Thursday, December 1, 2011

When you need someone to pull you away

This one time I was playing outside being the happy, well-adjusted five year old I was when my seven-year-old brother and my three-year-old brother came yelling that I had to see the spider they caught. I followed them to a five-gallon bucket filled with sticks, grass, and a few rocks.

They told me that there was a BLACK WIDOW inside. I knew a little about black widows, but even if I hadn't, I would've known it meant danger by the urgent yet fascinated voices they used. Personally, I hadn't seen a dangerous spider before, and I was more than a little curious.

So, I looked in the bucket. The black widow was hiding, as they are wont to do. I circled around the bucket, trying to get a better view of the little spindly-legged, swollen-abdomened walking vial of poison, but I couldn't see it.

"It's down there! Behind that twig!" I don't even remember which brother said it. Probably both. Repeatedly. With much excitement.

But I still couldn't see it. So I stuck my head in the bucket to get a better look.

My older brother grabbed hold of my shoulders and yanked me away, and with the most scared voice I had ever heard from him, yelled, "Black Widows are poisonous! And it was RIGHT by your head! YOU COULD'VE DIED!"

I'm pretty sure my debilitating fear of spiders can be traced back to that exact moment in time. After all, I ALMOST DIED.

You know, sometimes it's really hard to pull yourself away. Sometimes it takes someone with their hands on your shoulder to pull you back.

Sometimes it's revising that's drawn your head inside the metaphorical bucket. You revise. then send it to CPs. Then revise. Then send it to beta readers. Then revise. Then realize you've learned a ton, and you want the book to reflect everything you now know, so you revise. And you just don't know when to stop.

Sometimes it's the story that has pulled you in, and you need someone to pull you out of what's going on inside your head because there's a lot going on outside your head!

Sometimes it might even be a storyline that just isn't quite working. And deep down, you know it's not working, but there's this one thing about it that you love, so you keep trying to force it. Sometimes it takes someone to pull you away, at least for a bit, to get some perspective on it to see WHY it isn't working.

And sometimes it's your loved ones, pulling you away from the computer because hey! They haven't seen you in forever!

So what is it for you? Do you tend to have something that you need pulled away from? Who is it that usually saves you from ALMOST DYING! whatever you're pulled into?


Iain said...

I am soooo glad we don't have big spiders over here. I'm bad enough with the tidgy ones.
In the past I've been too impatient and sent my MS before it's ready.
Now, I'm in danger of doing too much. So, your post has just pulled me back ;o)
Then again... just one more run through...

Anonymous said...

I don't like to delay things. When I start working on a project at home, I like to get it done as quickly as possible. Sometimes this means The Wife saying "It's 8:15. Get cleaned up so the kids can go to bed." Which translates as "You're making too much noise, and the kids have to go to bed."

David P. King said...

This post is brilliant. I have to thank my wife for pulling me away from the compy from time to time, mostly when I'm stressed when what I'm working on isn't working. So hard to remind yourself to step back for a perspective break when you're in the moment.

Kelley Lynn said...

I'm usually the one who pulls myself away. When I'm entrenched in a WIP I find that everything can 'wait for later'.

Workout? I'll do that later.
Cleaning? I'll do that after this chapter.
Watching TV? After I'm done with my WIP
Eating? ...I'll do that while I'm writing because I could never not eat :)

Ruth Josse said...

The thing I have to be pulled away from is my own fear and doubt. It can be pretty debilitating. Sometimes I can pull myself out of it, sometimes it's my writers group, sometimes it's super supportive bloggers. :)

Alexis Bass said...

I'm like @Kelley - I totally pull myself away.

That is a terrifying story, PS!

Mara Rae said...

This post reminded me of two things: One, the nightmare I used to have as a small child in which I was forced to marry a cartoon spider, and two, how did you know when it was time to stop revising and start querying? Maybe you can address that in a future post, as it's something I struggle with, and you clearly had success with!

prerna pickett said...

being a mom pulls me away. My kids don't let me tune out all that often.

Jessie Humphries said...

I need someone to pull me away from eating this holiday...I'm off to a bad start!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I have a really hard time saying positive things about my work. I doubt myself ALL.THE.TIME. My crit partners keep me sane though. They believe in me and so does my agent. Obviously. Or he wouldn't have taken a chance on me. And my family is very supportive as well. So, I have tons of support with people who believe in me. I should start believing them, right? :)

Carrie Butler said...

You always have the best stories, Pegasus. It's a wonder any of you are alive at all. *grins*

Kyle Eddleman said...

Maybe THATS why you love light! So you can see the spiders! haha

Jenny S. Morris said...

