Brain treason

I’m a writer – that’s no news to you right? So I spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen typing. I just typed the following sentece:

The short hall led to an opening.

It’s part of a description for a house a police officer steps into. You should read that and think, so what? There’s nothing wrong with that sentence. And you are absolutely right. There is nothing wrong with that sentence.

Except that as soon as I finished it, my brain stopped me writing further, demanding that I change ‘led’ to ‘lead’. I literally had to stop and question my own brain questioning my own brain. I’d typed what I had because instictively I knew it was right, but the mere suggestion that I might be wrong stopped me mid-flow.

You might also have realised that when I say it stopped me, it really stopped me, because look, I’m here typing this blog rather than carrying on with my story.

My brain does this a lot. I instictively know the right answer, but have so little belief in myself that I don’t trust that I am correct. I double guess myself all the time. Not just with the writing, but it everything, which is one of the reasons I keep largely to myself, I’m convinced I’ll never understand other people. My brain is litterally betraying me.

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Full on

I haven’t been blogging because I’ve struggled through August and into September. The struggle has, to be fair been mostly about time, just had so much on, I’ve had to prioritise stuff and unfortunately blogging fell off the list.

Though August I had a 114k edit, a good book, but that’s a lot to get edited in 4 weeks. Then it was my wedding anniversary (29 years), my daughter’s birthday (23 years old), work in the garden that had to be done because plants work to their schedule and never mind the rest, and there were things in and on the house that needed to be sorted.
Though in fairness, I have to say that the garden (the front garden) looks lovely now, am really proud of it. This year (in case you missed previous posts) we’ve ripped out 22 year old bushes (not a fun or easy job), and covered the beds with chipping to just place out flower pots as they are much easier to maintain. I love the way the garden looks.

Our house is south facing, so we’ve also had a load of work done to replace the facias and guttering, but more importantly, we’ve had a new roller door fitted to the garage. This was actually done on Monday, so only three days ago now, and it’s already proving a boon. To get our vehicles on the drive (well the campervan) that van has to be put very close to the garage door to fit, so the old tilting door couldn’t be opened with the camper in place. Now this one rolls up without going out and we can get things in and out through the garage without having to move stuff – it is amazing how much of a difference that makes! Looks great out there now.

We also finally got a load of pictures back from the framers. One was a reframe because it was an old picture that had been my parents and over the years the frame had decayed, so needed replacement, and the rest were things that we’ve had for ages, but just didn’t have framed. Now they are all back, and they are up on the walls and it’s lovely to get some colour and art up. Am really pleased with how they look.

Though August I really struggled to write anything of my own. Again, it was mostly a time factor, but when I did have a few minutes to sit down and write, I found it a real struggle. So, I stopped trying. Thankfully the first week of September we were away on hols in the campervan, and I had the time and space to stop for a while, and now my writing is flowing again.

It was much the same with reading, really struggled. Now with all the work around the garden/house, I did manage to get through a few audible books – the exact reason why I love audible. My favourite book has to be Denzil Meyrick’s “Whiskey From Small Glasses”. I absolutely loved it. Will put a blog up on my other blog (GB Williams Crime Blog) soon, but I have a rash of blog tours to do my bit for this week – another thing that’s kept me busy.

On the writing front, while I haven’t been writing much, I have been working on blurbs and cover art and trying to get a blog tour organised, so it’s all good, all on-going.

Thankfully the first week of September we were away on hols in the campervan, and I had the time and space to stop for a while, and now my writing is flowing again.

Anyway, am now hoping that normal service will be resumed, whatever the hell ‘normal service’ is.

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MY FRIEND IMPOSTER SYNDROME

Know the feeling well,

RICHARD E. ROCK

My life changed the day I read an article about Imposter Syndrome in a newspaper. That’s me, I thought. That’s what’s been ‘wrong’ with me all these years!

In truth, of course, there’d never been anything ‘wrong’ with me. Imposter Syndrome – defined as a ‘an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be’ – is a remarkably common phenomenon. It had never occurred to me that my ‘insecurity’ – as I believed it to be – was the symptom of a ‘syndrome’.

Crippling self-doubt was something that had tormented me for my entire life. No matter what I achieved, whether great things or small, I was forever convinced that my success was underserved. That at any moment I would be rumbled. That the house of cards beneath my feet would give way, leaving me exposed to ridicule and shame.

Naturally, I…

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Better Not

Today I am feeling down as all heck on my writing. Actually been feeling like this of a couple of weeks now. Feel like I’m wasting my time and effort to keep writing. This is a not better thought.

Here’s the better thought. I’m not suicidal.

A year to 18 months ago, feeling like this would have lead to almost constant thoughts of suicide. Now it doesn’t. This doens’t mean I don’t think about killing myself ever, but it’s mostly in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep and I’m feeling bad, and generally I can acknowledge the thought and remind myself that suicide is not the answer. I may finally have learnt that I can face these bad feelings for what they are. Feelings.

And what are feelings? Mostly temporary.

Yes I feel bad in the here and now. But at some point that is going to change. I’m not sure when, but it will change. I feel bad about my writing today. Tomorrow or the next day, I’ll love it again. That’s what living with depression means. You live with it, every day. Even the bad ones.

Right well, that’s me done, going to move along and try to find an activity that makes my feelings change.

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Kicker

i need a kick up the butt.

Feeling really bad about my writing at this point. Nothing I put down feels good or right. In total quandary as to whether or not I should continue writing.

