Tag Archives: failure

Did I Fail At Blogging? At Writing?

13 Oct

Last month, I received my WordPress award for six years of blogging.

And it felt like such a lie.

Most of you know that I stopped blogging this year. It started in April, a little over six months ago, and it is by far the biggest step back from blogging I’ve ever taken. I tried a lot of things to avoid it. I went from blogging every other day to blogging two times a week to blogging every Saturday. I started taking breaks, and then the breaks weren’t enough.

Granted, this year has been HARD. I know I sound like a broken record, but I’ve been struggling with health issues, my cat had cancer (then beat it!), and I started a new job. Recently, there was an unexpected death in the family and I found out I have to move. All of these issues and more led to posts like Tips For Writing During a Life Change and I’m a Writer with Imposter Syndrome. By writing those blog posts, I realized I needed to take my own advice. I needed to take huge steps back to breathe. But I honestly thought I’d be back by now, and that’s what scares me.

Logically, I know there’s a lot still going on in my life. (My kitchen is filled with moving boxes instead of plates. Not to mention that I currently write in the moving box-filled kitchen because my office is unusable due to a raccoon. Don’t ask.) I keep thinking I will feel better and attain more “when it gets better/easier/less busy,” but everything has just been getting worse, and I often feel at a loss about what to do to change it, because trust me, I’ve tried. And I’m still trying. After six months, though, it starts to feel like life is never going to stabilize enough to get back on track.

Trust me, I’ve tried to take the “life will never stabilize, so get back at it anyway,” but every time I sit down to write a blog post, I just get so depressed. I keep going back and forth, back and forth on when and how to come back. Should I post once a week again? What about every other Saturday? How about only when I feel like it? Will I ever feel like it? Not to mention that my free time is miniscule, and anytime I manage to get some, I want to use it to write my next novel rather than to blog. Not that I don’t want to blog, I do. I love blogging. I never meant to quit. And I still don’t feel like I “quit” blogging. I feel like I failed. Or time got away from me. Or life did.

Everything has felt so out of reach this year: my health, my job security, my writing. I used to average 10,000+ words a week on my “goal” project, plus some in other ideas. Now I’m lucky if I finish one chapter a month for my writers’ group and get to dabble in editing my historical. Forget pursuing publication. I can’t even fathom doing that right now, even though I want to. Granted, I haven’t technically stopped either. I always read Publishers Marketplace and Writers Digest, and reach out to publishing professionals, and work with beta readers, and and and. But every little thing feels huge right now.

It’s just hard to feel like I can give advice on writing, editing, and pursuing publication when I’m struggling to participate anymore. Oddly enough, though, I realized while writing this diary-style rant that I am participating. This is participating.

This is what I used to do every week: share my feelings as I navigate this crazy dream of writing.

And maybe that’s all I need to do. Maybe I’m enough, even in my failures.

~SAT

P.S. On a positive note, I will be signing books at the 2018 Story Center Local Author Fair in Kansas City, Missouri on November 17 at 3 PM. My books will also be paired with a custom-made pastry, so it’ll be super fun (and sweet).

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#WW How To Be The Perfect Writer

7 Oct

The other day, I went to pick up my father at the airport. Knowing it might be a long wait, I decided to listen to NPR, a favorite station of mine. The theme of the day was creativity, and considering how suiting it was, I knew I would love it no matter what, but much to my writer’s delight, the main speaker, Sir Ken Robinson, blew me away.

Sir Ken Robinson actually is a “sir,” knighted by the queen herself due to his contributions in the arts in general and in regards to education. To this day, he’s even the most popular TED talk out there. Naturally, I felt compelled by him, but one quote said during the discussion has not left me, nor do I believe it ever will.

“Practice doesn’t make us perfect, but it helps you realize you don’t have to be.”

The phrase stuck me when he said it, and the phrase strikes me now as I type it out, really feeling the words for what they are. Let them sit with you for a moment if you will.

We, for most of our lives, are pounded with the phrase “practice makes perfect.” We are told failure is more or less the worst thing that can happen to you, and if you fail, it is 100% your fault and something to feel shame from. The concept “practice makes perfect” is disheartening, and at its core, it prevents us from taking risks, from reattempting, and mainly, from growing. Now, I’m not saying that practice isn’t great. Of course it is great. But weighing “practice” against “perfect” is where we go wrong.

No one is perfect. I would have to bet J.K. Rowling even finds spelling errors in her work, especially after sending it off to her editor, but I doubt she tells herself she’ll never try to write again because she forgot the “t” in “the” and Microsoft didn’t catch it because “he” is also a word.

See? Even programs aren’t perfect—and they’re literally designed to be.

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A part of art is failure, because a part of the soul is failure.

We seek out imperfections in heroes and heroines because they are flawed just like we are. It is what makes them human, and it also why we find ourselves able to love them.

Practice is vital, continuing to hone your art is necessary, and striving for better is always the ultimate goal. But do not allow yourself to be discouraged by imperfections. Find the beauty in them. Overcome the ones you can. Strive forward knowing you’ve grown from them. And realize, none of us our perfect. I mean…none of us are perfect. 😉

The “perfect” writer is not perfect at all.

And now…a video from Sir Ken Robinson. (It’s his original TED talk that became very popular, and it’s about the education system, so it’s not necessarily about the topic I discussed above, but I thought you all might like to listen to it, since I just talked about him.)

~SAT

Help me out and vote for Minutes Before Sunset on Dalitopia Media for a chance to win a free book trailer. All you have to do is click this Facebook link and “like” the photo on Facebook. Any and all “likes” are appreciated. 🙂

I still have 1 Halloween-themed box set of The Timely Death Trilogy available. Each box set includes 3 signed books, a signed bookmark, a bat or spider ring, and a personalized note from me. They cost $40.00 with free shipping in the U.S. Email me at shannonathompson@aol.com if you’re interested.

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Also this October, the paperback of Death Before Daylight releases on October 19! Two days later, on October 21, you can come see me at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri for a paranormal talk and book signing.  It will be tons of fun!

bixserMinutes Before Sunset: book 1

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

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