Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Writer's Wednesday: Not all About The Book



It's not all about the book.
That's all I wanted to say today. In the little tradition I have of stripping my life back to the truth bones and showing them for whatever they may be worth, let me explain.

For the last three weeks my book and I have been fighting. It's winning if you must know :)
I joke, but it really isn't funny... for me anyway. I've been sick over the stupid story. Really. I could write a book about not being able to write my book.
Anyway, all that fuss lead me to researching Uganda...yeah, Uganda. (Its a long story, which I won't get into).
I kinda got lost in all the research and hours later found a true story about a blind man who learnt to box. Against all odds he's become one of Uganda's biggest heroes. He still lives in the slums with, oh, half the country, and he still has no real means of supporting his family, but the man is happy. Poor. Dirty. Blind. And happy.

Is he worried about the POV for a book?
Is he concerned about inciting incidences and character arcs?
Does he wonder what supporting characters might present or how their story arcs intertwine?

I'm guessing no.
I'm also guess that the other millions poor, slum dwelling souls have never thought of these concerns either. It's because of my affluence that I get to have these concerns. Here I am in my nice first world country where my children are fed, housed and schooled and I am making myself sick over writing a book.

It's not that writing a book is unimportant, but I kind of lost perspective there for a moment.
It took a poor blind boxer from Uganda to remind me of this simple truth:
It's not all about the book.

What about you? Have you ever found that it was not about the book?
(Oh, and a.. um... friend... wants to know, how do you get out of a writing funk?)

35 comments:

  1. You're right - it isn't all about the book. I've recently been relearning that - right now for me it's about getting through a tight financial time and grieving for my father. That doesn't mean I'm stopping with the book - no - I'd like to, I'd like to go to bed with someone else's good read but I'm not going to. I'm going to keep on keeping on and I'm going to BRING that other stuff to the book. Like offerings, I'm going to remember that I can imagine the stresses and pulls and heart-stuff of others because voila! here it is. So, you can tell your friend from me that you get out of writing slumps by writing. Put away the crap thoughts, call up your crit partners and any buds you have and tell them you need some sugar - right now! (sugar being love ya know) and then sit down and write through the pain and the distraction. I know you (I mean your friend) can do this. tonnes of love to you, dear person.

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  2. Love this post Tabitha.
    Afluenza. So much of it around us ... so good to be reminded.
    Thank you

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  3. Really loved this Tabitha, I think writing a poetry book is somewhat different from writing novels as I seem to write about life's expereieneces.
    Hope all is well.
    Yvonne.

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  4. LOL. Tell your friend that I said s/he should just keep writing even if it's rubbish until something real happens with it. Cos it will. When it wants to :) You'll probably have to throw everything out, but it won't matter in the end. You might as well be writing SOMEthing as nothing, right?

    Awesome post, as always!

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  5. Loved this. It isn't always about the book but as writers, we have this joy of taking those stories as you just did and bringing them out:)

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  6. Something like that always puts it into perspective. I step away from writing when I'm in a funk and read or watch tv until I'm inspired. Sometimes we just need a break!

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  7. God teaches me this over and over when I get all caught up in the publication race. I'm reminded I have children. I'm reminded I have other passions. I'm reminded my empathy exists for far more reasons than just to write alone.
    ~ Wendy

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  8. Great post, and a good reminder to get our priorities straight. And to get out of a writing funk, I write...just not on the the project I'm working on.

    Lovely to meet you via A-Z!

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  9. Thank you, once again and always, Tabitha, for putting things into perspective.

    My advice for Your Friend: read, read, read and read. Reading is my tried and tested, clinically proven cure to writer's block. Go back to the simple, sweet days when you would pick up a book and be so engrossed in it that you physically could not put it down until you'd finished it. That kind of reading always puts me in the mood to write. :)

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  10. Your observance as to how the world truly relates always gives me pause, beautifully done. As to writing funk... I'll get back to you.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  11. Thank you. Yes, perspective is key.

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  12. Oh yes. Someone will get sick or I'll hear about someone struggling and I realize how easy I have it. I'm thankful for that and try not to feel guilty, but I hope I use my blessings to bless others.

    btw, I saw your comment on another blog and just wanted to let you know that I think your posts touch many people, from the abused to other writers. If you need more time to write, shut down the blog, but I hope you never shut it down just because you think it's not important to someone. It is. ;-)

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  13. Oh Tabitha. His life is there to remind us that it's not what we have, it's who we are as human beings, that will make us happy.

