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Friday, March 30, 2012

Pulling Back to Move Forward...

Aloha,

Last month, I attended a writers’ conference (SCWC) and during one of the many seminars, an editorial director at a publishing company that specializes in memoir/biography – my current genre – pointed me out (in front of da peers) and asked, “Speaking of which, hey Mark, why haven’t you finished that ms? I’m waiting already.”

Life is Like a Sprinkler: You Never Know When It's Going to get you :)
I wasn’t embarrassed for her singling me out – but I was embarrassed because I first talked to this E.D. in September. I was convinced I could whip out WIP and have it ready by April 2.
This Monday.
Yuh, right…


One reason I blew my own deadline is because something I thought would be a chore (blogging) has instead become a breathing, living, amazing adventure.
Can I hear a Whoot! Whoot! or even a "SIGGY's in the house!"
(Anyone?... anyone...? :)

My first post was less than seven months ago – and while it took five months to earn one hundred followers, only seven weeks have passed since then and here I sit on the cusp of two hundred.

I finally know (and appreciate) that my writing is enjoyed by some who are not blood-related to me, which is amazing.

(No matter what happens from here in my writing career, I will forever treasure comments from people like Sarah Pearson who once said she enjoyed catching up with my posts over a cup of coffee… really? Really? Wow… J

My writing has been *rocked* by this community, which is why I must bow out of the A-Z challenge and pull back from three posts to one post a week.

 My reason: WIP (and the words of the E.D.)
Let me just gather my A-Z ideas...
 I was sooo looking forward to A-Z…. I mean, gosh, I am (was?) #190 out of 1,300 plus. My twenty-six folders were ready... I had back up plans to my back up plans (honest!) I was ready to go. (I could have been a contender. Yes sir!)

And, then I realized…

I haven’t WIP’ed in about two weeks.


Two weeks.
Sure, I’ve been writing. I’ve been happily writing and blogging and hosting my O’hop, but only at night once our three boys (under five) are asleep and this stay-at-home dad can listen to something *not* recorded by The Wiggles or Larry the Cucumber. J

I’ve so enjoyed building relationships with many of you Writers and It. Sucked. Wind. pulling my A-Z badge.
I wish everyone all the very best during the upcoming month (and beyond!!) but there are no regrets :)

No regrets.

Only “lost” time, because I've been chickening out of my WIP responsibilities.

(Do you mind if I share something personal…?)

I’m scared to finish WIP.

I know I am a good writer, but I’m scared to pass the certain point (two-thirds that I’ve done) because if I do… I might finish.

And if I finish, what then?

(Knocks on outer shell of inner self) Dude, it’s me.

Oh, hey!

Then, you move on to WIP 2.0.

Oh.

I won’t bother you with details… but I’ve built a major wall against the heartache of failure.
For most of my life, I’ve always courted attention.
Always been the one people gravitated to – always good for a laugh.
However, in certain things that I care about, I feel I'll always be inadequate:

As a man of God.

As a husband.

As a father.

As a writer.

...And then, several months ago, I found myself sitting in a small men’s group via church.
(It’s not specifically themed for "small men"– it’s a men’s group with a small amount of regulars… Leprechauns are not welcome...)

Sharing with these guys - and we're allll over the socio-economic map - helped me realize where my head was - and where it needs to be.

So you’re afraid to write the book and have the book fail?
It won’t... That's not ego... it’s too good of an inspirational story.
So, what’s the issue?

I’m scared!

You mentioned that...

OK, OK, so I’ve focused on blogging rather than WIP – because…

Yes, yes, you’re scared. (I’m scarred after reading this. So. Now. What?)

So, now it’s time for me to step up to the plate, pull back and move forward with WIP.

The plan is...?

To post every Wednesday, so I can still participate in IWSG and any other blog hop that fits. (All current committments i.e. critiques, reads, future blog hops in August, etc. will be sooo honored.)

Otherwise, my nose, eye and lip will be in WIP.

Offline, I would love to keep in touch with the many friends I’ve made in the last seven months. My email is always open and the comments will continue J

Thanks to every single person who’s following me, and I appreciate every follower who decides to bear with me :)

This ain't goodbye.

It’s just cheerio.

I’ll see you Wednesday, then.

SIGGY. Out.
Thanks Ali :)

32 comments:

Scarlett said...

Helloooo! Anybody home?
*saunters through front door. helps self to lucky charms between the cushions. recovers the remote from beneath butt, turns channel to Sesame Street. waits for Wednesday*

It takes courage, Mark. I feel your struggle with ye old WIP. Me and mine have had some words of late, or rather have NOT had some words.

I have regular bouts with those ankle biting demons that screech like banshees when I step on their itty bitty tails. They've tried to convince me FOR YEARS that I am mediocre and I will always be mediocre. They laugh maniacally (maniacally I say!) when I whine, "But, I W-A-N-T to write a book."

