Monkey Mind Monday

Posted by on Sep 21, 2009 in Uncategorized | 10 comments

Maybe less bossy would be better...

Maybe less bossy would be better...

I wrestled with whether to reveal the depths of my neuroticism on this blog and decided that monkey mind comes with my writing life. I’d like to think I’m not the only one who suffers from this silly malady.

Earlier today, monkey mind went something like this:

After a decade practicing the writing craft, I apparently STILL don’t know how to begin a story. If I haven’t mastered this by now, I probably never will master it. So maybe I should quit. I mean what’s the point, right? Why put myself through this suffering? But then what will I do? What am I good for in this life? I can’t do anything, really…

Ad nauseum. (I’ve always loved the way that phrase reminds me of the word “nauseated.”)

Monkey mind trigger? Last night I received feedback on my prologue. Actually, two prologues. Because I’ve always had trouble with beginnings, I turned in two and received much food for thought from my workshop instructor.

Unfortunately, after sleeping on it, I realized that I’ve been hearing the same feedback themes for years now, with every workshop, with every first scene. Haven’t I learned anything!?!??!

You can see how from this thought, I eventually ended up wondering if I should quit altogether. This is normal, right?

In the midst of all this neuroticism, I found myself pulling feedback from previous workshops out of my desk and placing them in a manila folder. In the future, I will peruse the feedback in this folder to remind myself what to watch out for as I start a new novel.

Action speaks louder than monkey mind, eh? Apparently, I’m not quitting yet.

10 Comments

  1. Any chance you might share what you’ve learned? In very general and non-specific ways of course, but a “What not to do” would be highly appreciated.

    • Hi Charlotte! I can certainly do that! I’ll consider this topic a new post for this week!

  2. Successful artists are the ones that keep going despite the criticism. Todays “doing it wrong” is tomorrows “groundbreaking, revolutionary”. Check out the DVDs of Simon Schama’s “Power of Art” if you need some encouragement. Most of the classic painters we idolize today were loathed/hunted/executed in their day! 🙂

    • Nice to hear from you, Ross! And thanks for the encouragement recommendation!

  3. Yes, it is normal to be neurotic (or feel it) and be a writer. You have to push through it. Just become a full-blown auto-neurotic (tee hee, get it?).

    I think similar thoughts about writing every time I think about writing, thoughts such as, “what’s the point of writing? Nobody but a self-involved, narcissistic, inhabitant of a Very Small World would want to read what you write anyway, no matter how good a writer you are or how you flatter yourself, and besides that everyone dies and nobody leaves anything of substance behind unless they are truly great and you’re not.”

    Neurotic? No. It’s realistic. Writing is an extraverted act done by introverts; that, in itself, is crazy. Just run with it. Somebody has to.

    • You are so right on about “extroverted act done by introverts” — I’ve never thought about it that way. No wonder I’m neurotic! 🙂

  4. Maybe you need to write those prologues out of your system in order to get to the good stuff underneath. Like warmups. It was the writer/artist Julie Cameron who suggested writing three pages a day of free writing in order to get to the “good stuff.” I wish I had time for all that!!

    • I used to do morning pages! They didn’t help me with my fiction though…I hadn’t thought of that about my prologues–warming up–but they do feel like that, like I’m testing out my characters and their settings…

  5. I know just how you feel. I am trying to write a new novel, and so far I have written page one approximately 50,000 times. I am beginning to question my sanity. How did I ever do this before?!?!?
    A friend recommended a book called “Hooked,” which is all about beginnings. I’ll let you know if it helps! (Should warn you: one of the things he says is NO PROLOGUES ALLOWED.) But maybe Jan (above) has the right idea: the prologues are just you getting stuff out of your system. I’m going to go write a couple of prologues right now, so that maybe I can get to a real page one soon, too.
    Good luck!

    • Nice to hear from you Sandi! Hopefully your warm-up prologues are helping you! I had to laugh about the NO PROLOGUES ALLOWED. Got the same feedback in my workshop! I might have to check out that book…sounds like it could be helpful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *