Friday, May 20, 2011

Barbie’s Bunkhouse: The artful procrastinator

First of all, I have to apologize for being absent this week. The day job has been insane as summer classes have started. Ugh. These days I think I’m living my very own “Oliver”, except we have the artful procrastinator taking the place of the artful dodger. And yes, that would be me. You see, back in the fall I received some very disturbing, frustrating and downright devastating news about a story that I’d submitted. Now, I’ve had rejections before and they are never easy. But this was supposed to be a done deal. It was like someone cut me off at the wrists. Talk about paralysis! I had hit my darkest dark and lowest low. I know both Kari and Liz have been there, and I’m starting to believe the old adage “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. But still….

It has taken me 5 months now of good days and bad days, zero motivation to wanting to do it all. You’d think the fact that a Hollywood director is interested in a couple stories of mine would kick my keester in gear, but it doesn’t. I normally work wonders under pressure, but not now. Sometimes it’s like the worst case of writers block. My family life (3 busy kids schedules, hubby's inexpected injury/surgery/recovery, and lets not forget the dog!)has gotten in the way on top of me trying to dig myself out of the dumpster. And in the process of all the “issues”, I’m using them really as excuses why I’m NOT writing – instead of being my usual optimistic self and persevering to Git R Done!

Well yesterday, I think I finally had a break through! I know, thank GOD right? Barbie was getting way too depressing and damn it, that’s just not right!

I’d been tossing around some new cozy ideas with my CP and for some reason I couldn’t get them off my mind. So I took a mental health break at work (yup, true procrastination) and did a little research. Once I was happy with the results, I started writing blurbs and working out characters for 2, yes 2, new ideas! And I love them both!!!

I’ve been working so hard on updating my Middle Grade into a YA for so long (research, adding cool elements and details) that I guess I was starting to get stale (for lack of better word). Looking into something NEW and in a different genre was perfect! My mind feels so clear now and I can feel that drive and motivation starting to return, the real Barbie Jo coming back to life!
I know sometimes you have to get to your darkest place in order to get to where you truly need to be, and I’m hoping that was mine.

And just so you all understand, procrastination really isn’t a bad thing. You can think that It’s avoidance, but I think it’s our minds way of telling us to take a break and exercise it differently, kind of like when you reach a plateau with your exercise routine – you just have to MIX IT UP!!! Which Cassy actually talked about yesterday, as she has jumped into something new, too! YAY Cassy, way to go!

So how do you conquer the procrastination? Do you see it as a good thing, or a bad thing? Is your page half empty or half full? *okay, that was kind of lame* But you get my point.

Oh, and I joined Sisters in Crime last night too. Look out Crime Bake, Barbie Jo and Kari will be making a road trip!!!! And we haven’t had one in so long, it’s bound to be quite the adventure. Hmm…we just might need to podcast or something….


Kari Lee Townsend said...

I am sooo excited for you! I can't WAIT to hear about your new ideas. I want deets :-)

And yeah, I so cannot wait for the Crime Bake. We are going to have a blast.

Oh, and to answer your question, I do think procrastination can be a good thing. Our minds need that break, especially when it leads to something new and exciting. Like I said to Cassy yesterday, if you're passionate about what you're shows.

Good luck to you, chica!

Barbie Jo Mahoney said...

Cassy's post kind of led into mine. And it's so true. You write best when you're excited about something, yet polishing and tweaking and in some instances "re-writing" are all important to the process but can be such a brain drain. Sometimes they suggest walking away from the WIP for a while, but I think a little diversity helps too.

I feel strangely refreshed and ready to go! (and boy do I need it)

Pour your cup of coffee, make some tea, and tell us at M&M how you feel about procrastination. Has it ever taken hold and how did you break the cycle?

Anita Clenney said...

Barbie Jo, this was a great post. I think we all hit those dark places, writing and in other things as well. It sounds like it has made you stronger and you're ready to conquer the writing world. Yay!

I'm a terrible procrastinator, but I think it can also be a good thing as you've said, when the mind is telling us to take a needed break. It's just like stepping away from our manuscript so we can come back fresh.

Here's wising you creativity and great writing that will knock the publishing world for a loop.

I may see you at Crime Bake.

Barbie Jo Mahoney said...

Thanks Anita! I pride myself on staying positive no matter what, but boy let me tell you this has been a real struggle and I guess a growing experience, too. I've learned alot about the publishing world and myself and my abilities.

I AM ready to take the publishing world by storm!!

How awesome if you were at Crimebake too! You know you'd have to drag Dana along too (I just love her!) :-)

Lindsay said...

Procrastinator thy name is Lindsay. That usually leads to writing under pressure, which I've gotten use to. I've got a new Emily Dahill short story for my blog which is suppose to be up for next Tuesday. Written maybe 100 words.
How do I deal with the putting things off-Sometimes I see it as a good thing because it makes me focus more on the writing at hand.
You, Liz, Kari, Cassy and maybe Anita at Crime Bake. This should be interesting.

Barbie Jo Mahoney said...

I see what you mean Lindsey. Writing under pressure does make you focus more because there's no time for fluff.

Crime Bake interesting??? Oh, just wait! ;-)

Lindsay said...

Sounds like I'm already in trouble with you ladies. Pete, Jeff- help