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  14. Tab, first of all, from you comment on my blog, you are hereby adopted!! I'm not kidding!!!
    Second, this is the wisest thing I've read in a long time. We make ourselves nuts over our writing and it's not all of life. Must remember that.
    Karen

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  15. The problem for me is its more often not about the book than it is. I end up prioritizing so much other life stuff that I can never seem to get back to the book.

    Sux and yet I also know that all things happen exactly as they are meant to so i just kind of accept that its not happenning & move on.

    Of course I don't have an agent breathing down my neck w/ a deadline either, I'm sure that statement would be revised if that were the case.

    To get out of what I like to call "Writer's Pause" I read. A LOT. But never the genre I'm writing. The difference in tone/rhythm/voice always sparks something fresh and then I write it down immediately. Even if I have to do it with lipstick on a mirror at the bar and take an pic of it with my cell phone to remember...

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  16. um, yeah I should really proofread before hitting post lol

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  17. We do tend to get sidetracked in our obsessions. As for the writing funk, push through it with reading and forced writing. A break isn't a bad thing either.

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  18. Oh my, I grapple with this a lot, especially recently. I get so engrossed with the 'wresting,' trying to revise out the imperfections of my stories--spend literally dozens of waking hours and restless nights being consumed.

    ...then I take a deep breath and remind myself, 'This is just a MADE UP story! If I don't get it right, NO ONE's life will be impacted for the better or worse (maybe mine, a little)--no one will loose their job or their home or their loved one or their life. GET A GRIP!'

    I get a grip and slowly go back to obsessing and wrestling...

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  19. I love this post. We writers seem to be all about the book or whatever else we're writing. Perhaps if you let the book sit awhile and write something else, you'll get out of the funk. I've taken up meditating again just to get away from the book a bit.

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  20. Sometimes our stories become as thick as the air we breathe. They stifle the joy of living, and appreciating life. Thank God for blind man to remind us all that abiding is far more powerful than producing.

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  21. To those of us for whom words and story are the axis upon which everything else turns, it's sometimes hard to keep perspective.

    As for your "friend," you might remind her that she's been here before and her muse has returned every single time. Maybe she needs to get out into the air and take some pictures. :-)

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  22. Ah, so true! It's not all about me or my book.
    such a great reminder on perspective.

    As far as the writing slump...I know, uh, this friend, who kind of has the writing blahs right now too. I am--I mean she--is trying to read a different genre right now to snap her out of her funk.

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  23. I've been where you are many times. Drives me nuts. Some books just pour out. Others, not so much. My current wip has had me pulling my thinning and hair out at times. I have to stop doing that. However, I can see the end of the rough draft coming...tomorrow. Can't wait. Been a long time coming. My advice, just keep working on it. Wish there was a magic pill or saying to get you through. If there is, please share cause I've been doing it the hard way. :)

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  24. Thanks for sharing the story of the boxer. Now I want to research it myself! Placing myself in new surroundings, even just a tea shop I have never visited before, helps me get out of a slump.

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  25. Why do I have to put "write" on a list of things to do!

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  26. Love your blog. It touches me to my core. Thank you for that, Tab. The boxer is what we all strive to be. Happy. Poor, blind, and happy. He reminds me that the world sees things differently than I do. Happiness comes in different forms to different people.

    And about the writing funk? Step away. It nourishes you. :-) (((hugs)))

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  27. Totally agree. I think through research for books, especially where your setting is - you will find alot differences between the developing world and the ourselves. Natural to make comparisons. Good luck with your book!! And writing funk - what's that? Take a break, breather, and hit the writing again. We all need breaks.

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  28. It's hard sometimes. We get lost in ourselves. That's why it's always good to have something in our lives that pulls us out of ourselves and into others' wants and needs. That's the road to finding yourself.

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  29. When the funk gets that bad a break is in order. It doesn't have to be a long break. Remember to be kind to yourself.

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  30. Thank you to everyone who stopped by. I think I have visited all your blogs now :)

    Karen thanks for adopting me :))) I wish it could be official! :))

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  31. Yes I agree. If you are doggedly passionate about what you are writing it will carry you through all the changes in perspective that life throws at us. :O)

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  32. A little perspective goes a long way. And the way I get out of writing funks is to write something new and take a step away from the stuff that is putting me in a funk.

    Good luck with the blog - I voted for you.

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  33. Wonderful post! You are so right...As much as we all want to get published there is so much more to the world and to our lives than a book. We all have families and friends and lives that we are affecting each day. Sometimes stepping back and appreciating and enjoying those parts of your life is the perfect inspiration for your writing funk. :)

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  34. Tabitha, I love your writing. Period. I would buy a book of your blog posts and photos...

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