Feebledum and Feebledee
my brain it says to me,
“I’ve had no fun these past gone days,
to rant and rant and spree!”
I try not listen too much to brain
’cause I’m in pain, you see;
No cash to pay yon fickle hand
that reaches for its fee.
Learning how to change my thoughts
without the brain’s aware,
makes it a tricky, sticky thing
enlightenment to dare.
‘Believe in truth: you are a god!’
makes conscious brain a-freak!
“Such blasphemy I cannot take!”
is its constant tweet!
If I such power do possess,
new teachings reveal to me,
then how can this god make it work
when self-suff”ring’s all I see?
Here I sit all a-scare
’cause faith’s what makes all right;
but when one’s bills cry “Feed me now!”
my heart beats tight with fright.
Writing may my pleasure be
but tears bills do not get,
faith’s all good and glorious ‘t seems,
yet still no relief, not yet.
Blood and sweat and tears made book
and heart’s still filled with joy;
I wonder tho’ when faith will work
and reveal Universe’s real ploy.
If I am great then believe I must
for love and faith are real;
trust in god and God’s silent trust
in me to finally feel.
We’re great, you know, listen well,
all artists big and small,
if times tough are and seem unfair,
then listen to heart’s squall.
Feebledum and feebledee,
your brain might say to thee;
listen not to dark mumblings there
’cause power lies not in see.
Your power lies down in yon heart,
in trust in your deity;
make no mistake believe in faith (unseen)
and it will set you free!
Muse or God or god or self,
whate’er belief thou declare,
make sure your skill and talent divine
no suffering it ever bare.
by Monique Rockliffe
So, you can tell by this contemplative poem that my days of woe are many!!! Nah, being overly dramatic is all, but, boy, sometimes it’s tough when all I want to do is make a living writing and things seem like they’re just not working out. But, hey, those days come and, thank goodness, they go! Although today I’m in the ‘darkness’ at least it produced an amateurish poem that I hope gives you some hope (and even some amusement) if you’re facing a tough day or situation.
The bottom line is, don’t give up on your dreams or aspirations or goals, especially on the bleakest of days, because that’s when you need to keep your chin up and keep writing, or doing whatever makes your soul sing, with every bit of creative power you have. Whether it’s faith or love or the joy found in nature, a friendship or a pet, grab onto it, hold it close, and just keep going. Everything passes eventually, my friend. And you can always tell me about it if you feel like having a rant, and we can first mope and then get over it together. So drop me a line and share what’s up with you, even if it’s good news. It’ll lift my spirits and give me the encouragement I need to get through one of life’s tougher days.
I’ve just returned from another blissful break in the Drakensberg mountains, Kwa-zulu Natal, South Africa, and the feeling of peace and stillness within gives me the tools and energy to continue with Book 4 without a tired brain and feelings of “I don’t feel like doing this” getting in the way. That’s fatigue talking, and to a writer fatigue – brain, body, and will – is never a good thing. Creativity disappears and the will to go looking for it, or the desire to try to conjure it up from that deep place within, is too much like hard work.
Taking a break, and not feeling guilty about doing so, is as vital to your writing processes and creation abilities than sitting for hours hitting the keys in a frenzy of trance-like passion, finding that wonderful, unexplainable flow that nothing can stop. Just like your body, your brain needs rest and to be surrounded by tranquillity in order to rejuvenate and remain connected to the Source of your creation magic.
After just finishing The Sword Bearer’s Awakening: Book 3 and seeing to the final checks before printing goes ahead has been exhausting, to which I’m sure many of you can attest. Being who I am, I wanted to continue immediately with Book 4 and keep the flow of the story moving rapidly ahead because the final book in the tetralogy, The Sword Bearer’s Ascension, is jam-packed with action and great emotion and culminates years (in the writer’s life and that of her characters’) of awesome adventure across time and space, thrills, tears (again, the writer’s and her characters’), loss, love, great joy and great sorrow, and I didn’t want to have a break because I was absolutely convinced that if I stopped then I’d lose touch with the story and my characters.
But I was wrong.
We packed up – my laptop was my top priority, naturally – and when we arrived in this glorious setting I was fully prepared to spend a couple of hours each day writing.
But then a wonderful thing happened: nature took me over and the magic of the place infused me so completely that wonder replaced that constant urgency to get in front of my laptop. Instead, I allowed my surroundings to inspire me, and slowly, after giving in to the calm, I began to see different ways to make the final and most important book even more powerful and moving than the previous three. Instead of only seeing the one linear path I had decided to take, quite a few more options opened up. My mind began to play and enjoy the variations, tossing them about like a juggler would his colourful, hypnotic balls, and slowly I began to see the story and characters from many different angles and viewpoints, adjusting, rearranging, and approaching scenes from a fresher perspective rather than that single, linear train of thought I’d had before the holiday.
It was on the second day, after fighting hard to stay away from the laptop (gotta thank the hubby here for making me go on long walks), that this freshness of thought made me realised how stuck – visually and creatively – I’d truly been. The stunning views, the autumn smells, the birds, monkeys, buck, and even the feral cats wandering around the resort made me understand just how vital it is to find time to move away from my story, to escape the desperate clinginess (is that a word?) of my characters and, in fact, move away from the entire project to enable me see it so much better.
