Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Insecure Writers: Shaking Off the Rust

NOTE: It's the first Wednesday of the month, so it's time for The Insecure Writers! For those who don't remember, it's an online group created by Alex J. Cavanaugh for writers. Most of whom are insecure. So, we support each other from the safety and comfort of our desks. 

Hello, everyone! Happy New Year! I'm fresh off of a two-week blogging vacation, as well as a short but amazing trip to Iceland - which is every bit as otherworldly, spectacular, gorgeous, and, at this time of year, dark and cold and wind-driven as you might imagine - and I have to admit that my hands and my brain feel a little bit rusty. I'm back in the saddle today (or, OK, at the computer), but I haven't quite gotten my sea-legs yet. Which you just might - might - be able tell by my ridiculous mixing of metaphors in the previous sentence.

Isn't it funny how extended time off can make you feel like a beginner again?

Or, wait, is that just me?

Anyway, I'm not really a big fan of New Year's resolutions - I'll save you the long, wind-baggerish trip down Curmudgeon Lane and just say they're not my thing - but I do feel like I should mark the new year somehow on this blog.

So...since it's IWSG Wednesday and all...I'll admit that I'm starting the New Year by shaking the rust off of my hands, and I'm doing it with more than a little trepidation. When I took off for Christmas, and then Iceland, I left my new project smack dab in the middle of a looming mountain of research. So imagine my surprise and dismay when I returned from my travels only to find that no one had done any of that research for me while I was gone.

Can you believe it?? It was Christmas - a holiday positively brimming with elves - and I went to Iceland - a country whose people overwhelmingly believe in elves - and not one little elf came by and did any of my research for me! How irritatingly realistic!

Sigh. Lack of elves aside, the real IWSG revelation here is that I'm having a hard time facing down this Research Mountain with a positive attitude. I usually like doing research, and the fact that I'm sort of dreading it right now is worrying me. Did I take on too much? Has my idea moved so far beyond my original concept that I've lost the excitement I once felt about it? Do I need to rethink, and make some semi-drastic changes?

It's possible, too, that this is all just part of the post-vacation, post-holiday blues, and that in a week or two I'll feel very different and realize that I may have been overreacting. I hope this is the case. It's frightening, though, to think about all of the time and energy I've invested in work that I might need to throw away. I know getting rid of stuff is part of writing, but it sure isn't my favorite part.

For now, though, I really don't know. So I'm starting the trek up Research Mountain, anyway, backpack of reference books strapped on tight, and hoping that it's the right path to take. Only time and work will tell...

Wish me luck?

And in the meantime, I'll leave you with a couple of Icelandic visions of beauty:

Þingvellir National Park, where the Icelandic parliament Alþingi was founded in the year 930 AD

 The gorgeous black sand beach of Reynisfjara, with views of the Reynisdrangar basalt pillars 

Swimming in the natural geothermal pools at the Blue Lagoon

The charm and loveliness of Reykjavik

38 comments:

  1. Hi Liz! Oh my, those images are absolutely stunning. I hope you had a great time.

    As for the mountain o' research (curse those elves!), you're doing the best thing you can do---tucking in and starting. That's the hardest part. I just know you'll start loving the research at some point & will get lost in it so that we'll have to come in and drag you out. ;)

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    1. Oh Nicki, thank you so much! It's amazing how helpful a little encouragement can be. I really hope you guys have to drag me out - that actually sounds kind of great ;)

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  2. Oh wow, what gorgeous photos!! And what an adventure you must have had. What a great way to end the year!
    I had to laugh about your research. What's with all the slackers not stepping in to do it for you??? Elves can be so unreliable. :D

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  3. Isn't it odd when we face a task that usually delights us, and we find that the prospect makes us cringe? I suspect the gears will shift and you'll enjoy yourself. I hope so. (Those images are absolutely stunning!)
    ...you know, I think I saw an elf hitchhiking. Maybe he got lost on the way to your pile of research?...
    Diana at About Myself By Myself

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    1. Haha, thanks! Maybe he did... ;) I hope you're right - I could use a gear shift!

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  4. Wow. Gorgeous!

    You missed the elves? That's because they all migrated south for the warm weather. ;) I LOVE research, but I also intersperse it with actual writing to keep the mojo going. I'm with you though. I've got one book coming up that's in a competely new time period, and you'd be floored by how many YEARS of research have gone into the current time period I'm writing. It's intimidating and exciting at the same time to face the task, but we're up to it! Need to borrow my spiked boots? Let's tackle this Everest, eh?

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    1. Oh, like birds? DUH! Silly me ;)

      Thanks so much for the encouragement - I DO want to borrow your spiked boots! It's really nice, actually, to think of hiking up Everest with such good company :) Thanks, Crystal!

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  5. Beautiful photos!
    My latest work required a lot of research, something I'm not used to doing. Just focus on one little aspect and work your way through it.

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  6. I usually like research too and since most of what I do is scientific, my problem is getting sidetracked and going deeper than I actually need. Lovely pictures. Though I hate cold I would love to see Iceland.

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    1. It's well worth seeing! I was totally charmed by the people and the place. I would love to go back - but I'd encourage you to go when it's warmer and lighter!!

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  7. Ooo...Iceland at this time of the year...how fun! Of course, I'd catch my death for lack of proper attire. I just don't have the clothes for it.