Every writer goes through this sort of thing, I’m just wrestling with it right now. This is not about looking for false praise, it’s just a statement that I feel useless at the moment. The feeling will pass, I will find a way to kick my own arse into gear.

Keep quoting to myself: this too shall pass.

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Cat Chair

It’s generally accepted in psychological circles that cats are good for keeping calm. Whatever psychologist came up with that didn’t know my cat. She rules the roost with an iron claw, and a lot of shouting.

Over the last few months, my husband and I have been doing a lot of work on the house, including redecorating our bedroom. It’s not entirely finished because I can’t find a mirror I like for me to use when brushing my hair. But I did make another purchase resently, something that I have wanted for a long time, a chair for the bedroom.

Seems I’m not the only one who likes it.

The day after purchase
Today

She sheds so much hair that to save me having to hoover the chair everytime I want to sit down, I’ve put a throw over it that I can remove when I want to sit down – or I should say – when I’m allowed to sit down that is.

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Ivory

I’m not a great fan of wearing makeup, generally I can’t be bothered, generally I don’t leave the house, so I don’t need to.  However, my skin is a bit dry and so I wanted to get a tinted moisturiser.  Because I am whiter than white and rarely go out, I always have to select the lightest shades on offer, and that is usually called Ivory.

So I brought an ivory tinted moisturiser.

When I used it, it kind of looked like I’d put on a mud mask.  It was noticeably darker than my skin.

I mentioned this to my hubby and daughter, and my daughter it said that was no surprise it didn’t match my skin, I don’t need ivory – I need ghost. She pointed out that she’s as pale as I am and that’s so pale we look like ghosts. Thankfully, the actual conversation was a lot more amusing than I can write it.

Then hubby chips in, says I need to go further.  Where we ended up was imaging a whole new range of makeup.

Never mind Ivory, because you’re worth it.

Try Cadaver, because you look dead.

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Feminist Read

We Should All Be Feminists by [Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie]

Have recently read “We Should All Be Feminists”, and it’s shown me things I have been fortunately enough never to have experienced.

I not about to burn my bra, but I do consider myself a feminist. So there wasn’t a lot in the book that was a brand-new idea to me, but these points were explained in ways that I have never considered before.

The author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, tells of how in Nigeria if a couple walk into a restaurant, the greeter will greet the gentleman, and not the lady.  Now I have experienced that in the UK, but I never really thought about how it really is a sexist act.  Funnily enough the sexist thing I have experienced comes shortly after that, where the menu with the prices is given to the man, as is the bill, even when I’ve asked for the bill.

There are other references that also made me think – the way that a woman alone will be questioned at a hotel in case they aren’t a patron, but a prostitute.  This is horrific to me, a woman who has travelled overseas alone. I really wouldn’t know how to deal with that.

The book is very short (50 pages), and it’s a quick read – unless you actually stop and really think about the points made. And I guarantee if you read this book, it will make you think, it will stay with you for a while. I would highly recommend everyone read this book, where ever you stand on the issue, this book will give you food for thought.

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Hopefully

Okay, reaction to the rejection over.  Big girl pants on and behaving myself today.

After my wobble, I tripped over an older log of mine, this one: Getting an agent – some more ideas.  So I read it. You know what, when I’m not an emotional cripple, I actually can talk some sense.  

As a result, yesterday evening, after I’d finished working, I sat down with “The Writers and Artist Yearbook” (admittedly from 2019, but that’s new enough), and went through looking for other possible agents. I checked their websites to ensure that they were open to submissions and if so, what they wanted in a submission – not all agents want the same thing so there’s no point in sending the same thing to everyone.

I also had a bit of a chat about things with a couple of friends who were helpful with suggestions about agents they know and who cast a quick eye over my submission prep. I then spent this morning revising and polishing my pitch, synopsis and first 50 pages.  And more importantly, I’ve submitted to another agent. 

This is good on the principle that each submission is one step closer to the agent who’s going to take me on.  But there’s still the awful wait of up to 3 months to hear possibly nothing if they aren’t interested.  But that’s the way with agents. All I can do is write my best work and present it, and in the manner of “Sweet Charity”, do my best to live hopefully ever after.

Sweet Charity (1969) - Film | cinema.de

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Loser

Another day, another rejection. It gets difficult to stay positive when all you get is negative reinforcement. 

I get my work out there, put myself out there, but I get a fair bit of negativity back, though in fairness, a little positivity too.  I keep trying, I make  submissions to agents and publishers, but the big publishers can only be accessed via an agent, and the agents just reject or just don’t respond. 

I am a good writer, and quite a prolific one. Here are all but one of the books I have out (one is missing because it published 7 days ago and I haven’t had chance to change the graphic to my satisfaction yet):

The problem seems to be that I don’t fit easily into any particular pigeon hole. On those rare occasions when I get feedback, it’s not the writing they reject, it’s the fact that they don’t know how to market the work.

If the people whose job it is to sell stuff don’t know how to sell my writing, how should I? Marketing was never my strong suit. Well, here’s the thing, that’s what I’m going to have to figure out isn’t it? Learn to do the marketing.  

Sigh, but not today, today I’m going to let myself experience the emotions another rejection brings up, I’m going to sort the TBR pile into the space I’ve recently made for it, and tomorrow I will dust myself down, pick myself up and submit again. I will learn and improve. As things should be.

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