Thursday, September 9, 2010

Confidence Breakdown==Repaired By Good Friend


Hello, and welcome to Tabby’s Nocturnal Nights. My name is Brenda. Today I’m going to talk about an incident that happened to me this past week. And I would like to dedicated this post to a dear friend of mine.

            I’m a fairly confident person. In fact, I don’t like doing anything half-assed. And I really hate not doing something well, or with confidence. Nothing bugs the Be-Jesus out of me more than lack of self esteem.

            Just to show you how confident I can be, ask me to draw you a picture of a horse.

No problem I’ll say. Not only will I draw you a picture of the best damn horse you’ve ever seen, but I’ll paint it too. It will look so damn real you’ll think it’s a live horse on a canvas. Ask me to draw you a picture of a video game character, or a cartoon character and my answer will be the same. Sure, no problem.

Did you hear the confidence? LOL, okay, I’m really not an ego maniac, but when it comes to drawing and painting, I know what I’m doing. I have no doubt in my ability.

Same goes for singing. When I’m alone I’m the best damn singer going, lol. Okay, that was just a joke.

But . . . when it comes to writing, my confidence wanes sometimes. LOL, yep, you guessed it, it drives me nuts.

When I started writing I started from scratch—just a story idea and a few ideas of whom my characters would be. Since I hate not knowing what I’m doing, I took a long writing course that covered tons—from plotting to the finished product. I still take courses.

I’m not saying I know everything—far from it--but I have also been in this writing gig for awhile now. I’ve been at the bottom of the barrel. I’ve scrapped and clawed, learned, tore apart my MS, rewrote over and over until I thought I had it where I wanted it minus a few tweaks here and there. I’m certainly no pro, but I’m certainly no newb either.

My skin has been burnt, ripped, sliced, and skinned off over the years I’ve been on this writing journey. It has peeled and then healed with scars to prove I’ve earned the right to have a “little” confidence in my writing ability. I now proudly sport what I call troll armor.

This past week my confidence took a major hit, like a baseball ball being wacked out of the park. I stumbled backwards and fell down that long, dank tunnel of despair until I hit the bottom. I looked around and cried, whispering, “Not this place again. I thought I’d seen the last of it.” Obviously not. I sat down in the corner, wrapped my arms around my knees and went over and over what had brought on this latest breakdown.

I’m not going to go into details about the incident that brought this latest trip to the well of hopelessness, but suffice it to say, my troll armor had disappeared.

That day I walked around the house like a robot, thinking and analyzing. When my husband talked to me I replied with one word answers. Finally, he gave up trying to figure out what was wrong. I didn’t bother telling him. He’s not a writer; he wouldn’t understand.

The next day, my Troll friend emailed me. She had no clue about my vacation back to hell, and at first I was going to keep it to myself because I should be able to handle this. In reality, I should NOT be allowing this to affect me so much. But doubt was back with a vengeance and I snapped.

I emailed her—just a brief message, but she knew right away something was wrong. She messaged back and asked me what was up. That was all it took. I replied back. LOL, my fingers flew over the keys, swear words everywhere: F-in this, F-in that. At one point I hit the Caps lock key, because I was yelling. Not at her, but about what happened and my recent trip down Doubt Lane.

Through my ramblings, swears and shouts she figured out what had happened. So this dear troll friend, with a heart of gold, did the most amazing thing—really, about the only thing that would have worked to pull me up out of the pit. She took a look at what had me all kafuffled and she proceeded to analyze it. She sent me back her findings and her thoughts.

She basically told me what I already knew, but I just needed to hear it from another writer—one that I trust and respect immensely. One who knows my story, my characters, and my voice inside and out. Single handedly, she reached down that long shaft, grasped my hand, and hauled me back into the sun.

Once I was back in the land of the living, she sent me another massage, telling me to put back on my troll armor, pull up my big girl panties, and trust in myself and my abilities—trust in my story.

This may sound melodramatic, but she saved my life that day—my sanity—and I can never thank her enough. I would like her to know how much her help, her confidence in me and my writing abilities helped me not only that day, but every day. And I hope she knows if ever the favor needs to be returned, I will be the first one by her side.

Thanks again, Troll.


Penelope said...

It's been a tough year for me. Not in writing so much as things that kept me from it. Every hit I took, you took with me. Sometimes, you got mad, sad, worried, upset, or indignant for me when I didn't have the energy left to do it myself. When I said I wanted to write shorts, you said write a novel. When I wrote sloppy, you said write better. When I couldn't find the mojo to write, you said write anyway. When I only wrote 500 words, you said it was 500 more than I had yesterday. What the hell else would I do when you fell in a pit? Yank you out by your hair, shake some sense into you, and bulldoze the pit shut. You deserve no less.

brenda said...

Hey, C. Thanks for the reply. Yep, I know you know what I was going through.
Out of all the questioned raised in my mind over this incident, there is only one aspect that I may consider--the rest simply doesn't work for my story and certain questions asked are answered as the story progresses. As my trolly friend said, if I added everything suggested in chapter 1 then the story would be done, finished, no reason to continue. Chapter 1 is not the place for a ton of backstory, etc, etc. But if anything, this incident made me stop and analyze my story and when done, I still liked what I saw.
Penny, what can I say. You are truely a troll among trolls. I look back on the day you messaged me and told me you received a troll in your box, and I thank the Lord everyday for sending you my way!!! Thanks for everything.

Charli Mac said...

My old opening was a lovescene flashaback. Chapter 1 was a harsh hubby leaving his wife and and going to think about the girl from the prologue, the girl that got away. I gave everythiing away in my first three chaps.

I loved those chaps, I really did. But I woke up and saw mu MS in a different light. I love my new opening and look forward to slowly unravelling this love story.

Good luck Brenda, keep at it and you'll get it.

brenda said...

Exactly, C. A prologue and chapter 1is only suppose to touch on things, introduce the main conflict, introduce main characters, set questions that need to be answered in the reader's mind, not give the whole story away. If we do that, then we may as well just call the rest done, lol.
Hey, by the way. I read your knew chap 1--didn't do a crit or leave a comment though--but I have one word for you---BEAUTIFUL.
Your Characters came shining through. The emotion hit me. And the ending shocked me. I so didn't see that coming. Fantastic job, C.
LOL, yep, I'd call 'er done! I would definitely read on.

Charli Mac said...

Awww..... *CHARLI BEAMS* I am so happy you liked it! Woot woot! Thanks Brenda. It's been gut wrenching but worth it.

brenda said...

Aww C, believe me, I felt your pain. But know this, out of the crap came your new opening, which like I said is brilliant, so I guess in that aspect, the shitstorm was worth it. Yikes, did I just say a shitstorm was woth it? LOL, yup, I did.