The Importance and Unpredictability of Introspective

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on October 5, 2015 in Black Butterfly, Books, Family, WIP, Writing, Young Adult |

Remember how I mentioned last week that I’ve been very introspective in my thinking (it’s totally okay if you don’t remember…I just thought this was a good way to start the post)? Part of that is because I’ve been so busy in my life that I haven’t had the time or energy to be extrospective.

(Okay, totally made up that word…but it totally should be a word…nonintrospective isn’t really right because it implies a lack of thought…I’m more talking about keeping thoughts inside vs. expressing them, hence extrospective…digression over!)

The other part that’s kept me introspective is where I’m at in my creative process, which is revision. I’ve been going through all the great feedback I have from my in-person critique group, my beta readers, and the professional feedback I’ve gotten for my WIP YA thriller (right now titled BLACK BUTTERFLY).

So I’ve been thinking a lot about what the story still needs and what feedback is working and what isn’t resonating with me. It’s a lot of decision-making, and it’s tough on the ego to be working through the criticism, even though it’s all done in a professional, constructive manner. After all, the revision process is all about facing what you wanted to do with a story and haven’t yet accomplished or realizing that what you wanted to do with the story in the first place maybe isn’t the best thing for it…not easy!

Often when I’m working out some tricky thinking in my own head, I turn outward to help sort through the thoughts. But, surprisingly, I’ve turned inward in this case. It’s like I have to hold all those thoughts and feelings close in order to really experience and figure out how to move forward. Expressing them would ruin them before they can turn into whatever it is they need to be, so I continue to hold them close until they’re ready (the whole pregnant and birthing analogy would be apt here, and like pregnancy and child-birthing, it’s exhausting).

All that physical and mental busyness leaves less room for other things, mainly blogging, Twitter, Facebook, exercise (though I do a lot of walking with the boys), and even reading. The number of books I’ve read this year is way down from last year and also below my adjusted yearly goal.

I didn’t expect or plan to step back from those things (and haven’t entirely ignored them), but it’s what happened. And I’m allowing myself to be okay with that. Because I’m allowing the other things I’m doing and thinking about that are more important (no offense to my Internet peeps!) to take priority. The unpredictability of life and the creative process are what makes my life and work exciting, and it also fuels my stories.

What exciting or unexpected things have you been doing lately?

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  • Mary Waibel says:

    I think it’s wonderful that you’re listening to your inner critic/muse and doing what you need to do for the best of your story. I’m honored to have been allowed to see this early draft, and can’t wait to see what you decide to do based on the feedback you received.

    Remember, the books and the internet will still be there when you’re ready to get back to them!


    • I got so much good feedback on this story, Mary! Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. I’m still really excited about this story, even after all the critiques. 🙂

  • Mirka Breen says:

    “Extrospective” should be in the dictionary, like the word “exoteric” (the antonym of “esoteric”)— sometimes thing are outward-pointed.
    Writing is introspection, IMO. Revising adds another dimension, having to consider where the feedback is coming from, and thus, how or if to use it. Revising is where you get to be introspective and extrospective at once. Not an easy trick. You’re doing it.

    P.S. I just added EXTROSPECTIVE to my Word program dictionary ;), that easy.

  • Revisions are so hard! Like you know they need to be done but getting through them is tough. I feel ya.

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