When You Know You’re Doing It Wrong

Hello, fans of David! Don’t you worry, while I’m monopolizing his blog today, he’s hopped over to Marcia Richard’s blog, who’s actually on my blog and… it’s a wonderful circle. Just follow the breadcrumbs! As for me, I’ll just get down to business.

I’ve been feeling completely uninspired lately. Usually, I blame everything else but myself…

1. My friends are all over my case and won’t let me work;

2. My job’s making me tired and I don’t have time to write.

3. My dog ate the homework… or uh, I mean the outlines.

Except this time… my friends are supportive of my work; I don’t have a job right now, and I don’t have a dog… or cat… or even a fish. (Mainly because I’m scared for their health.)

So what’s wrong this time? What can possibly keep me away from my muse?

Myself. The answer’s always me. Because whatever happens, we can make lemonade or we can sulk in a corner with a bunch of lemons. Somehow, I tangled myself in this twist by being my own worst enemy. You know what I did? I set too many goals…

I’m pretty sure at some point goal-setting turns the other cheek when you overdo it. As with anything else, obsession twists something good and useful into something bad and dysfunctional. I’ve always taken things to extremes, but this time it’s taking its toll on my creativity.

And what am I without inspiration?

So I’ve made dozens of lists: to-do lists, grocery lists, lists of blog posts, events, birthdays, bucket lists… and somewhere along the way I forgot that list-making is just the first step to success. (Granted, you can do without a list, but bear with me here.) But I actually got stuck on the list-making bit. I try to achieve those goals but then I’d make a new list, and on and on.

It’s a sickness. I have started so many projects online and off that I’m basically on autopilot. Which means that sometimes I forget things, overlook people, and fail to get inspired.

Even now I’m feeling as if this post is lacking the meat I usually bring to the mix. It’s like all of this crazy multitasking/goal-setting has taken away the secret magic ingredient. And my muse is probably sulking in the corner because I forgot to bring the sugar and all she has to work with are lemons. But muses need more than that. Muses need to be appreciated.

So now I’m faced with the blank sheet, which I’m supposed to fill with my NaNoWriMo plot outline. And I’m looking forward to it because NaNo is such a great way to let myself go! But the page has been staring for a week now and ideas are flying in and out of my head, none of them strong enough to hold my attention for too long in-between projects.

I’ve put more WIP’s in drawers than clothes! It’s a sickness.

I call this sickness Project hyperactivity Disorder (PhD) because once you’re in project mode, you can’t get out of it sane (especially if you’re me). If you do get out, you’ll probably suffer Project Withdrawal. It’s a vicious circle, one you do not want to end up in, especially if you’re planning to write a novel next month.

So this is a cautionary tale. It’s what happens when you set your goals too high, make one too many lists, and start too many projects at once. I know I can’t be alone in this, so is there anyone out there who can relate? How do you find your way back to inspiration?

clip_image002Short bio:

Lyn Midnight writes in various genres and formats (fantasy, scifi, poetry), and likes to blog about anything her heart desires over at Lyn Midnight Against the Odds. She is currently working on a sci-fi novel and managing another blog – WriMos FTW! – where she invites fellow WriMos to guest-blog and spread the madness. The person behind the handle is a Psychology graduate and eternal nomad, trying to make her big break somewhere in England. Long live the Queen! And long live our dreams.

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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28 Responses to When You Know You’re Doing It Wrong

  1. hawleywood40 says:

    I can so relate to this, Lyn! I hope Nano is the push you need to be able to block out the lists and the projects and the goals and just live in your characters and fictional world enough to write like the wind! I have faith in you, and have been in and out of similar “on” and “off” stages all my life : ).

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  2. Pingback: Your Health! « Kate Wood's Blog

  3. Karlene says:

    My first thought is the fact you aren’t working. We all need passion, and to feel useful. Amazing the benefits we get from work and being productive.
    Good luck! XXOX Karlene

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  4. Hi Lyn

    I usually suffer from PhD when I’ve looked so far into things it starts to overwhelmed me!

