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, 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group - December

I'm feeling more insecure than I have in a long time. I've written for more than 30 years, but I've never put together an anthology before. Never had to decide what goes in, what doesn't. Never had to tell someone their writing needs work.

I made all these decisions, then sent the chosen pieces to the editor I've worked with for years. I respect his opinions and advice and suggestions. He sent me his notes and I missed the part that said they were for my eyes only and proceeded to send the notes to the authors. Bad bad bad on my part. I'm pretty sure I told the authors I would be hiring an editor, so I thought they'd be prepared for critiques after I told them their piece was accepted. I wasn't prepared for the editor's response to some of them and I totally mishandled how to maneuver through this part of the process.

Lessons Learned:
1. Never try to do work like this when you are in pain - I threw my back out last week and can hardly move, so I don't think I'm thinking too clearly. Because clearly, if I was, I would not have made such a stupid mistake.
2. Before doing anything, pause. Take a breath. Make sure what you're about to do is for the highest good of all concerned. Then find loving, gentle ways of expressing what you need to express.
3. Understand that when you tackle a project that you've never done before, there is a learning curve and you need to be gentle with yourself.
4. Trust that everything happens for a reason. As hard as things have been in my life, I've always come through and learned something important.




Nicola said...

I think being kind to oneself is so important and yet we do often forget. Thank you for sharing, Karen. Have a lovely December.

Nick Wilford said...

I'm sure the authors will be understanding enough to overlook it, especially if they know what you're going through. Don't be too hard on yourself, and just see this as part of the learning process.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Maybe you weren't supposed to send those notes, but any writer knows there will be revisions and should expect an editor's critique and suggestions.

I hope your back heals soon.

Pat Garcia said...

Karen, someone told me to be a gentle friend to myself, two years ago. It turned on a light and I made an abrupt change on how I treated me. Also, I'd had the privilege (and I do mean privilege) of being critique by some of the most difficult people I know and each time I have come out of the experience, richer and better.

You are in a stretching process and stretching is never beautiful. It is not one of those feel good things when you stretch. However, after it is over, you will feel great. The only way to do something new is to be willing to stretch and learn.

All the best.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G

Karen Walker said...

Nicola, in the 12-step programs, one of the slogans is "Put Down the Whips." Yes, being kind to ourselves and each other is probably one of the most important things we can do. Thanks for visiting.
Nick, thanks, that's exactly what I'm trying to do.
Diane, that's what I'm hoping - and my back is healing, slowly but surely. Can't dance, but I can at least get up and down from the chair and roll over in bed with no pain.
Pat, how lovely - thank you so so much.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry about your back.
With all things, I pause first. Keeps me from doing too many stupid things. I'm sure sending those notes wasn't really a bad thing though.

Jennifer Hawes said...

Yes, take that breath and pause. I remember when I was a teacher I tried to use the sandwich principle. Good thing, bad thing, good thing. :)

Julie Flanders said...

I'm sorry your back is bothering you in addition to the stress of the anthology. I agree with others about being kind to yourself. I know it is easier said than done! But I have no doubt that once this anthology is completed it will be worth all of the work you have put into it. Take care!

Karen Walker said...

Alex, at least in one case, it was a very good thing, turns out. Phew! Thanks,
Jennifer, oh, that's a good one.
Julie, God willing...thanks

Chemist Ken said...

We've all had those whoops moments, and I'm sure we'll have many more. I hope those writers appreciate all the work you put into the anthology. Kudos to you for going out and trying something new, even if it did include some risk.

Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor said...

I can't tell you how many of those kind of "oops" moments I've had over the years. It happens to everyone. I think it's great that you took on the project in the first place. Hope you're feeling better soon. Cheers - Ellen

cleemckenzie said...

Your experience shows, Karen. You've give us some of the very best advice possible. I hope you can put that anthology together the way it works best for you and the readers. I love good anthologies. Please come back to say again at The Write Game. Love to see you there.

