I've been quiet in the blogging world lately. I confess I stopped doing my Artists' Way group about a week into it, and the blogging momentum I created by doing morning pages died pretty fast. I got sick, and then my husband crashed our car. Brazil being Brazil, any minor fix to the car takes the whole day (like things that would take 15 minutes in the US), and major ones take from a week to over a month. So we've been without a car for five weeks now, and I've been even more isolated than I was before, which I wouldn't have believed possible.
I feel a little bit bad that I quit my group, but then again, I think that what I need isn't more creativity, but more stillness.
I feel that life here is one long lesson on patience. I'm used to immediate gratification and the ability to drastically change my life at a moment's notice. Here, no matter what I do, things outside of me change...at...a...snail's...pace...and...sometimes...not...at...all. And so I've been forced to go inside, and calm myself, and make it okay being where I am, unmoving. And then in that space I actually do notice that some things are changing...
I have a new critique partner for my novel, A Tale of a Schizophrenic Kingdom. Like many beginning writers, I made the mistake of sending out some queries too early during the summer, when it was very far from being ready. I was impatient, sometimes even desperate, caught up in a blogosphere of writers in their varying stages of publication or aspirations to do so. I wanted validation, to have that dream realized right now.
Anyway, I've slowed down. My critique partner has helped immeasurably, even though she doesn't even know it.
First of all, there is such value in reading the work of a good writer whose product is unfinished. It trains the mind-muscles not only to look for what works, which happens when we read good books, but more importantly--how to fix something that doesn't work. The mind is so amazing in the ways it organizes information and ties things together, makes a coherent cosmology out of something that one thought was a set of random and discrete ideas.
But what helps with the patience aspect, bringing me into present time and out of the future, is that my critique partner, because she's working on her own manuscript, has read my work not as a finished product, but as a work in progress. I've noticed that beta readers, or at least mine, did the former. Even when they offered suggestions the feel of it was that one more quick revision would be enough to finish the thing. With my critique partner, there is no such assumption, and I feel that my goals with regard to this manuscript have shifted more toward having a creative process rather than finishing a creation. Focusing on the means and not the end makes the whole thing much more enjoyable and less potentially invalidating.