Oh, the things I do to myself…

After a very difficult few weeks I am back on solid ground. The feedback I received this week helped me see all of that hard work has paid off. Although I am nowhere near finished this latest WIP, I can tell you that I am feeling much better about what I want to do with it now. 

I’ve started plotting while walking again. It has been a few weeks since I’ve been able to walk and plot. The stresses of daily life were taking up the creative space in my head. I am beginning to really see how this happens to me. When I’m stressed about how the writing is going, or, what someone is going to say about the writing, or, if I’m going to get into a particular Montgomery/children’s writing conference I’ve applied for, than I focus on the things at work or other factors I really cannot control. It is quite brilliant actually.  If I’m really clever, I will look at myself in the mirror and say “Well, you really need to lose that extra 10 pounds, Melanie.” 
This time around I’ve been doing the yoga and staying off the wheat and gluten the best I can. This keeps my spirits calmer and my body more in tune with itself. (although yesterday I looked at myself and wondered if I had a double chin.) 
The walking also helps. Remember that lecture that I heard last year about walking and creativity? I truly believe this to be an important component of my own creative process. When I don’t walk, I see a difference in how I process. 
So, with all of the changes happening at the day job and a big energy bill, plus figuring out where the money for tuition is going to come from, one could say that I was spinning myself into a frenzy in a big way. Well, one could say that and they would be right. That is exactly what I was doing to myself because I’m the creator of my own drama. Particularly when I have no idea where the writing is going or that I think that my writing is going badly and that it is all shit and why am I bothering. 
This apparently happens to other writers – writers who have come much further in their careers than I. Which is another thing that I like to punish myself for – how far I haven’t come in my work.  It is good fun. 
Luckily, the next packet is due in about ten days so I have a lot of things to keep my mind occupied on actual writing rather than the drama.  Then there are mid-semester evaluations and some scholarship applications which if I think if there is anything worthy I will throw my hat in the ring and if I’m lucky it will help pay for some of that tuition that I’m sure will somehow get paid.  
There is also the Montgomery Leaksdale Conference to look forward to the second weekend in October. I have already begun my Rilla paper. It is very interesting. I’m not exactly sure why I’ve started to study grief and the WWI in this way, but I suspect that it will make sense in the coming months. Things have a way of working themselves into ones writing when they aren’t looking.  
Most of all, I will get to see my Montgomery friends again and that is always fun. A couple of us are turning it into a short road trip (it really is short, maybe an hour and a half from my house) and my friend and I are going to stay in this really lovely apartment/hotel space. It is going to be like a mini-work vacation. I think that I really need that. 
As you can see, I’ve kept my promise and posted my latest goodreads review for you. Vikki’s work is simply delightful. I love that word, “delightful.” I went to her book launch on Monday and there were balloons, cupcakes and musical theatre. The kids had a blast and there was such positive energy there. She’s also raising money for a charity called Day of Pink. I love how she’s been able to take her work and find something positive to do with it.  An inspiration to be sure. There was also an Anne of Green Gables reference, so for me she’s definitely a kindred spirit. Perhaps I can be like her one day when I grow up
Or, I can just be myself. New rule though. I need to be kinder to myself. Be patient with myself. And, know that it is a process, my process, and it will, as with finding my tuition dollars and that perfect plot point, all work out in the end. 
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About Melanie J. Fishbane

My novel, MAUD: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery was published in 2017 through Penguin Random House on April 25, 2017. I hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Here I talk about my writing process, things I love, and creative people who inspire me.
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