Thursday, August 5, 2010

Out of my Mind

My mind is a pretty frightening place. I spend a lot of time there. It's practically unavoidable. I mean, I have to spend twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week with myself. It's not easy.

Lately, however, I've realized that I need to get away from myself occasionally. I've been trying to discipline myself as a writer, but, as I often do, I've put the cart before the horse. I can be disciplined as a writer, but I become unbalanced in other areas if I don't first try to be disciplined in more important things.

In this past year, I've completed one book that I started last year, finished the editing on another book that I started nine years ago *hides head in shame*, and somehow managed to begin and complete another book (in the period of slightly less than two weeks--an act of God, no doubt). I'm still doing some editing and writing. I'm attempting this query letter thing. I've been fairly disciplined in the writing stuff. I've also been disciplined in my diet/exercise and have consequently lost about 40 pounds since January of this year. I guess the world would look at me and say, "She's not doing too badly in the discipline department."

The thing is, I've not been disciplined in prayer or reading my Bible. As a Christian, these should be the most important disciplines in my life. The Lord has been gracious in dropping Spiritual crumbs to me, but there's a whole banquet that He's set out for me. I've just been too lazy to get up off the floor and eat.

For the past couple of weeks, I've tried to get into the habit of waking up a good hour earlier than usual for the sole purpose of spending time with God. One of the many positive results of this is that the Lord is showing me that I am far too self-focused. I'm an introspective person, which is good, because, well, I'm a writer. But spending too much time with oneself can lead to false perceptions.

The longer I look in the mirror, the more obsessed I come with my own reflection. The longer I look in the mirror, the longer I believe I'm something good. If all I do is glance at others, I fail to see their beauty. I become judgmental of their flaws, forgetting I have a fair few of my own.

As it relates to writing, sometimes I spend so much time reading and rereading what I've written that I absolutely fall in love with it. I lose all objectivity, because I forget there's anything out there besides the words that have come from my own brain.

This week, I've neglected the novel I've been editing. I've put aside any story ideas that want to pop up in my brain while I'm supposed to be doing something else. I've stopped obsessing about the characters in my stories. I'll get back to them eventually. For now, I'm reading other authors' writing. I am about to finish reading one novel and about to start another. And I'll probably read a few more before I'm finally ready to return to my own stories and my own brain.

And I'm not sure what I'll come back to when I finally do return. Maybe I'll come to find some minor flaws in my writing that I didn't see before. Maybe I'll realize my stories really are as good as thought they were (or--dare I think it--even better than I believed). Maybe I'll realize that there's a reason I keep getting rejections--that my writing sucks and I had better take up yodeling (or continue hold out hope for my crappy writing anyway, because, after all, Twilight got published--and did well).

Whatever happens, I'm grateful for the time that I'm spending out of my mind. I LOVE reading (I'd forgotten how much), and this is a great opportunity to get into some great literature.


  1. Just finished "The Sword and the Stone" yesterday. I need to reserve the other three books in that series from the library. I just started reading "Out of the Silent Planet" by C.S. Lewis today. I need to reserve the other two in that series from the library, as well. I have a feeling I'm going to finish long before the books are in at the library, so I'll probably start something else while I'm waiting. Maybe some Madeleine L'Engle.