I'm with Mara. I want to know how you know when it's time to send those query letters out.

Oh, and spiders make my kids scream and run in horror.

Unknown said...

I always pull away too soon, with writing and life. With writing it's mainly because I'm fed up with straining to make it better. With life, it's because I hate spiders and bug, though I try not to.

M Pax said...

My impatience usually pulls me away. lol I'll put things down, walk away, then come back later. It's so easy to get so lost in a story & no longer remember what was said & what wasn't ... at least not in this revision.

K. Marie Criddle said...

Aw, what a good brother! I think my killer spider is the sense of despair that comes with writing, the "I'm not going to make it, I can't do this" type devils-in-your-ear. Fortunately, I'm lucky to have such amazing friends and family who support and cheer me on and pull me back from that! I know the strength has to come from within but it's awfully nice to have it come from without, too. :D

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness ... You really nearly died!!!
I didn't notice lots yesterday because I was prepping a story for a comp. Last stages.... I need someone to drag me away

Denise Baer said...

I needed to be pulled away from my revisions. A story can be changed this way and that way, but I just needed to stop and say, "This is it and this is what I'm proud of." I felt the change in story would never end.

Thank God I had someone pull me away.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Peggy...nice to meet you. Loved the post, close family and friends do pull me or drag me away saying that they have not seen me from ages.

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

Love this!
I get my head stuck in the bucket a lot. I get a little too focused. I think Sundays are good days to pull my head out and realize how long it's been in there.

Carterista said...

Oh, Peggy! Someday I'll need to thank your bro. Life just wouldnt be the same w/o you!!!!!!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I don't have anything intelligent to contribute :) but I LOVED your spider story! And it makes for a great analogy. Thanks for sharing :)

Peggy Eddleman said...

Iain-- I totally understand the "one more run through!" And the gratefulness for the not large spiders occupying the same space as me. :)

Joshua-- Hahaha! I may have been The Wife around here a time or two...

David-- It is hard! Sometimes you really want to plow through it, when the best course of action really is to just step back. Thank heavens for spouses!

Kelley-- Hahaha! I loved your comment! And great job on pulling yourself away.

Ruth-- That's such a hard one to pull yourself away from! Supportive people make all the difference, definitely.

Alexis-- I know! I found it quite terrifying myself. :)

Mara-- Now I feel really bad for using a cartoon spider! But had I used a real one, I wouldn't be able to come back to my blog anymore. But did you notice he only has six legs? I did that on purpose, because then he's not a *real* spider. And on the knowing when to stop thing... Can't say I'm an expert. I will be thinking of a blog post on it, though. Thanks!

I'm headed off to work. I'll comment on the rest a little later. Have a great day!

Peggy Eddleman said...

Prerna-- Ahh, yes. I totally know that one very well.

Jessie-- Hahahaha! Sorry- I can't help you there. In fact, I'm going to think of you every time I eat a holiday treat. Oh, wait. That's weird. I might just think of the holiday treat I'm eating...

Chantele-- Quit that. Seriously. I can tell by your blog that your writing rocks! Um, yes, start believing them! They know what they're talking about.

Carrie-- The spider really wouldn't have killed me, but we wonder all the time how we're still alive. My brothers were quite adventurous. (Ha! I said that like it's past tense!)

Kyle-- Hahahahahahaha! I think you may have hit the nail on the head! Thanks. I've wondered what my deal with lights is. (Now will you quit turning every light in the house off? Apparently I NEED them. It's not just a want; it's a need.)

Jenny-- But they don't make you run and scream? Okay, I'll talk about it sometime before too long. I can't promise the best answer, but I'll talk. :)

Imogen-- I totally understand. On both.

M-- I know! Sometimes I will get a scene or a conversation SO CLEARLY in my head, I'm convinced I actually wrote it! Then when I come back later, I wonder what the heck happened in my file, because my edits aren't there.

Marie-- I've enjoyed it coming from without from some truly amazing people that I think the world of. I see their name in my in box, and get so excited. Like I'm about to open a present.

Michelle-- Haha! It sounds like a really good kind of oblivious to the world, though! Best of luck with it!

Bea-- It's so nice to have someone to pull you away! I'm with you! Sometimes it is SO HARD to tell on our own.

Rachna-- Awww! There's nothing like close family and friends, is there?

Shelly-- Hahaha! And I agree-- it does amazing things to completely pull your head out of the bucket on Sundays.

Carterista-- Awww, Cecilia! I love you.

Susanna-- Thank you!

LynNerdKelley said...

Wow, that's a scary childhood memory. I'm glad your brother was looking out for you and not a prankster who thought it was funny! Nice analogy with writing, too.