Jemi Fraser said...

Things like that happen a lot, Karen - don't be too hard on yourself. As writers, we've got to learn to hear the truth from editors!
Wish I'd been able to get something together for you - but life has been so far beyond chaotic, I'm not ever sure how to describe it any more!

Gerardine Baugh said...

Hi, Karen- Your #3 is a hard one for me. I tend to try and jump over that learning curve and start shaking out the cobwebs wondering why all the information won't take hold.
I hope you back pain has waned. I was hurt in an accident years ago, I found that pain has a way of sticking around and making fun of my plans.
Wishing you well,

Elizabeth Alsobrooks said...

Oh, great big hugs, Karen! I had no idea you were in pain or that you were struggling so much with this. I hope I didn't do anything to add to your distress. I certainly had no problem with making revisions to make it right and better, which is what revision is all about and why it requires a dash of magic!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen - backs need care ... so take care of yours and I do hope it heals. Yes when we're in pain or anxious things can slip us by ... I hope things sort themselves out - I'm sure they will. All the best -cheers Hilary

Karen Walker said...

Chemist Ken, thanks for the support - I appreciate it.
Ellen, the project is so important to me - I think that's why I'm taking it so much to heart
CL, thanks, will do.
Jemi, so sorry things are so chaotic. Hope they calm down soon.
Geraldine, pain alters everything. Thankfully, mine is almost gone now
Elizabeth, no you didn't add to the distress. What happened with your revision proved to me that my instincts are good - your re-write is perfect!!
Hilary, thanks - I intend to take much better care of my back. Cheers to you too.

J Q Rose said...

Karen, glad to read in this last comment your pain is better. When your back hurts, your whole body is a mess. And should I add your brain is included in that too? LOL..I'm sure you sent the editor's notes to the writers for their opportunity to improve their work or at least consider changes may be necessary. That's standard operating procedure in this business. You are taking on a mighty task with putting together an anthology. I put together writing tips from 15 authors in an e-book and I thought that was a monumental task. Never working with that many people again! But it was fun to get to know them better. Best wishes on this ambitious project!

Karen Walker said...

JQ, it's so nice when others understand exactly how you're feeling. Thanks.

Diane Burton said...

Ouch! Lesson learned, time to move on. Oh so hard that lesson must have been. I've thought of lessons I learned from years afterwards. Just think a new year is coming, time to start over.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family.

Loni Townsend said...

I hope your back is doing better. I've been at the point where I wince and cringe and wished I could hit the undo button on life. So know, you're not alone. :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Karen,

SOO sorry to hear about your back.. Yes, pain can be very stressful and bog one's mind. I'm sure the authors understood where it was coming from after a while. What you are doing is very important and it needs to be right for you and for your readers.

This anthology can help SO MANY people cope with their insecurities with aging. It is not an easy thing to cope with for many. You should be very proud of what you're doing and be GENTLE with yourself. We all make mistakes and as long as we learn from them that is the important thing.

Take care of yourself!!!! Relax, take a warm bath, have a nice steeping cup of tea, and curl up with a good book....

Karen Walker said...

Diane, yes, new year, new beginnings. Must remember..
Lori, it's doing better each day - thanks so much for your kind words
Michael, thanks so much for this good advice. I'm going to tell you you should do the same!!!

Murees Dupé said...

Oh no! I hope your back is better. Mistakes happen and there is always a lot of learning to be done whenever attempting something for the first time. So, don't feel bad about that. You are doing everything to the best of your ability. So, definitely take good care of yourself first. Hoping you're feeling better. Good-luck with the anthology.

Unknown said...

I am definitely learning that the learning curve has to be considered, and I am so glad you included this in your list. I too often forget that I want to honor my learning as much as the final output or "product" after the learning experience. :-)

Ditto to what others have said here - I hope your back is on the mend... and your keyboard too!