Saturday, February 12, 2011

Perspective



It's how we view things...

A child on a farm sees a plane fly overhead and dreams of a faraway place. A traveler on the plane sees the farmhouse below and dreams of home. ~Robert Brault

The other night I felt low. I was frustrated with my manuscript, my synopsis was birdcage-worthy, and my query needed to be torn apart and rewritten. I felt like I was scaling a colossal, jagged mountain while wearing flip flops.

Then a Facebook friend posted a need for prayer. The problems her family is facing crushed mine to proper size. My writing troubles became pebbles, and all I needed to do was step over them.

Writing and publishing are important to me, and sometimes I allow the obsession to consume me. But life has a way of shifting priorities to their correct place in line. That night I switched from the ME channel to the FRIEND channel. My friend's call for help gave me a much-needed dose of perspective.

My writing issues matter, but they're a far cry from lost jobs, troubled kids, and failing health.

How do you keep your writing journey in perspective? And has this ever happened to you--when BAM, real life smashes your writing mountains down to pebbles? I'd love to hear your story.

39 comments:

  1. oh, nice post. I, too, often become consumed by my writing and the fact that I am still not published yet but compared to other people's real and often life threatenting troubles my obssession is just that. Sometimes it's good to take a step back and look around and be a little bit grateful.

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  2. Oh Julie,
    Most definitley, this has happened to me numerous times, however not with my writing. I don't depend on my writing for my livlihood at this point in my life. So I can take my writing for what it is; a pathway to a different place in time in the future.
    There are many times though I've felt melancholy about a happening and am reminded in a sobering way that there are always others who are im more significant need. It doesn't diminsh my sorrows, but it provides a solace that I'm not alone.
    thanks for a lovely post...

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  3. YES.. all the time... sometimes I'm wallowing away, and then it hits me... this is NOTHING compared to what others suffer through.

    I was complaining about the bitter cold yesterday to my sister as we were walking to the car, and then I remembered how lucky we were. We have a car to walk to, a home to shelter that wind... so many others don't.

    Thank you for reminding me again :)

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  4. you're right - sometimes we get caught up in our own lives. It takes a jolt like that to realize how trivial some of that stuff really is in the great scheme of life.

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  5. I get checked every time I catch myself griping about little things that annoy me. As for writing, I tend to let everything else come first....

    I have a goodie for you on my blog!

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  6. I like Stephen King's advice in On Writing, (paraphrasing here) put your desk in the corner as a reminder that it isn't the centerpiece of your life. It's hard to remember sometimes. Balance is a tricky thing to achieve!

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  7. Great post, Julie. Sometimes I get so caught up with my own problems, with school and writing, that I forget that mine are minuscule in comparison to others'. I try to tell myself to be grateful that I even have the time and opportunity and means to write.

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  8. This post is a good reminder to all of us who get totally immersed in our writing life to keep things in balance.

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  9. Perspective can be so illusive at time. Writing is my joy. I love being lost in the thrill of the creative flow. At the tough moments, when life catches me in its claws, I remember what is waiting for me when I can once again return to my passion.

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  10. I agree with you... not much else can be said.

    awesome post.

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  11. This is a great post. Sometimes I too get very wrapped up in my writing and it seems as though everything revolves around it. Not true. So glad you posted this to give us all a little perspective this weekend. I'm off to play with my kids:)

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  12. There is so much more to life than writing, albeit, it is and will always be in our soul to do so.

    I have put my writing on hold many times with no regrets. It will always be there if/when I'm able to return.

    Good post, Julie.

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  13. Working with kids always helps me keep things in perspective. So many of them have such difficulties, it makes me think.

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  14. It's definitely always a good idea to keep in touch with others and not get so caught up in writing that we neglect important things and people. It sure puts things in perspective when you learn about the problems many people face. Part of my writing is inspirational poetry, which seems to be comforting and uplifting to those going through a hard time.

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  15. Birdcage worthy. LOL That's amusing (well, I'm sure the feeling wasn't, but the words were). :) That's SO important, maintaining our perspective. You're right. We have our writing goals, but we can't let them overwhelm us.

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  16. Hi Julie,

    It happens all the time. I, too, often become consumed by my writing and the fact that I am still not published yet! Yet you're right. We can't let it overwhelm us.

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  17. You are so right. In the grand scheme of things figuring out the perfect query and getting chapter seven to sing are actually incredibly lucky problems to have, aren't they? It doesn't feel that way of course, but it's good to take a step back and remember it.

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  18. I like Carrie's comments, about how some problems are lucky problems. Yes. That's a lovely way to think about the journey and its pitfalls and stumbling blocks.

    from a fellow Crusader...

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  19. This was a timely read. These were words I needed to hear.

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  20. Hi Julie

    I'm not sure my writing mountains have ever been reduced to pebbles, but I can absolutely attest to the power of prayer doing just that to the mountains of life! The number of times I have faced mountains and then one day, I realize they are no longer there, so I look around and all I see are the pebbles!

