Friday, 29 May 2009

Striking a balance

First the bad news - I got my first rejection for FOUR LEFT FEET. It was from an agent who had emailed and asked to see anything new I had, and was very fulsome in her praise (lovely word, fulsome). So I had high hopes. Silly me. Having exchanged various emails, the rejection, when it came, was a standard rejection letter, signed by a secretary. I think you can all guess how I felt. Pah! To put it mildly. But onwards and upwards and all that, so I will send it out again ASAP.

Enough of that. I wanted to talk about striking a balance today. We all have things in our lives that cause friction and interfere with our work. Family, friends, money problems, ill health, falling in love, breakdown of a relationship, schooling troubles – the list goes on and on.

In my case, my problem comes from the two arms of my writing. On one hand (the paying hand) I am a freelance journalist, and on the other I am an unpublished novelist. (But So Nearly There, according to agents!)

I feel like these two aspects of my writing life are like two children. The journalism daughter is called Chrissie. She is extrovert, confident, cheerful and punctual. She will take on anything, loves meeting people, and is very good at meeting deadlines with efficiency and tact. She wears jeans and sporty tops, or smart suits. She goes hiking and walks miles with her bouncy dog. She shops efficiently for food and never runs out of anything. She is, if you like, the conscious side of my brain.

My other daughter, the fiction one, is Felicity. She hides behind me when we meet people, and is always off day dreaming. She lives in awe of her older sister, the confident Chrissie. But she can weave stories with her words, and draw the most stunning pictures that spring into life, making other people wonder at her great talent. She needs to be left alone. She can be temperamental and grouchy, has no idea of time. She will emerge from writing, ravenous, devour food and leave trails of destruction. She runs out of food and has to eat cornflakes. She has low blood sugar levels from her mood swings. She likes sloppy clothes, floaty dresses and long skirts. She walks her dogs for miles over fields and paths, sits enraptured by the side of the sea, drinking it all in. She is the subconscious side.

And me? I'm the mum in the middle, with these two girls pulling me in ever opposing directions. Sometimes Chrissie takes us off in one direction, and we have an action filled day and return full of life and zing. At other times Felicity takes us and we have a day in the country, picnicking and enjoying the quieter, purer things of nature – with the odd extraordinary adventure thrown in.

Life goes well as long as there is a balance between these two. If there is not, that's when the trouble starts. One starts shouting, the other cries and life is discordant, my sleep is troubled, and I feel pulled in too many directions, don't know what to do or which way to go.

These are my two children whom I love dearly, but I've learnt the hard way that it's so important to keep a balance between the two of them.

What are your conflicts?


Elaine Denning said...

What would happen if Felicity had to write about Chrissie...or Chrissie had to write about Felicity? The two would surely have to come together and spend the day/a week/a month/a year together.

Keep at it, FP. You're amazingly talented. x

Chris Stovell said...

So sorry to hear about the rejection (we WILL get there). Interesting to read about the different sides of you (those Chrissies - really!)

Flowerpot said...

Elaine - I don't think one would understand anything about the other! But it's an interesting idea - thanks for that!

ADDY said...

Loved the idea that you name your two arms of journalism and create characters out of them!

Flowerpot said...

Chris - you're too right we'll get there!

Rosiero - well they sort of created their own characters!

Akelamalu said...

Sorry to hear about the rejection but never give up, your time will come. x

MarmiteToasty said...

Rejection is always hard to deal with no matter what part of ones life that rejection comes from....

Keep plugging it flowerpot, you are an amazing writter.... one day the puzzle pieces will all fit..... then were in for it cos you will bugger off and live in a castle and write to the masses lol


Flowerpot said...

Ak - thanks that's very encouraging!

Pat Posner said...

Hugs on the rejection, Flowerpot. It is only one opinion, though. Someone, somewhere, will be waiting for FLF!
Had (an agent subbed) one myself, this week. But onwards and upwards for every writer 'cos passes are all part of our life *sigh*

I love Chrissie and Felicity - that itself is a story in the making.

My writing conflicts: I write 'gentler' type children's stories and although I hopefully 'make 'em laugh and make 'em cry, I don't do edgy.
Edgier books seem to be in right now... But, no, I don't/can't do edgy.

Anonymous said...

What a bummer. I have to admit I'm not looking forward to the rejections myself. After all the hard work it doesn't half make you feel "was it all worth it?" but of course it is. You have a great attitude!

CJ xx

Julia Phillips Smith said...

You're submitting, so that's one giant hurdle crossed. I'm still in the finish-up-the-darn-thing stage.

I love your version of your two writing selves. My blogger side is like your Chrissie, and my novelist side is a total Felicity. And then there's my day job me. That 'me' gets tired and needs more rest than blogger me will allow. And novelist me gets lost in her daydreaming.

Flowerpot said...

Pat - thanks so much for such encouragement. Edgy is a difficult thing to do, I agree. But publishers of adult books tend to want more and more of it. Oh for a quiet life!!!

Flowerpot said...

Marmie - thanks so much for that. You've made me laugh too! Hope yhou're enjoying the sunshine....

Crystal - thanks. And keep persevering, yourself!

Julia - good to hear from you. Having a day job is the biggest deterrent to fiction I think!