Back to basics (whinge alert)

Please indulge me for a moment whilst I wallow in some very nice feedback:

“Diane brought the experience to this project we were seeking. We requested a professional, timely proofread, and she delivered 110%. Her extensive knowledge of publishing is obvious with the engaging comments that she provides. If you are fortunate enough to have the chance to work with Diane, then do it.”

What a fantastic start to the day, and at a time when the crows of doubt aren’t just circling overhead but swooping in for the kill.

It seems that aside from the proof-reading and editing I’m failing to complete anything else I start – short stories I have such big ideas for and then never get the time to spend on them; articles, ditto; novels that run out of steam despite extensive, not so extensive and downright extensiveless planning; NaNoWriMo; a decent keep fit regime; and so on.

Sometimes, I feel as though I’ve forgotten how to write or that the successful writing I managed was a total fluke. Sometimes I feel as though I’ll never write again, or I’ll never complete a writing project again, so there’s no point in even starting a new writing project.

I think I’m managing the proof-reading and editing because it’s the day job, because it pays the bills (almost), because it’s mechanical rather than creative – although it does sometimes get quite creative anyway. But every piece of writing falls by the wayside.

On the keep fit front the back pain and arthritis has stopped a lot of it. I can’t walk for more than 5 miles before my left hip pops out, followed by my right knee, and then my left ankle. I can’t do my Yoga first thing in the morning because my back’s not bendy enough, and then when I am bendy I don’t always have the time or the energy to do it of an evening.

As far as writing is concerned, I don’t know whether to start again with very small items and work my way up. I don’t know whether to start again at the beginning and practise, practise, practise. I don’t know whether to just quit whingeing and get on with it. I don’t know whether to give up and call it a day, and just grow old gracefully.

And so, for a start, I’m going to try going back to the beginning, going back to basics. I’m getting up earlier, I’m working longer, there are more hours in my day. I have to give both of these, the writing and the keep fit, a chance.

After an extensive search I’m hoping I may have found a book of routines to help me with the Yoga and the back pain. As these workouts include a 10-minute morning stretch, I should start to feel a bit more bendy in the mornings. Hopefully these will work and I can build up to tagging them on to my existing Yoga DVD workouts (I graduated from the Wii, so that’s something).

I wanted a DVD to complement the ones I already have, but the reviews were so mixed I decided on a book instead, especially as it was half price. (I bought it from Amazon Marketplace and even with postage it was cheaper than buying it from Amazon.)

Now I just need some relaxation CDs to go with it …

Writing wise, I’m going back to school with this book I bought from the Open University a while ago. It’s been reprinted and updated since, but this is the one I’m using.

I’m also re-assessing what I want from my writing, and I’m alternating full-length projects so that I always have something longer to work on when I run out of steam on other projects. The sharp-eyed will notice that the sidebar has been adjusted to suit.

My NaNo time is reverting back to study time again and hopefully, eventually, writing time.

I have no idea whether or not this will work, but I have to start somewhere. I’m not the kind to just throw in the towel and give up at the first sign of bother.

What do you do to get back on track? How do you motivate yourself again? Do you take a shotgun to the crows or simply shoo them away? Answers in the usual place below, thank you. 🙂


12 thoughts on “Back to basics (whinge alert)

  1. Elizabeth Ducie 20 November 2012 / 8:54 am

    Oh, Diane, I do empathise (and symphatise) with this post. Why are we writers always so quick to entertain those crows? Do musicians and artists have the same problems? I suspect they do. I also know that in my thirty years in ‘the day job’, I often worried about ‘being found out’ even though I was a respected professional that knew her stuff. Maybe it’s all humans that have self-doubt at times.

    To answer your specific questions, I have found myself recently writing less as my other commitments increased. This made me so miserable that I have now stopped doing anything until after I have written my chapter for the day (which takes me most of the morning). Not only is the novel coming on rapidly, but I find I have more energy for the other things and am more productive in a short space of time. If I am struggling with the chapter, I use the 20 minute timer trick: after a couple of cycles, I am well into the writing and forget to set the time or stop for a break.

    Good luck with you new approach, but don’t get over-tired. Oh, and I agree that the OU book is brilliant.