It takes fortitude and determination to make the hard choices, especially when there are sacrifices to be made. I just cleared out my *Blog Envy* section (that place I go on my blog to catch up with blogs I love) this morning. I hated doing it, because there are so many talented writers, bloggers... fellow human beings out there that are SO talented, SO genuine, SO good at what they do. I had just amassed too big a list.

BUT (Behold the Underlying Truth), if I am to finish my WIP, I must limit myself to all the free-play I've grown accustomed to, and whittle it down to those I simply cannot miss out on! And this bring me to you. Sitting on your couch. Scrounging for cereal bits. And watching your television. I'm Goldilocks. Only not as young, pretty or rude.

So, YOU Write.
I'll Write.
We'll catch up on Wednesdays!
And in the meantime, we'll pick our dreams up off the floor and get to work. 'Cause doggone it, we're worth it!

All my love and support COMING YOUR WAY.

Jack said...

I've done the same thing, Mark. I had to go back to once-a-week posting cuz I neglected my WIP far too often and felt it as the priority in my life. Not blogging. Not to say blogging isn't fun (be it far from me)! It's tons of fun! But ultimately, the WIP is more important cuz that's what we're all here for anyway--to get our WIPs in shape for publication!!!

Anyhoo! No guilt. I understand...uh, we understand! We're all writers, after all! :D

Morgan said...

Mark, you're awesome.

I'm not doing the A to Z challenge either because I know I've got to get my WIP all shiny and pretty. And I've also started streeeetching out my posts ;)

I told someone the other day that your blog was my latest addiction. And 198 other people's too *winks*

Love your honesty. I'm not sure about everyone else, but I'm afraid too. It's SCARY. And it's easier to not dive in and put yourself out there... Man, I battle that fear every day that I open my word doc... it's been an issue with me too. Pretty bad. So I *get* it. I do.

But what's so great is that you do have this huge community of writers who DO support you. It's a crazy feeling, knowing that people want you to succeed and are waving the pom poms. So we're all expecting you to open that doc and conquer it. One stinkin' word at a time. :D

Cassie Mae said...

I plan on having an affair with your email then so we can still talk.

Was that creepy? I mean it in the least creepy way possible!

And I still get to finish reading this WIP, right? Cuz I'll bug you to finish it so I can read the entire thing!

Don't worry about the A to Z. You can send me the posts you had ready via email and we'll still be friends. I'll even comment on them.

Oh! Reminds me! I need a favor... remind me to ask you later.

:D

Linda Jackson said...

Wow, Mark. Your post has me both crying and smiling at the same time. For you to be so open about your WIP is touching, yet, you know how to add humor to the situation. No one will fault you for pulling back on the blogging (I actually considered not doing the A-Z this morning myself). You are a writer, and writers write. So write that memoir. And don't be afraid of success.

See you on Wednesdays. :)

Julie said...

Oh, this post really touched me. I can so relate to that fear of finishing and of failure! And I so know what you mean about blogging taking over your time, I'm just returning from a blogging break and it was the right thing for me. I'm sorry you won't be participating in the A-Z but I can totally understand your decision!

Good luck with diving back into the WIP! And I have to say, the comment about leprechauns at the small men's group totally cracked me up. :D

Take care and have a great weekend!

David P. King said...

You have to do what you must sometimes. I might even cut down from 3 to 2 posts. Haven't decided yet where I'm headed with that. Get that WiP done, cause it'll be awesome! :)

Shiela Calderón Blankemeier said...

Beuatiful! And know you're not alone. I've been putting off revising my current WIP for the same reasons. I posted about it as well - I'm terrified to start. So I focused on blogging, reading, cleaning, ANYTHING to keep me distracted. It comes down to simply doing it. And I know you can! If you need a boost in confidence, check out Drawing Out the Dragons by James Owens. He's offering it free right now. I have the link on my page here: http://shielawrites.blogspot.com/2012/02/excuses-excuses-dragon-to-rescue.html. No worries, he's extended the offer for another couple of weeks. Read it - you'll be glad you did! Hang in there and see you next wednesday :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Bummer! I understand though. I won't be working much on my manuscript during April. However, the first A to Z changed my blog forever, and this is my opportunity to give back. It will be insane though.

Hope Roberson said...

I love the blogging world too and totally find myself with good intentions of only blogging for a tiny bit before doing real writing. Intentions don't get me very far :) Best of luck on finishing your WiP and I'll be back on Wednesdays for a chuckle :)

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

Looks like you have a headstart on the Insecure Writer's post. Keep writing. Look fear in the face. It's your dragon. Now, go and slay it!! Most of us are just as much, if not more, afraid of success as we are of failure.

Richard said...

You're making a good decision.

Lara Schiffbauer said...

What you are speaking resonates with me totally! I know the fear of finishing, the fear of failure, the fear of being forgotten if I'm not always present online. Well, maybe that last one is only mine :) But (and it's a big one!) you are doing what you need to do to get your WIP done - which is returning to your first priority (well, after your family, and being a man of God...) Okay, let's say your first writerly priority. That takes a lot of courage, and ambition? motivation? I know! Perseverance! Good job and I'll be watching for your posts when they come out!

Mark Koopmans said...