    Sometimes it helps if I take myself away from the situation and concentrate on something else for a while. Something fun that will relax me and put me in a better mood to look at the outline again with fresh eyes. Good luck! 😀

    Hi David

    I love your blog! I shall duly subscribe 🙂

    Like

  5. Jess Witkins says:

    Lyn, it’s like we’re living the same life! I know I took too much on. And now the last thing I’m working on is my WIP. Hopefully NaNoWriMo kicks me back into gear. I’m here for ya if ya ever need to chat, I totally get how you’re feeling and happy to bounce ideas with you/help with a reality check/advise you on power snacks/whatever!

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  6. zencherry says:

    How do you find your way back to inspiration? Alcohol. 😉 Nah, just usually put on some great tunes, drum my fingers a few times and then beg my muse with first born children. 😀 Great question, great guest post!

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  7. “Project hyperactivity disorder.” I love that. I’m learning more about reasonable goal setting. It seems to be a bit of a process. We just gotta learn as we go.

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  8. Jenny Hansen says:

    Lyn,

    I had to throw all my written lists out. I’d find them and start freaking that I hadn’t done them.

    My only lists now are 1 per day at work, my ROW80 goals (which are only in a single post) and the Life List Club page on my site that I review quarterly for the milestone party.

    I don’t know if a “List Quota” would work for you, but it did for me. I’m adding my hug to Gary’s!!

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  9. I’ve certainly overdone goal making a time or two! I think it’s about prioritizing (picking ONLY the most important things) and not giving up on yourself. There’s no need to force life (although a little kick in the butt every once in a while doesn’t hurt) just take a deep breath and center yourself. You’ll get there!

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    • Good advice, Jennie. Sounds a little like what Pam posted today.

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    • lynmidnight says:

      I’m working on centering myself right now, but from the huge pile of projects and stuff somehow I bounce back from it all, trying to balance it out with other stuff, but the balance is so hard to find! I suspect that my life’s biggest goal is to find balance, or so my first tattoo says. 😛

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  10. petepalamountain says:

    Thanks David. Glad I subscribed to your thoughts. Clear thinking.

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  11. Hey Lyn, Cheer up! *big hug* I suffer from PhD from time to time myself, and I’ve got a hunch that there are lots of others out there. If you set very high standards for yourself, it’s because you recognize loads of latent talent. Don’t waste too much emotional energy on what might have been. Just take a break and regroup. Your talent will find a way to bubble to the surface.

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    • Thanks, Gary. I’m sure Lyn will add a reply later.

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      • lynmidnight says:

        Sorry guys, I tried to do that earlier, but my connection was mad at me or something. 😛 And thanks, gary! I couldn’t have said it better; latent sometimes clobbers me and I forget to breathe and focus on what I’m doing presently. I’ll try to remember this next time… 😀

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  12. Texanne says:

    Hi, Lyn! Glad to meet you. Cool name you’ve got there. It’s funny that you mention goal setting and the problems it can cause as well as solve. Here’s a link (yes, I know how much people love people who put links into their comments, but this is very helpful) to an article about that very issue.

    http://hollylisle.com/a-pic-from-my-office-my-path-to-freedom-workboard/

    I don’t know if that will work just by clicking on it. If not, you know the drill–paste it into your browser’s URL pane. Inside that post is the link to the article about goal setting. It’s all totally worth the link hopping. Bonus: the author who posted the article is herself an SFF writer.

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    • Hi, Texanne. I’m sure Lyn will add her own reply later. Meanwhile, thanks for stopping by.

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    • lynmidnight says:

      I LOVE HOLLY LISLE! Seriously, I’m her undying fan. The woman is so prolific and her writing advice is brilliant. Thanks for giving me that link; I’m not sure if I’ve read it or not, but I’ll surely re-read it in case I haven’t. Thanks for stopping by! 😀

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