Trying Not to Quit

Waiting for Ears

Monkeys Waiting for Ears

September was crazy, October is turning out to be (tries to think of a PG word) challenging. Despite having a lovely birthday, with lots of new wool to tempt me, so far the reasons to smile are becoming harder to find. The kicker is I can’t even blog about most of it.

The bit I can talk about is probably more a symptom than a cause. I want to quit. Again. It’s not the first time I’ve found myself all done with trying to be an author, but it’s the first time I’ve found something else (temporary I’m sure) to fill the creative void. Knitting.

Not that I don’t get frustrated with that as well. If I have to make another monkey (especially for the children) I might weep. Again! There were tears of frustration when I sewed a leg on back to front. But I am loving the creativity of inventing patterns as I go, seeing what I can create with my extremely basic skills and having something to hug at the end of it.

Critical as my children are (“Mummy, why doesn’t the bottom on my monkey squish like my brother’s does?” “Because Mummy used the wrong material to enclose the beads and, no, I’m not unpicking it to change it.”) it’s much easier to ignore. I can see the end product and decide if the critics are right. Same with my paintings.

But you can’t ‘see’ a novel. You can’t swiftly and dispassionately judge it against the criticism or the praise and decide if the comments are fair. I’m struggling as much with the five star reviews for Baby Blues as the two-star ones for Class Act. With the former, I feel I can’t write with that freedom and passion any more. It was a story close to my heart and one I rewrote many times.

Knitty Cats

Knitty Cats

Many of the good reviews talk about the emotional roller-coaster, and I know Class Act and now Finding Lucy lack that. Partly because I’m drained and medically subdued and partly because I’m writing much more self-consciously. It happened with my paintings. I started to try too hard to paint ‘right’ or ‘professionally’ and lost the spark that made them special.

I know I won’t quit. Writing is in my blood. Life will (hopefully, eventually) settle down, and I’ll find a way through. Find a story that needs me to tell it, so I can ignite the passion again. Maybe I’ll be brave and join a writing group, get more feedback to help me find that objectivity. But not right now. I need a layer of armour before I subject myself to that.

In the meantime I’ll go back to my Knitty Cats, and carpel tunnel pins and needles. Christmas is coming. If I can’t sell books, maybe I can sell cats (and definitely not monkeys!)

9 thoughts on “Trying Not to Quit

  1. I’m so sorry you are going through this tough time.
    Depression can make us doubt ourselves and our capabilities, as I am sure you know. I am glad you won’t give up writing, you do tell a good story. I hope that eventually the cloud will lift.
    Until that day, you’re in my thoughts and prayers. xx

  2. Gosh. Don’t stop writing. You’d miss it so much. I miss it. It’s therapeutic. I miss that. The pouring out. The getting back. Take a break but don’t stop.

      • Nonsense! And it’s not quantity. It’s quality. The followers that counted and mattered were a handful. Followers like Rob the mobile locksmith etc don’t exactly count!!!

  3. Amanda, I’ve been a rubbish follower of so many blogs these last few months. I even switched off notifications because I felt I couldn’t cope with the volume of emails demanding on time where time constraints (and motivation, if truth be told) felt like pressure. I switched off, zoned out, concentrated on where my interests and drive were taking me during that time. And changes that occur in life determine the next stage.
    I too have started knitting again! Just this week. A cardi for myself. ๐Ÿ™‚ It does satisfy an aspect of creativity, lets your hands be busy while your mind can wander and let sub-conscious free to roam. I’ve stopped mid-knitting to write then picked up the needles again.
    I don’t think the desire ever really goes but it can fluctuate and need a rest to regroup and let the juices bubble up from within again.
    I do hope that life takes a kinder turn for you and lets you return refreshed to what is your talent and drive. In the meantime, knitting can be therapeutic (it can also be a bugger when restless hands set in!) and having a cuddly toy at the end to squeeze is a real bonus. Must give those a try although any more toys in this house and I might scream.
    I wish you well and know that if writing’s in your blood it will by reoxygenated and raring to go.x

    • Thank you! I recently switched off a fair few notifications myself, and unfollowed most of the pages on Facebook. I realised I was pouring all my energy into the lives and stories of people I didn’t know and it was making me miserable.
      I found a way back into my novel, by writing it from a different POV. But I’m still enjoying knitting more!

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