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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Letting Go and Moving On

This is sort of the Ode to Bad Parenting.

Really bad parenting.

If my WIP were a living child CPS would have stepped in months ago.

See, all three kids were home today because it was vaccination day. I dragged my entire World Domination Plan B team (read: the kids who will rule the world in 20 years if I fail to take it over in the meantime) down to the pediatrician. Oh fun and joy. Not really.

Then home again via the local drop zone. We snacked on granola bars and watched parachuters land in the field. Lunch, nap time, and now I have the older two watching a version of Robin Hood that's older than I am while the baby sleeps in his swing and I open my much neglected WIP.

This novel is on life support and slipping fast.

Since I finished the last draft in July I've done almost no work. None. Zero. I played with the opening chapter a few times. That's the literary equivalent of handing a band-aid to the guy who just jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge.

I've had the attention span of a gnat on crack since I finished that last draft. I haven't focused on any one thing. I was supposed to write the first rough for At War's End, and lost interest in writing by page two. I love the story, but I'd love it more if someone else would do the work.

Rumors always swirl in writing groups... dark stories of something called "Burn Out". I'm pretty sure that's not my issue. I waffled like this last fall too, just before I put Ice on ice (And, boy, does that hottie have my number. He's been whispering sweet plot twists in my ear for months).

The problem then, like it is now, is that I didn't know where to go with my career. Fear of sucess sounds laughable, but it isn't. For me it's not just the fear of sucess it's really the choice if which sucess, or which career, I'm pursuing.

Right now I'm looking at a chance to go back to college for my masters degree next fall. It would be daunting. There's several hurdles to cross, not the least of which is being in the right part of the country come September. But, for me, the biggest decision is do I want to go back?

I've wanted a Ph.D. since I was old enough to pronounce the letters. By the time I hit high school I had colleges picked out, my schedule set, and the goal of graduating with my doctorate by the time I turned 28.

For those of you who are counting, that's next August.

I know I won't earn my doctorate in the next twelve months. My big problem is... do I even want to try?

Do I want to go back to school?

I loved college! I love being in class, playing in the lab, doing the work, and hanging out with people who really understand why meiofauna is so exciting. Or, at least, I did love all those things when I graduated. Now I really love writing. I love reading books. I love talking about plots and characters with my friends. And I think everyone who does NaNoWriMo is awesome!

I'm not sure I can make the two worlds mix. Writing reports on hard science and staring at 1000+ rows of data does not create a creative spark. If anything, it kills the imagination in terrible and brutal ways.

While I was in school for my bachelors degree I didn't write any fiction.


For four years.

So I'm here, staring at my WIP, and wondering if I should try at all. I'm in the grip of the What If's ... What if I go back to school? What iof I query and someone wants me to do revisions next fall? What if we move to Alaska? What if dinosaurs walk through the wall?

That would be weird. Huh. Maybe I should write a short story about that....

<.< >.>


For now, writing wins out. I'm writing and editing everything I can. If I can query in the summer, that's great, I will. If I go back to school next fall then I'll find a way to make school and writing mix.

Am I the only who ever does this, or do you make excuses for writing too?


  1. Liana, you aren't alone. Writing is one of those hobbies that require your full attention and the 'right mood', and unfortunately, that isn't always possible.

    When I'm stressed and worried about bills and the future, I really can't write if my life depended on it. That's been my deal this past year or so.

    It would take a tremendous leap of faith to quit my full time job and take all of those required day (lab, internship) classes I turned away from five years ago.

    If I had the opportunity though and knew that my bills would still get paid, you betcha I would leap away and finish school - particularly if it put me in the field (animal care) where I'm happiest.

    Good luck, and take it one day at a time.

    Something that keeps my chin up - I knew a woman who was 60 years old and finally finishing her veterinary degree. It was something she'd always wanted to do, but never had time away from family (a few kids, dogs, husband) and her real job (vet technician). She's got her practice now and loving every minute of it. That woman is my inspiration. :)

  2. I understand what you're saying about fear of success with your writing. I'm having a similar problem myself, though I'm perfectly happy with my bachelor's degree so higher ed. doesn't play into it. I just know that even if I do get a book contract, I won't be able to quit my job. That leaves me wondering whether I'll be able to hack writing to deadlines while still holding down my 40 hrs per week. Scary. I'm pretty sure that's why I've waffled with the whole writing thing for so long. I've decided to go forward, but it still makes me incredibly nervous.

    Good luck with whatever you decide - sounds like there are no bad choices for you at this point. Only good things can happen, no matter what you choose. :-)