Riding the Rollercoaster

Life is a rollercoaster: one moment you’re soaring with elation and the next moment you’re hurking up your guts.


Life has been very rollercoastery for me of late – roaring up the incline with sparkly new ideas for my WIP, and then plummeting down in despair as I realise I don’t have the physical or emotional resources to do it justice (or do it at all) while I’m working full time at the DDJ.

Working late

At least this week, and when you’re tired and stressed and over-emotional, what other week is there?
At times like this, a sturdy support structure is essential. (Rollercoaster without supports? BAD.)  Enter the Caped Gooseberry, my personal live-in hero. (Silhouette has been edited to protect his identity.)

Now All I need is a Cape

Progress is slow – very slow – and emotional outbreaks of self-doubt, -disdain and -despair still occur. But little by little I keep moving.  I am not writing 2,500 words a week. Maybe I will again in time, but right now 500 a week would be heartening. I’m holding my goals lightly.

This is also an important time to read encouraging and revitalising advice. Kristen Lamb is one of my favourites for a boost when I’m depressed about my lack of progress, combining as she does reassurance and a swift kick in the pants.


I’ve also recently re-read this helpful dollop of advice from Chuck Wendig (be warned: self-confessed NSFW), which I found via A Cat of Impossible Colour.

Highlights for me include Stop Running Away (why do I do that??), Stop Worrying, Stop Thinking It Should Be Easier (but why is it so hard?), Stop Deprioritizing Your Wordsmithy (closely related to Stop Running Away) and of course Stop the Moping, Whining, Blaming, Lamenting and Being Afraid.

I don’t know that I agree with Wendig about Stop Dreaming, but at least I am sufficiently in touch with reality (I visit alternate weekends) not to start “Epic 23-book fantasy cycles!”


So if the contents of your peritoneum are the only thing moving upward as the rest of your life shoots down, take courage. You aren’t the only one in the rollercoaster car. Tighten your grip, scream if it helps, and hold on til the track turns upward.

June: a Sense of Abundance

This month proved a struggle, looking at abundance – primarily in terms of material abundance – when all I seemed to abound in was phlegm. Such Fun.

I think Julia Cameron is really on to something here: “For many of us, raised to believe that money is the real source of security, a dependence on God feels foolhardy, suicidal, even laughable.” (p.105)

Consider the wildflowers…

I was raised by two people who were most definitely dependent on God rather than money, and I still struggle with wanting to be financially secure all the time, not to risk having nothing to fall back on.

“We have tried to be sensible – as though we have any proof at all that God is sensible…”
“Snowflakes, of course are the ultimate exercise in sheer creative glee. No two alike.” (p.107)

Wilson A. Bentley snowflake, 1890

Dare we dream that God has something better for us than we have at present? Not necessarily something easier, or safer, to be sure, but better?

Now, Cameron and I do differ in places. She characterises common belief as “Hard work is good. A terrible job must be building our moral fiber.” (p.106)

And you know what? I think hard work is good. I think a terrible job can build your strength, your endurance. I think I have become a better writer by having to struggle to write. I’ve had to ask myself – how much do I want this? I’ve had to develop discipline, and you can’t tell me that’s a waste of time.

Truck pull – no rope

But that doesn’t mean that the Dreaded Day Job is all there is, in perpetuity. People don’t keep going to school once they’ve passed their last exams. Soldiers don’t stay in basic training forever.

But here’s what scares me: once you leave training is when the work really starts.

And here’s another thought: your dreams and God’s dreams for you aren’t necessarily the same dreams (although they can be). But given a clash, God’s dreams are always better. And bigger. And scarier, because we don’t think we can do it, and he knows we can (with his help), and he’s just got to keep pushing us til we reach the place where we’re prepared to try.

An acorn may be content to become a modest shrub, but God will not be content until he has made it an oak.

You can’t out-dream God.

Cameron moves on to discuss the idea of creative luxury – not wallowing in plutocratic plushiness, but allowing yourself those non-utilitarian things which feed your soul. Things that make you feel rich in life – doesn’t have to be expensive. An old LP of great music. A monthly packet of chocolate biscuits. Really nice paper to write on, instead of a ratty old exercise book. A beautiful cup and saucer, second-hand.


I freely admit that I didn’t do most of the exercises this month. For some reason, this is the month with all the practical stuff in it. Go outside and find five interesting rocks. (I have bronchitis.) Find five flowers. (It’s winter. Plus I have bronchitis.) Bake something. (It’s winter in the kitchen too.)

Things that I didn’t do but still intend to once I recover: purge 5 old ratty items of clothing; send 5 postcards to friends you’d like to hear from; make some changes to the [cluttered, messy] home environment.
I can’t decide whether to go for this:

Home Library 2005

or this:

luther room

Dreaming too big? Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow.

And DDJ – your days are numbered. Even though I don’t know the number yet. God’s got dreams…