    • Diane 20 November 2012 / 9:02 am

      Thank you, that made me smile. Not only because it’s reassuring to know I’m not on my own, but because you know exactly what I mean and how I feel. I think that starting the day with writing is one of the best ideas going, and I always have such good intentions …

      Good luck to you too. You seem to be doing so well. 🙂


  2. Carol 20 November 2012 / 9:12 am

    Hugs and more hugs. Now stop whinging. :0) You are BRILLIANT at writing. Do that before you do anything else…your advice to me and brilliant advice! Obviously you are also brilliant at proofreading and editing, you are a brilliant mate, with loads of advice and support. Where would most of us be without your blog and SSS? Flailing around in never never land I suspect.
    We need to get together for a good whinge and the put the world to rights.
    I hope your plans help with the back and arthritis, that’s a real pain – no pun intended. (honest :0) )
    More hugs.


    • Diane 20 November 2012 / 9:19 am

      Ha ha ha ha ha – thanks! I wish I was as brilliant a mate as you are! And yes, we need to set that date.

      Sorry for the whinge – the Pollyanna hat must have slipped.


  3. Carol 20 November 2012 / 12:04 pm

    Whinge away that’s what we’re here for…and just look how much you wrote!! See!!!!


    • Diane 20 November 2012 / 1:23 pm

      Yes! 733 words! 🙂


  4. Josie 20 November 2012 / 12:47 pm

    whinge away, self doubt? I just feel exactly the same, if I blogged about every time I feel that way, I’d never be off the blog! I’m the same with the sewing, in September I had a target of 100 items for the Etsy shop , that just keeps getting carried forward week after week and now it’s November and I’m stuck on 78 and the rest, well I’ve cheated slightly and created a few ‘made to order’ pages instead! and and last week, I got so fed up I recycled a bag, tried to unpick it , got frustrated and ended up ripping the fabric, erm it’s £6 for half a metre, oops, oh well that’s a few more mobile covers as sale items ready for January!
    How do I motivate myself? Just buy another new ‘make to sell’ bag pattern and start all over again!
    Josie x


    • Diane 20 November 2012 / 1:24 pm

      Some tell us we should set the bar higher to achieve more, but if we’re constantly setting it too high we’re going to be forever beating ourselves up. It must be a creative thing – soul destroying at times, especially when you don’t see anyone else to tell you otherwise. x


  5. Alison Runham 21 November 2012 / 12:38 pm

    Just popping in to give you encouragement and a pat on the back (a gentle one, obviously! Don’t want to be responsible for a relapse!). Bask in the warmth of your glowing feedback, because praise is rare I once went on a course – completely non-writing-related – that mentioned how little we praise adults as compared to children, and how awkward we feel as adults when we are on the receiving end! We tend to immediately devalue or deny what we’ve done: ‘just doing my job!’ ‘it was nothing’ ‘I was just lucky’ ! So bask, girl, bask! XD
    The OU book is good, it’s the first year textbook of the now sadly defunct Literature & Creative Writing Diploma – luckily for me I nabbed one in its last year. The second year book is not bad either: although not such a fluid read. The materials for the OU short Writing Fiction course are incredibly good but mostly online I think, which is a shame because there is great stuff there on generating ideas.
    Good luck. You have my sympathy – I too have abandoned a regular yoga and keep fit routine (for a whole host of whingey reasons!) and issues I can’t solve keep on hamstringing the writing efforts. Bah! Onwards & Upwards 🙂


    • Diane 21 November 2012 / 12:46 pm

      Ha ha ha – thanks, Alison. And great to see you. 🙂 And thanks for the link – that put it in my “post-to-approve” folder, so I hope your reply wasn’t sitting there too long before I spotted it. Sorry to hear that you’re having health issues too. 😦


  6. Sarah Head 23 November 2012 / 3:02 pm

    I just wanted to add another voice to the “Don’t be so hard on yourself” brigade. You are managing amazing things and if the creative stuff isn’t happening at the moment, don’t beat yourself up, it will come back. I’m wondering if you are suffering from lack of a writer’s group for the creative support. I’m very conscious that I’m not writing anything new at the moment except for the SWW exercises. I’m sure we’ll both get back to feeling the creative juices flowing and the ability to finish a project sometime soon.


    • Diane 23 November 2012 / 6:13 pm

      Thank you, Sarah. Yes, I do miss my SWW buddies and the dynamic of a good group like that one. I’m just so annoyed with myself for starting so many unfinished projects. One of the joys of SWW was that when I wasn’t working on Night Crawler I still always had topics to write to and deadlines where they had to be read out. Hopefully, completing short projects with the course book will help kick me back into the groove. I’m pleased with progress so far. I hope you get your mojo back soon too.


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