Thursday, 16 February 2012

Out of focus

I am struggling a little these days. My focus has slipped and run away.

Run! Run for the hills!

Do you ever feel like someone else has your life? I look at others and think – hey! How come you’re living my life? That should be me over there, doing those things. Instead I’m here, doing... well, not much. Not much at all.

‘How can she say she doesn’t do much when her blog details amazing nights out?’

Yes, it’s a conundrum, but easily answered. Those nights are the rare stars twinkling high in a sky the texture of a course scratchy blanket. I arrange things to do because otherwise I’d bury my head under the blanket and never come out. I know my tendencies. I like to hide away.

The rewrite continues (well, I like to think it does. In my head it gallops. In real life it snorts steam and stares balefully from the stalls.) However, I fear it’s the wrong rewrite. I think perhaps there is a third, better, way to tell this story, which would mean yet again grabbing the edges of my Word document and giving it a shake, letting the sentences settle down again in a new pattern. I don’t want to do this. I’d rather lick the road, go on a five-mile hike on a hot day with a pail of defrosting fish, or ride a home-time bus surrounded by shouting territorial schoolboys with moustaches. But it’s an idea. A thought. A nasty, prickly, jabbing sort of thought, true, but it’s there all the same.

(I believe in the story, but don’t trust myself in the way I'm telling it.)

I know what’s wrong. The core of me is desperately unhappy, despite me shoring it up with bent lollipop sticks and cheap Primark jumpers. This is reflecting in my health, which has been annoyingly whiney of late, and feeling low is impacting on my focus. I know it’s all connected but still can’t seem to do what’s needed to make a change. It’s because dem big things, life-changes. But it’s getting closer for me to make some decisions and, really, it should be a simple one to make.

I have to choose to be happy.


Mise said...

Poor Jayne, that sounds like quite a slump. I say you should shelf the rewrite till you yearn to do it, and attend to yourself and your life changes: if in doubt, always choose the path of greater change. You have the core of a book and there is no rush with it: fame will wait.

Anonymous said...

Feel exactly the same!

Always feeling like "who's that living my life over there" and also have the tendency to "hide away".

Choosing to be happy is easier said then done. Sometimes a bit of wallowing help get it out of your system in order to be happy. We're only human after all.

Hope you get through to the sunshine soon.

Old Kitty said...

Always choose to be happy!!

I get in a slump more often than I want to - I skulk and sulk and stare at the blank screen and end up watching 80's youtube clips and clips of dramatic animal rescues set to stirring music! LOL! I book a few days of precious annual leave from work with the goal of getting stuck into my re-write and waste them (see preceding sentences) until it's time to return to work and I get into a further personal dark hole because I've not done anything remotely writerly with my annual leave and hate my inertia for doing so.

I read so many writerly bloggie friends' steely determination to get that re-write done, get that book deal, self- publish etc and I just wish I could have a sliver of their character to be focused. LOL!

But you know, I can't force myself to do something when my heart isn't in it. I don't know how a writer writes when they are depressed and on the edge and borderline insane. I can't relate to that at all! If I feel any of these, my creativity is the first to die and my muse the first to leave me.

I only write when I am content within, when all is well with my world. It doesn't happen very often but when it does, luckily I grab it with both hands and run away - not far enough though! It never lasts of course but every so often those few tiny moments throw up a tangible sentence or two worth building on.

GOOD LUCK with finding inner peace and joy. They will find you, don't you worry!

I love your new avatar pic! Take care

Mama J said...

It's so frustrating having a story you believe in and you're passionate about but it doesn't come out right and nothing you write does it real justice.

Debbie said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. Take a break and do something that doesn't involve writing. A change of scene-whatever you choose-will relax the little writer in your head.

For example, whilst changing a light fitting this week, I found the old screw had been turned too tightly. Hard as I tried, I couldn't unscrew it. I wouldn't give in, but the head of the screw was becoming worn. I took a break. Thought logically. Got the monkey wrench. Got the screw out.