@ Scarlett: Now *that* was a comment :) Thanks so much for the shout out and no home invasions charges are pending... you (and Rick:) are invited and we extend all fridge privileges :)

@ Jack: Cheers, mate... It so helps to hear I'm not alone, which is why I *love* the community... sending you a manly hug :)

@ Morgie:) See, you're one smart mama:) You already knew what took me so long to figure out.
You are so right, though... it is scary, but peeps are rooting for each other here, which is awesome:) Thanks for the kind words and support - as always :)

@ Cassandra :)~ Dude, you crack me up. That's it. 'Nuff said. I know you gots me back :)

@Linda: Like I said in my email to you - thanks so very much. Your words are so appreciated.

@Julie: The Leprechauns made me do it :) I'm glad to hear you made it back safely from your own break... makes me feel better:)

Mark Koopmans said...

@ David: Thanks and once WIP is done, you'll be the first to know :)
Good luck with your own decisions...

@ Sheila: Thank you so much for the words of encouragement... they mean a lot:) See you Wednesday :)

Theresa Milstein said...

I don't blame you. Focus on your WIP. That should be your priority. (I should listen to my own advice! How did I get tempted this year?)

Mark Koopmans said...

@ Alex: Yeah, bummed a bit... was really looking forward to it, but feel this is the right thing to do... and looking forward to A-Z '13 :)

@ Hope: Thanks and will be stopping by other sites, so "see" you soon...

@ Mary: Ha! Never thought about IWSG, but yeah, I can do a repost.. it is this Wednesday :)

@ Richard: Thanks, man, appreciate the support!

@ Lara: No, I'm right there with you when it comes to the fear of being forgotten (if I stay offline) but WIP trumps fear, especially with your words of support:) Thanks Lara, appreciate ye :)

@ Theresa: *it* does sneak up on us, I hear you:) Thanks for the support and Focus right back at you :)

meradeth said...

As much as I totally enjoy your blog, I am happy for you :) It's amazing how much time blogging can take, and I wish you the best on finishing your WIP!!!

Stacy S. Jensen said...

I admire writers who blog, who take a break from blogging to work on their writing. Makes complete sense to me. I'm cheering you on for the manuscript. I wrote the rough draft of mine in two months after struggling to finish it in almost three years. I can relate to all of your thoughts on that process. I begin revisions in April. I think this will be the more difficult phase. Good luck. And, I'll be reading the blog when you post.

jaybird said...

Mark- not sure how you get any work done being a Stay-at-home Dad with three kids, living in Hawaii! I would want to be outdoors, 24-7splashing around in waterfalls or going to epic luaus, enjoying all the beauty around me. The Big Island is my family's fav place on earth...

All kidding aside, I get it. I'm not committing to the A-Z either, because I know I could not handle it right now. Best of luck on your WIP. And, as a man of God, don't be so hard on yourself. Remember, no one is perfect, we are all WIPs in that sense :)

Sarah Pearson said...

Aww, thank you for the mention. Too much to say, email headed your way.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

First of all, I'm sorry you backed out of A to Z but I'm glad you signed up otherwise I wouldn't have found your wonderful blog.

I, too, have a three-quarters-finished manuscript that I honestly believe I'm scared to finish. Isn't that CRAZY?
Well, good luck to you getting it done!

Tracy Bermeo said...

Mark, you will be missed, but your decision totally makes sense. Priorities have to be put in order and it's difficult to focus on all things once kids go to bed. I have three also, SAHM, and often try to write at night only to find I can't think straight, read straight, or even type well. Too wiped out. I'll be back on Wednesdays to read more from you- I love the way you write.
A2ZMommy and What’s In Between

Beth Stilborn said...

Good for you for setting your priorities in order, Mark.

Best of everything. (Just popped in, clicking on the A to Z list.)

Medeia Sharif said...

I hope you finish your WIP. Good luck to you. I love blogging, but it does take a lot of time. I struggle to do both, writing and blogging.

Green Monkey said...

it makes sense Mark - I can't balance jack!

I blog more than I write. Will I write if I don't blog?

I know you will fly!

Monkey got your back!

August McLaughlin said...

Good luck with your WIP! Kudos to you for making it a priority.

behlerblog.com said...

OK, so since I'm the ED you're talking about, may I say it publicly? FINISH THE DAMN BOOK.

Ahem. Thank you.

nutschell said...

Sorry to hear your dropping out, but you definitely have tons of stuff to keep you busy. Good luck with your writing!

Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Libby said...

"I finally know (and appreciate) that my writing is enjoyed by some who are not blood-related to me," - seriously, the first time someone I wasn't friends with or related to said they liked my writing, I almost cried.

Kirsten said...

Aww, what a great post! I'm new to blogging and discovering something similar, and am just not as eloquent about expressing it!
If your WIP is anywhere near as great as your blog posts it will fly off the bookstore shelves. Happy writing. :)

Holly Kammier said...

Oh Mark,

You are not alone. But good for you for making room for your project. I can't wait to pick up the finished copy in a book store!!!

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