Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Insecure Writers' Support Group - December

My insecurity has reached new heights. I posted on Friday about feeling all dried up. Nothing. Nada. Sometimes I tell myself I'm mulching. That makes me feel better for a few minutes. Then those voices, you know the ones I mean, start shouting, we told you so. You're no writer. Who did you think you were anyway. So you wrote and published one book. Ha. Means nothing. Bet you can't do another. You're too old to be doing this anyway. Doesn't matter that Whistler's mother painted at 90. Stop kidding yourself.

Then I get quiet and ask myself, who would I be if I don't write anymore. I could simply say I'm retired. It's legitimate. I'm going to be 63 in April. But am I done? Don't I have more to say? More to learn? More to figure out? More to communicate? I thought so. So why isn't it flowing? All I know is that I have to trust this process and hope that this dry place is temporary. And tell those nasty voices to go away. And perhaps quit trying to pin labels on me that make me crazy - if I'm a wife than I have to do "wifely" chores. If I'm a writer, I "have to" write. If I'm a mother, I have to "mother." Why can't I just be.....me?



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Just be you! Wow, that is really great advice. Hope everyone stops by your site today to receive this boost.
You are Karen, woman extraordinaire!

Heather M. Gardner said...

My fingers are crossed for all of us who find ourselves 'Writers Without Words'. We have been here before and we will be here again but in between we are awesome.
Labels are for folders.

Tonja said...

Sometimes labels help me - like I have to convince myself I get the label of writer. But if it hurts you, tell your voice to shut up and just write because you love it.

Suze said...

When a bulb is in the ground, it needs time to sprout. What looks like inactivity can actually be something quite different. Seasons of rest are vital and sometimes pushing too hard shortchanges the process.

Just some thoughts from experience.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Most days I feel like I have to force the words out. It's so, so rare that they just flow. I edit them later so that they seem to flow. :) You're definitely a writer...you were a writer even before you wrote a book.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Yes, you're a writer, but stop putting so much pressure on yourself. If new words ... and a new book ... want to spring forth, they'll come to you in due time.

Karen Walker said...

Alex, you rock!
Heather, mine, too
Tonya, now why didn't I think of that?
Suze, wise words, indeed. Thank you.
Elizabeth, thank you!
Susan, if I knew how to stop putting pressure on myself I'd do it. Haven't figured that out yet.

Jessica Bell said...

I'm in a dry spot too. I keep telling myself it's because I'm too busy. But it's no excuse! We can weep together :(

Arlee Bird said...

You're asking a lot of questions and that's a good thing. When you stop looking for answers or don't ask anymore questions then you should start seriously worrying. Just keep being who you are and don't forget that you play many roles.

Tossing It Out

L.G.Smith said...

Maybe you need to take the Jack London approach and go after your inspiration with a club. Beat it over the head and drag it home. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do to be a writer sometimes. :P

Annalisa Crawford said...

You've got me thinking... I am writing. I don't think I can be anything else. The times I can't write are the times when I feel at my bleakest. That's probably not healthy, is it?

DL Hammons said...

You need to keep that sense of momentum, especially when age starts to catch up with us, because idle hands breed complacency and that leads to stagnation. None of which are good! :)

cleemckenzie said...

Hi and very glad to meet you here on this Insecure Writers hop.

I think from your post you are just who you want to be:a writer, a mom, a wife, a person who is on her own path.

Congratulations and 63 is far from old!

Anonymous said...

Alex summed it up best: Just be you. Wow, really enjoyed your post, Karen. As for age, I'm still trying to convince my dad to write his memoirs of the residential school days, and he's 70. It's never too late.

Rosanna C. Rogacion said...

We all reach the point of feeling "dried up" every now and then. Good thing is, we always bounce back...after sometime. Hope the voices will quiet down soon. They will...

farawayeyes said...

