Monday, September 20, 2010

A Very Un Zen Confession

I have a confession to make. I pretty much have a bi-publishing personality disorder. When I am actually doing the writing, I am very Zen and love the process to death and am fully immersed. Even when it is hard (and sometimes it is very, very hard) it is still what I would rather be doing than just about anything else. It is a very inward, creativity-centered, process-oriented, live in the now time.

And then I have to hand the manuscript off, whether to beta readers or agents or editors, and that whole centered Zen place just kind of disintegrates before my very eyes. It’s hard to stay Inward when everything else is happening OUT THERE. Suddenly everything that has only ever existed in my head on my computer or notebook, is now out in the world.

It is much like having a first child go off to kindergarten and I cannot help but worry over how he is doing. It is nearly impossible for me to stay inwardly focused when all the next steps in the process are A) happening outside of me and B) out of my control. The truth is, it’s a squirrely, antsy, fidgety mental place to be in.

Oh sure, I know the old adage, throw yourself into the next project, but sometimes that’s not feasible. Sometimes I’m still immersed in the old project, already jotting down ideas for strengthening it, tightening it, revising it, making it better. But even as I do all that, I can only kid myself so much; I keep one eyeball on my inbox, waiting, worrying, wondering, wishing.

And I guess I felt that, as much as I trumpet a Zen and process-focused approach, I also needed to come clean about how I can’t always get there myself. And it’s not so much a do as I say, not as I do kind of thing, but rather while the Zen is what we should aspire to, we can’t always get there, in spite of our best efforts.

Hope you all had a less antsy weekend than I did!


Mel said...

This is exactly why I adore reading your blog! I always check in when I can because it's like the coffee to my internal monologue to stop and know that I'm in good company. I love that fact that you come clean with us because it's those juicy human bits of the marinating mind that mean so much. I hope I'm not alone in thinking this - but alas this is what I think.
Yes, the mind gets squirrely - but even that adds to mix and helps along so many other excellent ideas that have been simmering on the back burner. Happy Birthday Robin! I hope you have a great one!

Michelle Markel said...


I totally agree. I think mood swings are part of our sensitivity/creativity. Just have to balance on your board and ride out that dark wave...

Solvang Sherrie said...

I guess no matter what stage you are at on the publishing journey, we all keep an eye on that inbox!

Robin L said...

And this, Mel, is exactly why I love reading your comments! I'm so glad you get something out of my ramblings. :-)

And I think you make an EXCELLENT point about the upside to that squirrely state!

Michelle, I LOVE that image, balancing on a board and riding out a dark wave. I'm going to use that as a visualization exercise!

So right, Sherrie! There is no exemption from eager anticipation!