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Monday, April 8, 2013

Writer's Life: In the Waiting Room...with Godot


“Let's go." "We can't." "Why not?" "We're waiting for Godot.” 


Did anyone else study Beckett's Waiting for Godot at school? I know I did...and I've seen it done as a play. Do I understand it? Thought I did at the time...now I'm not so sure!



Over the Easter break I went bushwalking...there is nothing like a tramp (no Godot puns intended!) through the Australian bush, crackling dry after the end of a hot summer with scent of eucalyptus hanging in the air, to get yourself thinking.

As I pondered the work in progress (or works in progress...there are a couple), the conclusion I came to is that too much of my life is spent waiting...my mantra seems to have become, "When X happens, I will be able to do Y." Hmmm...other people might call this Writers Block perhaps?


At the moment I have 3 submissions and several contest entries out there in the big wide world. Every morning I leap for my iPad on the off chance there might be an email with some fabulous news...every morning it is the usual round of emails from the wives of ex dictators wanting me to help them squirrel away their fabulous wealth or (lucky me) $1million wins in lotteries I didn't know I had entered. These are not the lottery results I am waiting for!




The upshot of this waiting is I stop doing anything else. As I twiddle the feathers on my quill, my thought process goes down this road... "When I get that offer from X publisher, I will get on with writing Y".  Ah ha I hear you say, Why don't I get on with writing Y anyway? Because, I reply, my quill towards my guttering candle to see if burning feathers really do revive fainting women,  if I don't get that offer from X publisher then there's no point pouring my heart and soul into Y because nobody wants X.... Get the picture?

But to make it even worse, even if I do get published, I still drop into "waiting" mode. First there is "waiting for edits", then "waiting for the cover", "waiting for the release date" and on on it goes. Paralysing me into a complete standstill. My daily routine is subsumed into mini waiting periods...I will finish writing this blog before I do any writing...oh wait, what am I going to write? I'm waiting to hear from publisher X about book A and publisher Z about book B...should I be working on the sequel to Book B or should I be working on a series set up for Book A...

...and on the circular argument in my head goes.

A few years a go I did Margie Lawson's Beating Self Defeating Behaviours Course...obviously I need to go back for a refresher. If this isn't a self defeating behaviour then I don't know what is!

So I need to shake myself out of the doldrums and I think the answer is to get back to work on something I really want to do and let the submissions/the contests and the new release take care of themselves. Better to wait in hope or wait and dream up fabulous new characters and plots for the next book...just in case Publisher X really does want Book A...STOP right now!




6 comments:

  1. I know nothing of Waiting for Godot - although the title is at least familiar! But I do know about that circular working of your brain. I have very similar conversations in my head too. When I've done this, I'll then do that. It can be quite paralyzing, can't it?

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  2. I can completely relate to your circular thinking Ali! Although I'm not published (yet...she says to herself because you gotta hope right...), I feel like I am in a strange stasis state at present. Like you I'm waiting for contest results, waiting until I finish this before I do that (like starting a website!!!). My merry-go-round thinking seems to be worse when I'm struggling to find the right words to move my wip forward...which is about now LOL (hence my cruising around blogs etc.) But thanks for sharing Ali. It's good to know that I'm not the only writer who thinks like this sometimes. Now back to my ms...

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  3. Totally immobilising, JT! It ends up with nothing getting done. I find writing lists helps.

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  4. Jennifer, it is very reassuring to know I am not alone! I look back on the happy time I had writing my first book...before all the waiting began. I need to recapture that feeling.

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  5. I hate the waiting moment. You don't know if it will come. No assurance :(

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  6. Thanks, Kenneth. One thing being a writer teaches you...endless patience!

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