I know getting a screw out of the wall's not the same as writing your book, but I hope you see things differently, and you feel better soon.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Bless your heart. I wish Edward and I were in town. We would take you out of the city for a ramble in the woods. We'd pack a picnic lunch of clementines and cheese and sneak a bit of chocolate on the side and we'd talk only of things of no consequence. Then, while Edward took a nap by the fire, you and I would go out for pedicures.

Feel better.... we all get this way sometimes. You'll find your way out, I have no doubt.

Happy Frog and I said...

Jayne what a heartfelt and honest post and one I can completely relate to. I often have comments on Twitter about what I'm up to and how exciting my life sounds but when I look at my writing I'm not sure that I'm the right person to be attempting the right story. I think sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves and that's okay as long as we admit it to ourselves. I guess what I'm trying to say is you've already made the choice to be happy and quite right too. x

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It sounds like the winter blahs. You need a good, spring writers' conference.

Jenny Beattie said...

I'm so sorry to hear you feel blue. I had been feeling very similar until quite recently when I finally changed certain things in my life. It's not easy sometimes to know why and what's wrong; and then it's hard to make the changes. But the outcome is that you feel so much happier.

Good luck to you and hugs too.

catdownunder said...

Oh, miaous of sympurrthy!

Angela Ackerman said...

Sorry to hear you're struggling right now. You know what you need to do though, and that's a big partof it. Sometimes we need to just take stock and see how our life could be different. We look down each path and ask ourselves "If i leave this path and follow that one, will I have any regrets?". I ask myself this all the time about my path and my choices. I don't want to have regrets and this seems to be the best way to avoid them.

Anyway, don't know if this will help but sending your hug"


Out on the prairie said...

I hate slumps, but got a small recorder to catch my thoughts when not home

Indigo said...

I think we're in the same head space lately.

A friend gave me some sage advice recently and I'm passing it on to you. Give yourself permission to have down days and not so perfect moments.

We stress ourselves out trying to find to remain in a constant state of bliss, when it's actually those down and out days that produce the more memorable ones.

So...on some level I welcome my displacement, knowing things will balance out eventually with an assortment of little things. (Hugs)Indigo

Rebecca Bradley said...

Can you step away from the manuscript for a few weeks, let it breath and let you breath? Take away any pressure you feel and just let yourself relax and heal.

I hope this slump starts to rise for you soon.

The Kid In The Front Row said...

I think it's the same for everyone.

Jayne said...

Hi Mise - Wise words indeed. That is exactly what I want to do - choose the path of greater change. I'm totally sure that it will make me happier in every way, I just have to be brave and actually do it! And thank you. x

Hi Freya - It's nice to share these feelings and know that others feel the same way. That always helps, somehow. It is hard to choose to be happy - my head will say it forcefully to try and make it so, but my heart doesn't often follow suit. x

Hi Old Kitty - All of what you say sounds very familiar. I do love the idea of watching dramatic animal rescues set to stirring music though! Perhaps that is where I've been going wrong. I haven't watched enough Pet Rescue. But yes, that does describe it very well, especially the feeling I get if I feel like I've wasted annual leave days and not done enough writing. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. It really helps brighten my heart tons. x

Jayne said...

Hi Mama J - It is, it really is, although I had a little break-through in the end so am a lot happier with it. Still needs work though, as ever. x

Hi Debbie - I love your analogy. And I have a break on the horizon - well, some time off the day job to do some writing - this feels like a break for me as I can relax into it and not feel I have to be word perfect in a snatched hour of an evening. x

Hi Pamela - I so wish you and Edward were in town! That sounds heavenly, and because that thought was in your heart, I feel like you both did take me out anyway. :) Thank you. x

Dolly said...

My dear Jayne, I nodded my head throughout reading this (though it is me with my art, not writing). The paragraph beginning with the conundrum ... was that me you were writing about!

I went through a bad patch last month, anxiety numbed me and I couldn't draw a thing for college but hid under the duvet :( but I am on a roll now, thankfully, and hope you are too by now.

Isn't what Froggy said the truth...we are much too hard on ourselves.