My critique group is falling apart. In 2010, we were rolling along full steam, writing, editing, learning, growing. Some were strictly online/email members, but there are three of us who remain tight and chat frequently. They are my best friends—kindred spirits. For the most part, I think we complement each other well. We all have our strengths; what one misses, the others usually sweeps up.
So what’s the major malfunction you ask? There are a few things that have came along and mucked up everything. One member, Elisa, has devoted the entire year to blogging. She has the craziest things happen to her, like an older woman calling her clothing business requesting, AHEM, a penis pump. She’s having a ball writing about her life, but she’s not critiquing or writing anything else—no time. (Check her out at The Crazy Life Of A Writing Mom, she has some great stories to share.)
My friend Angela is also blogging and building her platform. She has really grabbed blogging by the who-haws and learned all the ins and outs—twitter, hootsuite, and all that stuff. That’s great for her blog, but it zapped her time and energy to finish her zombie western. She has an agent shopping her YA contemporary to publishers, so I understand the need to blog and create an online presence. (Whimsy, Writing, and Reading—her blog is great too)
Then there’s me. I’d like to say that I’ve been so busy with book tours and promoting my best seller there’s just no time for the little people anymore, but not a chance. After twenty years with the same company, my husband is out of a job and I’m trying desperately to claw my way back into the workforce before we run out of money. My degree has collected ten years worth of dust while I’ve raised my kids. It isn’t going to be easy to jump back in—will an employer want to hire me after so long? My mind is cluttered with sadness, anxiety, and no voices. For the first time in years, I have no voices in my head.
I’m a former social worker who used to work with severely emotionally disturbed children. One of the things I developed in those kids was coping skills—healthy coping skills. So, here I am dealing with one of the most stressful times of my life and my one comfort—my coping skill—is silent. I miss the chatter in my head, the dreams at night, and the wandering images of my characters as I drive my daughter to school.
My problem has also put a damper on the others in my group. Our steamy romance writer, Krissee, had an agent request the sequel to her first novel. She asked us to tighten it up for her (she just finished it) but my mind was so cloudy, I couldn’t do it. She had her stuff in an agent’s hands and I let her down. Not fun.
Then there’s Wyatt—our newest member. He is totally getting the shaft. He’s a fantastic writer who doesn’t really need too much help, maybe just an extra pair of eyes to catch those darn repeaters, but he must be thinking what the heck was I thinking joining this group?
I feel bad slacking on my commitments, but can’t find my mojo. I miss the days when I marked the heck out of their work and sent it off excited for the day when I’d get a polished copy, tighter dialogue, and fantastic narrative. I loved seeing the progress, the talent. And to think that I had a small part of that is fantastic. I want that back. Even writing this blog, I see sentences I hate, that need work, but don't have the drive to fix them.
Have you ever lost your voices? Lost your mojo? If so, tell me how to get it back?