Lisa’s Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day–Part 2

by Lisa Rosen on February 24, 2011

An update to yesterday’s deep-blue funk:

Seth Godin, author-entrepeneur-marketer extraordinaire, writers about something he calls “the dip.”  The dip is that darkness-before-dawn moment when you’ve worked hard at something, you’ve put in the investment of time and energy and faith, and you can’t quite get it off the ground.  That’s when so many of us throw in the towel.  Seth argues that if we could stick with it just a little bit longer, give it another good effort, one more rewrite, the tide will turn and the project (business, book, idea, etc.) will take off.

Yesterday?  I was definitely in the dip.  I believe I called it the black pit of despair? Okay, maybe I didn’t use those words exactly, but that’s what I meant.  That’s certainly what I was feeling.  And I sat with it, all day.  Just . . . accepted it.  I didn’t have much choice–I couldn’t figure a way out of that dark place in my head (you know, the place of self-doubt and loathing; the place where words like useless and failure seem reasonable).  Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew it wouldn’t last forever; I hoped so, anyway.  Phone calls and blog comments and hugs from my people helped, but mostly I just walked around in a gray cloud, like Eeyore.  Blah.

I was so frustrated.  I love that little short story.  I know it’s the best story I’ve written; part of me thinks (is afraid, actually) it’s even better than the novel I’m trying to get published.  I so, so wanted that magazine (the magazine I most want to be published in, because they pay better than most–how’s that for a blunt reason?) to take it.

So I put the story out of my head, and worked on other things.  I wrote that blog post.  I made some changes to a story that I’m going to send off to my writer’s group this afternoon.  I tried to think about some revisions to my first novel, but that felt sort of overwhelming.  So, yes, I might’ve done some knitting, and some blog-surfing, and I might even have dragged Lee and Delaney to the mall last night to buy a garlic press (ooh!  new garlic press!  exactly like this old one, because it has started mangling the garlic).  Sometimes you just survive the day, right?

Late last night I crawled into bed with a stack of notes about the novel.  A month ago or so, a friend (thank you, Miller!) convinced a friend of his (who is an amazing writer herself–more on that another day) to take a look at it.  She made a lot of suggestions that have been rolling around in my head ever since (somewhat like a tumbleweed blowing through an empty desert, admittedly).  I understand the words, but haven’t quite been able to make the leap from her words to mine.

And then, out of the blue, it just clicked.  It was one of those lightbulb moments, sitting there in the bed, shivering in my jammies, grumpy as all get-out, suddenly, I totally understood what I need to do to fix that book.

I still have to actually make the changes, of course.  I figure I’m looking at something like forty pages of fresh writing.  But that’s okay:  at least I see the path now.  And that short story–I woke up this morning making a mental list of other places I can send it.

Back in the saddle.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Miller Sigmon February 25, 2011 at 8:21 am

Lisa–Good job!!!Back on track!! Just alittle bump in the road…Miller

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