the 50s, and BAM! another arctic front plunged into our area, bringing a dusting of snow and temps that won’t make it out of the 20s today. Arrgh! Hang in there, I guess…what else can we do, right?

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    • Everyone I know has had enough winter. And it’s still snowing here. I’m hoping it’ll be gone in a couple of days, but this is really getting old! We topped out at 32 today when we should be in the upper 50s. What I wouldn’t give for average temperatures and some sun. Sigh. I’m hanging in there, but obviously this post shows how hard that is. Let’s hope that this really is winter’s last gasp. Please!

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  10. Well you know what lady, I got nothin’ when it comes to snow! Nothin’ no snow nothin’ all winter, no siree, and now I’ve given up hope I have for this year! It’s definitely spring here (although it was pretty cold yesterday). I love spring and warm weather but it doesn’t feel right when we haven’t had a proper winter, sure we’ve had bucket loads of rain and floods, but no snow and no real frosty mornings. Sorry you’re all gloomy though, I’m sure things will perk up soon! Maybe write something completely different, go and sit on a park bench with a notebook and pencil and write poetry :)

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    • Right now, all the park benches will be covered with several inches of snow, and the temperature is hovering at the freezing point. ;) We’re running 20+ degrees below normal and have been much of the winter. It’s been a wild one everywhere, it seems, and everyone I know is absolutely ready for it to end. I know a few days of some sunshine and a warm breeze would work miracles for me and others.

      I’m glad you’re getting some better weather and are drying out after all that rain. I would have been happy to send you some of our snow if there had been any way to do it. :)

      Poetry, hmm? Maybe something that starts with “Snow, snow, go away….” :)

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  11. I feel you. I’m in a super busy period right now. Seems to be the nature of my day job and client work, though. Next month could slow down. Still, I’m glad to have work even if it keeps me from my writing labors of love. Hang in there–you know what Buddhists say: everything changes. This too shall pass and soon you’ll be back to your WIP.

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    • We’re not usually so busy in the winter, especially one as snowy as this has been. But we just to have to roll with it. But my eyes (and right wrist) are not happy with all the detailed computer graphics I’m working on. I’m willing to bet the OD will tell me I need to take more breaks from the computer.

      Surprisingly, I wrote 750+ words this evening. Nearly all of it dialogue, but it’s a start on an important scene. Maybe it will help crystallize my thoughts and help me get more words on the page. I hope you’ll soon be back with your writing, too. Not being able to write when we would really like to is as frustrating as the brick wall, I think.

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      • I have hand/wrist problems too–carpal tunnel. My OT taught me nerve exercises that alleviate the symptoms and keep it in check.
        I’m hoping next month opens up windows of writing time. We’ll see.

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        • I’m lucky that carpal tunnel hasn’t set in. But when I feel twinges in my wrist or metacarpals, I know it’s time to do something else if at all possible. Surgery is really something I’d love to avoid since it doesn’t always help. So keep up those exercises!

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  12. This has been a terrible winter. I can’t remember one this long and never ending. We’re supposed to get a little tomorrow, but no more than an inch (they better be right!) I feel so bad for you and anyone getting snowed on this late in the year! Of course this weather is bound to mess with your creativity! Temps are going up this weekend (at least here) hopefully this storm is the exclamation point at the end of … winter is over!

    We can hope. :)

    Keep at it JM! You know we’re behind you. :)

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    • How did you fare with the snow? They messed up the forecast so badly for us, I hope they didn’t do the same for you. The winds are still howling down here, but at least the snow stopped!

      We start warming up tomorrow, and of course, it’s supposed to rain on Friday. We don’t need it right now since the ground is saturated from all the snow melt this winter. Ugh.

      I did manage to write 750 words last night, so we’ll see if that continues… Fingers crossed! I hope you’re having a better time with the conference planning!

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      • We were actually able to avoid the snow – I was so happy about that! But the wind? Whew! Almost knocked me over as I walked from my building to the parking lot. It’s bad out there – but I’d rather the wind over the snow at this point! The temps should start going up now and even if it rains, as long as it’s warm, I’ll take it!!!

        Glad you were able to get some writing done. Yeah! Every little bit counts :)

        Thanks (about the conference). Avoided a minor crisis today but it’s almost over and I can get back to my usual routine. Looking forward to it.

        Keep on Writing! (That should be a bummer sticker).

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    • We’ll see if I can get that book review done for next week. ;) Some sunshine today, but it’s cold and windy as anything. Supposedly we’ll start warming up tomorrow, but there’s also gray skies and rain for much of the 10-day forecast. Maybe it’s wrong and we’ll really see sun? Please? :)

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    • I’m really grumpy that my prescription has obviously changed in only a year. I know I’m in that 10-year period when vision can make a lot of changes, but I’m ready for it to stabilize now! Spring is supposed to be colder than average this year, but at some point we really do have to warm up! And I’ll be so ready when we do. :)

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  13. We all have periods of downtime. You’ve had a great burst of output and creativity, and now your head and spirit just need a little recovery time. Creating is a lot like running a marathon (or doing a triathlon, since so many different talents and motivations are involved) – we can keep going at top speed for only so long.

    I’d advise not to get discouraged your clarity’s waned somewhat. You may have to set down your pen for a bit, but your determination and love for your projects won’t let you just dump them. We’ve already seen how dedicated you are to them, through your posts. So, no worries they’ll get thrown out with the bath water. …and my metaphors are flying all over the place, so I’d better hang up, now!

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    • The marathon/triathlon analogy is perfect for writing. We can start out feeling great, thinking we’ll reach the finish line in good time. Then reality hits. ;)

      I think part of my frustration is knowing that I’m coming up on the 5-year anniversary of the day I first sat down and began the work on SATC (14 April 2009). If you’d told me then that I’d be starting it over from scratch in late 2013, I might never have bothered to start writing.But despite stretches like this, I’ve also had some great times while writing it. And I’m trying to recapture some of those feelings. It’s harder now—because I really would like a wider audience to appreciate it. And I know now how far my writing’s had to come. But there are still no guarantees that this version will be good enough

      It would’ve been easier(?) if I’d started writing in my 20s or 30s. I would’ve had plenty of time to hone my skills. But that wasn’t the case, and I feel like I need to make up for lost time. Of course, most of us can’t become better at something overnight or become skilled in a few years. So we’ll see how it goes. If I’m encouraging others to stick with it, I should take my own advice, right? ;)

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      • You would think starting early would give a person a leg up. But, emotionally, most people aren’t ready to share their work before a certain age. I like to think being a professional and learning to handle the ups and downs of adult life prepares the creative side of each of us for labor and discipline, as well as failure or success. Someone granted a book advance or fashion contract or record deal when they’re still young can cause a lot of screw-ups. But, if you’ve already experienced getting a grant proposal shot down or being rejected for a job or whatever, it makes the process of being critiqued and edited easier. (Obviously, I’m hoping.) ;)

        I started writing for pleasure when I was in junior high. But I can’t say that was honing my skills. I didn’t have any skills, at that point! I just started to figure out how much I enjoyed putting stories down on paper. My technique was negligible until I focused on the craft as well as the art.

        So, that’s just my long-winded way of saying I actually think folks who start writing “later” have it easier, in some ways, because they don’t have to unlearn all the bad habits of their youth.

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        • Having drawn no interest from agents when I first queried the original version of SATC, I’m afraid I have to report that it still hurt like all hell. ;) But I didn’t give up, even then. So maybe that is a sign of maturity. Had I taken the book through more beta readers who were objective, I probably would have realized earlier that it wasn’t going to work as written. I’m hoping this next time around will bring different results!

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