I urge you, dear writer, to find the time to distance yourself from your stories at least once a month and escape from your writing environment and from your current story, and fly away on the wings of nature, of tranquillity, of things that have nothing to do with writing, and once you are there to just breathe deeply, close your eyes, still your mind, and then, when you’ve achieved perfect peace, allow your story and characters to return, but view them, as it were, from afar so that you can be an observer and not a partaker for once, and perhaps genius and true revelation will find you!
I hope I inspired you to take it easy once in a while and not to fear letting go in order to find greater perspective and perhaps the answers to whatever has you stuck. Give your brain a break – it’ll thank you
What experiences have you had regarding this issue? Do you agree that having a break can only do your creative functions some good, or do you have to slog away, fiercely intense and inward-turned, until that first draft is done?
I love hearing your thoughts! Please share them with us.
Yes, that’s what I’ve just accomplished! It’s done! It’s being printed – hard and soft cover – and formatted as an ebook to be released very soon, and I walk around, whether at home or at work, in a kinda daze ’cause writing my third epic fantasy novel – all three around 700 pages long! – is like conquering Everest…thrice!!!
Whew! *wipes brow*
What a journey of sheer ecstasy, mingled with the usual blood, sweat, and tears, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything. These characters, this exciting, thrilling world is so part of me now I can’t even imagine parting with them. The fourth book, The Sword Bearer’s Ascension, is the last in the tetralogy, and I’ve already started it. I know how it ends, and every time I think about it I can cry. Those tears are for the moment I edit the last word and then, with the touch of a key, send it off to be published. On that day there will be many tears and perhaps a lot of drinking (I don’t drink, by the way, which tells you how bad it’s gonna be!), and my hubby will have to deal with a weeping mess.
I believe my sadness stems from the undeniable fact that my characters are so intrinsically part of me, and saying farewell is like losing part of myself. This story has grown and evolved inside me since I was eight years old, that’s thirty-six years of living with and breathing life into this wonderful tale, bringing life to my characters, and creating a brand new world from scratch; thirty-six years of bringing this story to fruition, to a place where I could finally put it down on paper and realise a lifelong dream of being published and sharing this marvellous story with the entire world!
I know many of you reading this know exactly what I’m talking about. I understand what Hemingway said about ‘bleeding’ onto the page. It’s the same as a dancer losing herself in the choreography, and a musician losing himself in his creation. It is in those moments that the observer/listener sees the magic, the glory, the power, and joins with the artist in a journey that takes them far away from boring reality.
When I get comments from reviewers saying they are moved to tears when they read my book, I know I’ve bled enough. Then I know I held nothing back, and that I have accomplished what every artist seeks to accomplish: making a ‘normal’ feel, imagine, live, experience, become so utterly absorbed that they temporarily forget where they are.
The Sword Bearer’s Awakening: Book 3 is the powerful, emotional, thrilling continuation of what transpires in Books 1 and 2. Out of the four books I wrote this one first because it is the very heart of the story; it is where the adventure began for me; it is the birth of all the characters and of this unique universe.
I will keep you up to date as the release date nears, and as soon as I have a copy of the cover you’ll see it right here – and all over Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, ect.
I want to take this moment to thank everyone who has supported me during this great adventure, from reviewers to readers to friends and family. All of you make this magical dream possible.
Writing Book 4 is going to be an amazing, emotional experience for me, and even though it will be one of the saddest days of my life when I complete it, I will be celebrating a near lifetime of glorious creation. I will write many, many more stories for I have a boundless imagination that contains an endless supply of fantastic tales (one is almost finished actually, thanks to NaNoWriMo 2012), and I just might continue with The Sword Bearers into the next generation…?
I love hearing your thoughts, so put them down right here. Tell me about your personal journey, and how it makes you feel when you end a project you’ve become so emotionally attached to.
- The Bitter-Sweet Process of Editing – the Path to Becoming a Genius! (moniquerockliffe.wordpress.com)
This week, we've talked a lot about some fundamental errors that can weaken the writing. Most all of us make one or more of these errors, especially when we're new. Hey, that's called "being NEW." No one is born with the natural ability to write brilliant, perfect novels coded into their DNA. It takes time and practice, so give yourself permission to make mistakes...then learn, suck it up and back to work.
I came from a broken family who only knew broken ways. I felt adrift and couldn't seem to find direction. Everything I did was always to please others, yet it left me empty and even more lost. I saw others being happy, successful, but every day felt like just more pain. I was terrified of making mistakes, paralyzed by the thought I might "fail" or be a "failure." That's one of the reasons I blog so much on changing our relationship with failure.
I'm not just focusing on my creative writing these days. As I'm beginning to do some editing and translation freelance work, I realize how much I love working with fiction, whether it's mine or someone else's. And I'm reminded of the mistakes I would make as a newbie writer--and still do from time to time, much more often than I'd like to admit, if I'm honest with myself.