    I popped in to say hello to and follow a fellow crusader!

    :Dom

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  21. We can say the same for anything we get caught up in but on the other side of it, there will always be someone or something going through something worse than us. I've learned that these past three unemployed years--lol. BUT it doesn't mean what you are going through is any less of a concern for you. It's hard to compare apples to oranges. Just because I don't have cancer today, doesn't mean being worried about losing my home doesn't cause me as much pain for that moment for me. You onow what I mean? Yes, there are days I think my writing stinks and I wonder why on earth am I even going at it? When should I give up? On and on...but we don't and it's okay to be upset.

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  22. Hi, just a quickie to let you know I have a blog award over at mine The enigmatic, masked blogger

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  23. it's so true, Julie. I struggle with this same problem often, and it's always good to be reminded or to remind oneself the importance of balance. Thanks, honey! :o) <3

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  24. Well, obviously my daughters' catastrophic accident stopped my writing for awhile. But then, when time and space permitted, I came back to the keyboard and found that my life's experiences helped me become a better writer because I had something emotionally profound to draw upon. But for me people--friends, family--are more important than anything I might be trying to write.
    Ann Best, Author

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  25. Great post, girlie. It's amazing how dwarfed our problems are when a friend/family member faces something truly devastating. So glad you could be there for your friend.

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  26. had a very similar experience just this week -- soo frustrated with slow progress on my ya wip and then we watched our latest netflix pick -- the butterfly and the diving bell. incredible -- watching that story of a man who suffers a debilitating stroke has a way of putting things into perspective.

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  27. Julie...this has happened to me several times. I feel low because something in my writing process is not working, then I hear about someone's problems and I immediately feel ashamed about my ungratitude.

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  28. I always try and keep it in perspective. But it's often the troubles of real life that I hear about or happen within my family that makes me realize that writing trouble, like you said, are just pebbles!

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  29. Hi,
    Love your post. Perspective is hard for me at times, especially when I'm frustrated with my writing. Anyway, I'm stopping by from the Crusade going on at Rach Writes. It's good to meet another blogosphere friend. My blog is at www.idevourkidbooks.blogspot.com

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  30. This is a very good reminder--we could all use it sometimes, I think. Thank you for this.

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  31. HI, Julie,

    I hopped over from Rach's crusader list. I wanted to say hi and follow.

    You post is very poignant. We all get involved with our writing, but for myself I tree to leave on foot in reality. There are many horrors in people's lives.

    Last week I felt as you do. I read a cry for help on a friend's blob. A friend's child has cancer. Well instead of wallowing in self pity, I prayed for the family all morning. I felt like I did something very worthwhile.

    So you see you're not alone. I happens to all of us. Once you walk away on concentrate on others, your writing will fall into place when you get back to it.

    Life's tough. We need to share the love wherever we can, especially during February.

    Michael

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  32. I'm so sorry your friend is in need but sometimes that's exactly what WE need. Perspective is a great thing when you have it and a terrible thing when you lose it. I haven't lost if for a while because my aunt died in 2008, my grandmother died in 2009, and my uncle died in 2010. Perspective seems to have its talons deeply imbedded in me but that's all right. I enjoy life and my loved ones everyday and I'm grateful for that.

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  33. I love that quote from On Writing. I need to read that again, I don't remember reading that little pearl of wisdom.

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  34. Julie. I saw this post the other day since I'm a subscriber, but did not have an opportunity to send you a note. I don't know if you ever played baseball, but I think you hit a home run with this one. We could remove your name and insert my own. I, too, have felt blue because of where I am in this writing life versus where I might think I should be...and then real important things come up to choke those silly cares away.
    Thanks for the perspective,
    -Jimmy

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  35. Excellent reminder, Julie. Everyone gets a turn with tough things at some point in their life, and it's good to have friends who can lend a hand of support.

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  36. This is so true. Often times I complain that life gets in the way of writing. Sometimes I need to remind myself that writing derives its inspiration from life, so living life should be the foremost priority. Of course the best reminder that life needs to be lived comes in the form of family and friends who ask for attention.

    By the way, maybe you'd be interested in joining my first ever blog contest. I'm giving away some awesome writing tools for creating great characters! Check it out! http://www.thewritingnut.com/contest/characters-count-contest/

    Oh do join! I'd love for one of my fellow bloggers to win the prize!

    warm regards!
    Nutschell

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  37. Julie, for me it seems I get caught up in a lot of things thinking they are mountains and they are really pebbles. I think that's typical behavior for creative people. At least I hope so. Love the quote from Robert Brault.

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  38. Funny that you should mention perspective and friend and facebook in the same breath, because just the other day, a friend was moaning on facebook about how she had a huge pain on her neck (which is a big thing, since she is running the Tokyo marathon on Sunday), and then she saw on Facebook that her friend's mother had passed away very suddenly. The pain in the neck suddenly got reduced to a tiny pebble.
    Great post this.

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