Friday, February 22, 2013

Starting Again, Again (Patty Blount)


The premise behind the movie, Groundhog Day, is this: you screw up and get to redo the whole day, over and over again, until it’s right. Think about that for a minute. Screwed up? Jumped to an incorrect conclusion? Said something mean? No problem. You get a mulligan. In fact, you can have a whole lifetime of mulligans, until you get it right.

The X-Files tried it with Mulder trying to foil a bankrobbery until nobody dies. Supernatural also did it with Sam trying to prevent Dean’s death. The key is for each protagonist to figure out what detail, what seemingly tiny thing had to change to end the mulligan loop.

In real life, we may get to live each day only once but yet, some lessons we must learn over and over again.
I’m a person who suffers terribly from self-doubt. I’m horribly sensitive and frequently take criticism to heart. Publishing novels is probably the worst possible career choice for someone like me, but I suppose you might say I still haven’t learned my lesson.

I love writing. Staring at a blank screen or page and watching it fill not merely with words, but with figments of my imagination – people, places, conflicts – it fills me with joy. I never believed I’d be lucky enough to publish one of my stories, to share it with readers who love it as much as I do.

And than I was.

You’d think that after acquiring an agent, signing a contract, and publishing a few books, I’d have confidence leaking from every pore.

But I don’t.

I still doubt myself but the one thing that's changed is I don’t give up the way I used to. That’s why it took me so long to reach this stage in my career. If someone said they hated my words, I tore them up. It took me a long time to stop listening.

That’s my do-over. What’s yours? 

4 comments:

  1. I'm the same way Patty--I think we gravitate to what is intrinsically hard for us because we are trying to grow. We are up for the challenge. I kind of like that about us. We see a speed bump and we don't turn around--we say we're going over. <3 But the other side...oh...the other side...

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  2. As a fellow (dare I say "neurotic"?) author, my do-overs are pretty much like yours. Fortunately, my skin has gotten thicker over the years. Rejections still sting, but I get over them faster.

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  3. I used to be horribly shy. I found that putting the contents of my brain out there in public did wonders for the shyness. I'm not completely cured, but I get better with every book release.

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