Tag Archives: #amwriting

Post Smoky Blues and Highs

So, back again! Been a while, hasn’t it?

Soooooo, I went to Smoky again. J If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out [this post] or [this one] from a review of a previous Smoky. If you don’t want to go to that lovely piece of my blog, I’ll paraphrase: 20-some writers of all shapes and kinds, cranking out words, eating delicious, homecooked food (courtesy of our two live-in chefs), and having a blast.

I miss everyone already, but that last day slammed me once I go home. See, in the prior two years of attending the Smoky Mountain Writers retreat, I would get home off of a high of cranking out thousands upon thousands of words, and think, “I’m going to continue working on this until it’s done and perfect and-

Grumpy-Cat-NO-1

My brain would shut down entirely. I would want to write, but have nothing pulling me to write. My mind was filled with ideas, but without motivation, I’d go nowhere. {See  [this post] on L.O.I. and my struggles with it.)

And nowhere was where I remained for months after each Smoky. First Smoky (2015) I cranked out about 28,000 words in the six days of the retreat. Second Smoky (2016 – Last Year): 36,000 words.  All new projects.

This year, my new project topped out at 31,000 by Saturday night. I was pleased with my work, even getting positive feedback from an awesome friend who has been supportive for the last month or so. (For those of you who don’t know what I mean by that, watch [this video] for the bombshell that broke me at the end of January.)

I won’t say much about this project, as I’m keeping it as hush-hush as I can. All I can promise is that it is amazing so far. In working on this project, I learned how to look back on the past and smile, without it dragging me down.

Most of this week post-Smoky, I’ve been singing and dancing everywhere, smile on my face (most of the time, anyway). I’ve gotten tons of weird looks at the grocery store and gas stations and while walking laps at work, but, for once in my life, I didn’t care.

I.

DIDN’T.

CARE.

A HUGE step in the right direction, I think. While the beginning of the year had been rough, I’m not going to let it squash my passion for writing and my confidence in this project.

Also, we do nightly readings at Smoky, where we can ask questions, but no criticisms, which creates a nice, positive atmosphere in which to share our crafted stories. Many of you will have heard of me talk about my mentors Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine (Authors of The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series; highly recommend). They were the ones that got me to my first Smoky, and they go every year too. It’s always fun to see them and laugh and have a good time, and my depression thanks all the Smokies for emotionally supporting me. It really helped, guys. It really did.

Anyway, Tee was in my last three reading groups of the retreat. That first reading, it was me, him, and KT. I did my reading second, and was terrified. Once I’d finished my 15 minutes (different from the standard 10, because our group was smaller than the others), Tee asked a question or two, and then told me that, compared to the readings I did last year, my writing was LOADS better, and he could see how much I’ve improved, to which, KT agreed. Once readings were over, I was headed to my room to call Boyfriend, when Tee got my attention and said, “Seriously, Christine, that was good. Keep it up.” As he thumbsed-up me and walked away, my heart pounded. I couldn’t believe that my mentor, idol, and role model had complimented me that strongly.

Fast forward to the final night’s reading. I finished reading a single chapter, and had 3 minutes left to read. Before I could continue, Tee interrupts and asks a question. I glanced at where I would be reading and told him, “I don’t think I’ll be able to get there in three minutes.” He laughed and urged me to finish. Once my turn was done, he said to me, “Your story… it kinda feels along the lines of Labrynth.”

Cue heart pounding out of my chest. For those of you that don’t know Tee and Pip, let me mention a little factoid: they LOVE David Bowie. Like, beyond comprehension. Tee comparing my story to a David Bowie movie just topped anything else on the retreat. I was on Cloud Nine all the way home… Until I remembered what my brain does after Smoky…

Grumpy-Cat-NO-1

… And started to silently panic.

Soon, I realized there was a simple way to combat the L.O.I. and lack of motivation: Forcing words out. I am now challenging myself to write 300+ words a day, and I’m keeping a record in an Excel Document (Curse my love of Excel). I’ve been doing okay, considering; I’ve written over 3k in the last four days. I’m also posting a daily #PostSWRLog update on my Twitter account to hold myself accountable. I’m still going to attempt words this weekend, but travelling for a short vacation might hinder that ability. I still will post #PostSWRLogs, but probably not a huge word count. That will change after that fun’s over.

Oh, and that project that Tee complimented me on?

*gestures for you to come in closer*

*whispers* It’s a secret.

Keep Faith, everyone. Stay tuned. This year is going to be a wild ride. 😀