Hi Karen,nice to meet you. Thanks for the advice.Having trouble with the words myself. Maybe it's sun spots. Maybe I just need to be me for awhile too. I'll try it.

Nancy said...

It sounds like just being you is being a writer and so many other roles. Nice to meet you.

Brianna said...

Why is it so hard for us to be happy with who we are at the moment? It's a struggle for me too and I don't have the answer. I can tell you that although it sounds cliche - I do believe it - You are never too old!

Here's to hoping Santa brings you a renewed spring of inspiration for the new year!

Jasmine Walt said...

I think it is human nature for us to strive to be better than we already are-- the instinct of survival, which makes evolution possible. If we don't evolve, then we'll fall behind the rest of the world.

I wish you the best of luck with your writing, and don't stop! Take breaks, for sure, but never give up. :D

Jen Chandler said...

The dry spell WILL go away, though when we're going through them it seems a forever trudge through desert with no shoes.

I agree with Alex. Just be you, no matter who you are at THIS time in your life, in your day, in this breath. The best advice, always: just be YOU.


PS: I really love the mental image of "mulching". My soul mulches often. Now I have a word to describe what it's doing. Thank you. :)

April Plummer said...

I think we all go through this, from time to time. I know I have. I've gone through months at a time where even my desire to write wasn't there. But it always comes back. And when it does, watch out world!!! :) Hang in there. You'll push through.

Christine Rains said...

Great post! And the dry place will be temporary. We all have them.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I'm older than you Karen and I think as long as I can write a poem or two, travel a little and be hopeful and happy what is age? just a couple of figures.

enjoyed your read.


Karen Walker said...

Goodness gracious, I left for a few hours and came back to so many lovely comments. Thanks you, everyone.
Jess, yes, weeping here.
Lee, unfortunately I can't be anyone but me - I tried - it doesn't work.
L.G. not sure that would work for me, but it's worth a try.
Analissa, when I'm not writing I'm just miserable.
DL, if I could find the momentum, I'd certainly do what I could to keep it going.
farawayeyes, nice to "meet" you, too - good luck

maggieblackbird, I don't think you can convince anyone to write a memoir - it's not for the faint of heart

cleemckenzie, thank you so much for that comment about not being old -
Rosanna, I have hope

Rek said...

You are as old as you think you are...every spell is followed by a bountiful period of word rains...so let the voices scream for now...they will quieten eventually.

Julie said...

Just being you is more than enough, but I know how hard that is to do sometimes! I can sure relate to those nasty voices.

I hope your dry spell will ease soon as I know you still have many more wonderful things to write. Take care!

Patricia Stoltey said...

And if we retired, what would we do with our time? Watch daytime television? Crochet baby afghans? I already tried retirement and got very bored.

I think I'd rather write, even if nothing else ever gets published. I'll bet you would too.

M Pax said...

When I'm at a loss for a new story, I find a piece of art -- usually a painting -- and start writing whatever comes to mind, for at least 20-30 minutes. Eventually, I find something that sticks. Love the "just be me" thing. Bet you have lots more stories to tell.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I agree - who says we have to be a writer?

Pk Hrezo said...

Yeah, you know, Karen... I think cyberspace has an equally evil side to it. We all have this wonderful network and get to share in the successes and support each other thru the tough times, but it also means we're constantly thrown into the rat race of the publishing world. It's okay if we don't write for awhile... or if our stories don't get pubbed, or if our first books aren't selling. This whole writing thing is a long journey and I doubt you only have one book in you. I think as writers we feel things so intensely, and that includes pressure on ourselves. We all need to learn to lighten up and enjoy how far we've come... me included! I mean, you wrote an entire book, Karen! About your life and your survival. That's amazing!! Be proud!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. the one thing you will be able to do in the coming years - many of them I hope - is write .. either picking up a pen, using the dreaded machine, or talking into a tape recorder ... just let go and be.

You'll be writing and a wife and a mother for a good few years yet! Enjoy them .. cheers Hilary