What I Learned from Courtney Cantrell and Becca J. Campbell

Greetings, gentle readers! I hope your Fourth of July was filled with happy traditions that bespoke of our nation’s origins. I myself watched the musical 1776 and ate a sno cone.

You may have heard me talk about the Consortium before. I won’t go into grand detail, but shortly put it is a conglomeration of artists who are working toward the common goal of being able to work solely on their art. They are also the ones publishing my novel in March 2012. Monday nights are Consortium nights. That means that anyone who is free can head on over to the house of Aaron Pogue (our fearless leader) and work on Consortium projects. This Monday I went over to talk about my novel with Aaron; he had just finished reading the first ten chapters (which is how much I have written) and wanted to give me his preliminary feedback. Now, do not think that I am blaming Aaron for any of this, nor that I hold any grudge against Aaron. I know that my novel isn’t perfect, but sometimes it’s hard to hear from others, especially if it’s about areas I hadn’t considered imperfect before. Aaron told me what he thought was wrong with Into the Flames and gave me suggestion on how to fix it. They were all very helpful criticisms and ideas, and I am very grateful for his honest opinion. However, ever since then I can’t seem to be able to force myself to write on said Into the Flames.

I blame Aaron.

Oh, wait, I said I wasn’t going to blame him, didn’t I? 😉

Anyway, this lack of writing on my novel has put me in a terrible funk, and it may or may not be the reason why I haven’t written a blog post in over a week, either. But something else happened on Monday night that I should have paid more attention to. Courtney Cantrell did, and she wrote about it in her guest blog post on Unstressed Syllables this week. This “else” was Becca Campbell forcing herself to get back into her creativity. She hadn’t written in over a month, and it was driving her crazy. So even though she didn’t have a novel to work on at that point, she exercised her creativity in a different way. She brought yarn and glue to Consortium night and started working on a yarn picture.

It’s a simple lesson, really. If you are having a hard time getting into your creativity in one venue, try it in another. Well, unfortunately, the only craftsy thing I am good at for the moment is writing. Knitting frustrates me and I haven’t played my saxophone in over two years, so that would just be embarrassing. So I picked up a different story instead. I felt guilty, writing on something else when really I should be racing toward the finish line on Into the Flames. But hey, I wasn’t working on that, anyway. Writing on something is better than not writing at all. It keeps the juices flowing.  It allows my mind to relax so that I’m not just thinking about how terrible a person I am for not writing. It gives me an outlet for all those crazy thoughts that have been whirling around in my head, begging to be released.

Well, I don’t feel quite like writing on Into the Flames just yet. I managed to eke out two sentences this afternoon and add a couple of paragraphs to a previous scene, but nothing more. But on the bright side, I have almost finished a short story and have big plans for another. And who knows, maybe someday you will get to read them. And now I’ve also written a blog post! So there!

Posted in Into the Flames, Writing

8 Responses to What I Learned from Courtney Cantrell and Becca J. Campbell

  1. Glad to hear you’re pushing out of the funk, even if it’s one short story at a time. I’m still working on my funk, but I’ve been knitting and doing photography stuff and getting the itch to paint again. Guess I’m giving that writing side of my creativity a little break. But since it’s the summer and I don’t have a WIP hanging over my head at the moment, now’s a great time. I need to recharge my creative side before November, because I can’t afford to be in a funk then.

    Happy writing!

    • jessie says:

      I have a good feeling about this week. I think I’m going to become victor very soon. Thanks for all your encouragement and inspiration, Becca!

    • Don’t worry, Becca. I don’t think any of us will *allow* you to be in a funk during November. ; )

  2. Aaron Pogue says:

    Can I apologize for something I haven’t officially been blamed for? If so, I do.

    I understand the frustration, though. I sometimes want to say “I don’t believe in writer’s block,” and I’ll back that up for creative block, but sometimes it’s just impossible to make yourself work on a project.

    I’ve been wrestling with that for most of the last week. In my case, it’s mostly chemical — I’ve been fighting a cold, and I’ve been heavily dosed with drugs, and between the two I haven’t found the concentration to do any real work on my main project.

    You’re right, though. Some progress is better than no progress, even if it’s on a separate project altogether. I spent the weekend wrapping up little to-do list items even while I kicked myself for not working on a novel under deadline.

  3. […] heard about that Consortium Time meeting. Courtney talked about it here, and Jessie talked about it on her blog today. (Sorry, […]

  4. Jessie, I hear ya. And I’m still very much with ya on all of this blockedness. Or maybe it’s blockiness. ; ) Either way, I feel like my creative drought is going to last until this house is unpacked. I don’t have a space where I can get into the zone yet. But I’m getting there.

    I think.


    • jessie says:

      Well, at least you have a good excuse like moving into a new house. That in itself can be a great creative exercise, right? Hope you are able to relax and let those creative juices flow soon!

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