    Glad you caught the mixed metaphor...would've hated to point it out. ;)

    I'm facing a mountain myself...of clutter. That's top of my list. Normally, I'm neat and clean, but with all that's gone on over the past couple of years, tidiness seems to have gotten away from me. Gotta get a handle on it before it short-circuits me every time I see it.

    So...one box at a time. For you, one story/article/book, or whatever research material you're using, at a time.

    Good luck! Good to see you back. Missed you.

    M.L. Swift, Writer: The Best is Yet to Come

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    1. Oh man, yes, I was in long underwear, multiple layers, down coats, etc, ALL DAY LONG.

      Yuck to clutter! I always feel like it clutters up my brain, too, but then I'm becoming clinically neat in my 'old' age ') Good luck de-cluttering!

      It's good to see you, too, Mike. I missed you, too!

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  8. Beautiful pictures! I'm shivering just looking at them! I laughed out loud at the fact that (gasp!) no one has done your research for you. Ha! I wish someone would write my novel for me, but I guess it's back to work for us both, huh? I have no doubt that you'll tackle this project and do everything you need to to get it done, and in the end, if you decide to move in another direction concept wise or write something else entirely, you'll make the right decision.

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    1. Thanks so much, Quanie. I really appreciate the heartfelt support - it IS encouraging. Since there are no elves to help you, either, I'll offer the same faith in your abilities. I can't wait to see what we both come up with!

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  9. Gorgeous! I'm very jealous.
    And yes, it's seriously annoying when reality intrudes on our crazy plans for elf labor/enslavement. That happens to me ALL. THE. TIME! So annoying.

    Glad you're back at the desk!

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    1. You, too??? I had no idea it was such a widespread problem! We really need to do something about this 'reality' nonsense, huh?? ;)

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  10. Best of luck with your hike! Hopefully you don't get caught in a swamp of indecision or sidetracked on all the many rabbit trails. Wait. Nix that. Get sidetracked as much as you need. It generates more ideas!

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  11. This is such a great post! I totally feel your pain about the research - it's so much fun in theory, but can be actually daunting when it comes down to it! I wrote a book based on Greek myth this past NaNoWriMo and the research for it was intense. What helped me was watching interesting documentaries on the subjects I wanted to know about. That made research seem a lot more enjoyable! Love those Iceland pictures... how beautiful!

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    1. Thanks, Julie, and thanks for co-hosting this month! The documentaries are a great idea - I keep forgetting about that option :)

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  12. I have to say, I have the soundtrack to the first "Hobbit" movie playing right now, and it fit those Iceland pics perfectly. ^_^

    And I know I need to e-mail you about being critique partners! Been both plotting and trying to further polish my book before anyone else sees it. I'll e-mail soon, I swear. @_@

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    1. I know what you mean. I often listen to Sigur Ros when I'm writing, and when I was in Iceland I suddenly understood why they write the music they do!

      No worries and no rush! I'm not going anywhere. You can email me 6 months from now to CP and that'll be totally OK :)

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  13. Wow, Iceland really is otherworldly. Love the photos! My boyfriend was there a long time ago and still talks about the crazy jacked-up SUVs driving around. I'm sorry the elves didn't visit you. Perhaps you should take it as a sign that you are not as pathetic as you might think. Elves only visit when you are really screwed.

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    1. Thanks!! I didn't see any crazy jacked-up SUVs, but now I kinda wish I had! I DID see a lot of really super-duper all-wheel major-traction big-a$$ cars, though ;) x

      Ahh, THAT'S why the elves didn't come: I'm too sane. Yeah, I'll take that explanation ;)

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  14. Thanks for sharing your pics with us. Iceland is on my bucket list. A Mills professor of mine wrote our textbook while doing paranormal research there and it's always seemed like a parallel universe to me. Good luck on your research! Some elves are just worthless.
    Cheers!

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    1. It IS kind of a parallel universe, and you should totally go! Just go when it's a little warmer, and lighter...

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  15. Elves. You can't trust them, can you?

    Research is such a bear, but it will make your story better. Dig in. You probably are just vacation weary (you need a vacation after your vacation).

    Good luck.
    Leanne ( http://readfaced.wordpress.com/ )

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    1. No, darn those pointy-eared jerks! ;)

      You're probably right - as far as vacations go, it was a bit exhausting. Thanks!

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  16. Awesome pics, glad you had a good time! And I'm sorry to have to clue you in to this, Liz, but the elves stay pretty busy in their tree house making cookies. Just thought you should know. ;)

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    1. Damn, elves are busy, huh? Cookies and toys for Santa and all those fantasy epics, plus Icelandic folk lore... ;)

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  17. I have family in Iceland. I've never visited, though. Definitely have to do that!

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    1. Yes, definitely go! Just go when it's warmer....

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  18. Stunning pictures. I'd interrupt my writing for Iceland.

    I have a project I feel rusty on since I have to keep hitting pause on it to work on something else.

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    1. Yup. I did interrupt, and it was worth it :)

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  19. OK, so I've been enamored with Iceland ever since A) I saw Prometheus B) I downloaded Of Monsters and Men C) I saw Oblivion -- and your photos don't disappoint. Good luck with the research. You can doo eet.

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    1. Haha, thanks... Iceland is worth a little love affair - go if you can!

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