IWSG—Poised upon a precipice

It’s time for another meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The first Wednesday of each month, we share struggles, triumphs, quandaries, and fears.

I’m so embarrassed to have such pitiful wordcounts from April Camp NaNo. This isn’t anywhere close to an accurate representation of what I’m capable of! I routinely do 100K or more in a month, and I barely made 20K. All thanks to having almost zero privacy due to lockdown and being unable to go to the library anymore.

There’s a psychological block against writing in the living situation I’ve been indefinitely stuck in since June 2017, and am now trapped in for even longer. I’m desperate to get out of this stupid suburban housing development and annoying open concept house!

I want to live in a real city again, in an older property with these old-fashioned things called walls and doors, with enough room to stretch out, have privacy, and relax in peace and quiet, without super-magnified noises constantly floating in from a so-called room ten feet away.

I’m afraid these poor wordcounts and indefinite lockdown will trigger my cyclical depression and send me back to how I was three years ago, when I had no motivation to do much of anything, practically lived in my bed, and had an inverted sleep cycle. How can anyone write to the full extent of one’s ability and desire if one’s mental health is in the toilet?

The people cheering on the idea of a full YEAR of lockdown must live in spacious houses, in cities they want to live in, and have lots of money in the bank and be free of depression and mental health issues. They’re not considering what this is doing to people with far less privilege.

I bet they also think it’s appropriate to strap 12-year-olds into booster seats, but I digress.

This is similar to how I felt during NaNo 2017, which I had to do as a rebel for any hope of achieving 50K. Writing my 12-part series “The Jazz Singer at 90″ that month gave me back my long-lost writing mojo and restored my confidence and passion. I desperately need something, anything, like that again.

On top of all that, it finally dawned on me that one of the driving storylines of Parts III and IV of my WIP failed to come together well because it was never right to begin with. I was so excited about the Konevs moving back to NYC, but I kept going back and forth re: which schools everyone should attend and where they should live.

I wasted almost a year on a storyline that only created unnecessary sprawl. And this is coming from someone who deliberately writes at saga length and will be publishing this book in four volumes!

It’s just like when I hit upon the idea, in the first book, of Lyuba (then called Amy) not just falling in love with Ivan, but loving him all along, and having a short-lived clandestine romance with him which ended just before the book began. It felt so right, whereas my original plans led nowhere compelling.

The Konevs belong in Minnesota. They may have discovered they moved to farm country for all the wrong reasons, and made their adult children feel compelled to make their lives there too, but that doesn’t mean abandoning their adoptive home state altogether.

I’ll be walking through my reasons for overhauling this storyline in more detail in a future post.

I’m killing this storyline at its roots. Penultimate child Sonyechka will now get a bug in her ear about staying in St. Paul and her parents attending grad school at the state university. This brings with it a new circle of artistic and intellectual friends who immigrated from Europe after WWII, equal to anyone they may have met in NYC.

A number of chapters will need reshuffled when editing finally begins. I’m now writing out of order and not looking forward to the headache of rearranging them!

How’s your mental health holding up in lockdown? Have you ever belatedly realized a storyline wasn’t working, no matter how much you revised it?

2 thoughts on “IWSG—Poised upon a precipice

  1. Whenever I feel down about my writing or lack thereof, I remind myself of Robert Louis Stevenson who was such in ill health that he wrote while spitting up blood. Do push-up’s or deep breathing to circulate more oxygen in your blood. Just scribble in a notebook and transcribe it into your computer in the late hours.

    Me? As a rare blood courier of convalescent plasma, I walk every day (and night) down germ-infested hospital hallways past coughing patients and staff. I am playing dice with my life, but ill patients need blood especially in these times! You will find a way, Carrie-Anne, I know you will. Stay well.


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