This has been a rough week, the second of two spent out of town for the day job. I’m exhausted, feeling ill, and I seem to be getting a lot of bad news, or rather I’m taking the news (in itself, neither bad nor good, just news) I’m receiving rather poorly. I know, that’s my problem, not yours, but I’m sharing anyway in the hope that someone out there might benefit from my momentary struggles.
On a side note, I was moved to join Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers’ Support Group, but the sign up page does not appear to exist at the moment (!) Yes, it’s been that kind of week.
This goes back to the issue of having, or in my case lacking, thick skin. When I blogged about this originally, I wrote that having thick skin was kind of like being brave. Being brave doesn’t mean you’re fearless, it means that you act despite your fear. Having thick skin doesn’t mean shrugging off criticism or refusing to be affected by it. Having thick skin means that you have to find a way to view criticism objectively, find a way to accept what you can, compromise where necessary, stick to your guns on what you believe is truly essential, justify your position, and write on.
That’s where I’m having trouble this week, and I think I just need some time to get some objective distance.
So what was the news? The biggie was the illness of a friend. The specifics I won’t get into because they’re not mine to share. Needless to say, it was a bit of a blow. Perhaps it was more of a trigger.
It’s coloured everything else I’ve done, and all the feedback I’ve received, this week: my coursework, my day job, and especially my writing. What would otherwise be constructive criticism (taken in stride), or even compliments, have taken on a significantly more subversive tone.
Fraud, the sub-text whispers …
Why? I’m blocked. For the first time in years I can’t write a sentence without rewriting it five times. Even then, I delete half of what I’ve written (the equivalent of the old-timey writer crumpling up sheet after sheet of paper as they emerge from the typewriter) and try to come up with something that has meaning.
For five years, I’ve written every day. I’ve returned to the words and they haven’t failed me. Until this week. I’m hitting a crisis point, truly overwhelmed, and clueless as to how to proceed. Surely this means that epiphany can’t be far away?
What I really think is that my old frenemy, depression, is starting to rear its ugly head again. And yes, it’s my head, so I can call it ugly if I want.
Time to count my blessings:
- My health.
- My husband (wonderful man – unlimited hugs).
- My mom (amazing woman).
- My friends (all of them, a blessing in my life). I have to note a couple of specifics here: Margaret, out of the blue, sent me a card because we’d shared emails of woe; Kim put a quote of mine on her forthcoming book cover (wonderful poet! I’m so honoured!).
- My work friends. More specifics: Monica, dealing with some heavy personal issues of her own, saved our training bacon this week; the training team – most of us got together last night for a lovely evening out and lots of laughter and hugs were shared; my manager commended the training team for our superb work and dedication.
- My dog. Has to be said: unconditional love and sweetness. Panacea 🙂
- My critique group, honest and tough, but very supportive. They help me become a better writer.
- The Wordsmith Studio community, sources of great ideas and resources, chats (though I don’t get to participate as often as I’d like), and networking.
- My classmates and our instructor: encouraging and informative. Another virtual community in the making.
I’ll work my way through this rough patch. The way is not yet clear, but with all of the above help, how can I not succeed? Sometimes we just need a reminder. Life is good, folks, for all that it seems otherwise.
Is anyone else out there fighting the good fight? What do you do to remain positive? Any tips and tricks to share?