Working on my Woo-Woo

A couple of weeks ago, someone told me I was scary.

Me? Come on. I’m short. I have curly hair. One of my favorite colors is pink. My office (aka “The Bunker”) is functional, but it’s also prettily decorated–dare I say, even feminine. I’ve hung vintage dessert plates on the wall, for pete’s sake! How could someone like this be threatening?

But then I saw a photo of this person…

who is also short, with curly hair, wears pink and likes vintage china. 

Oh dear.

Whatever you’ve heard, I am not the Dolores Umbridge of editing.

After pondering (aka “flipping out”) about it for a few days, I finally understood that the person meant “scary” in a Stern English Teacher kind of way. It wasn’t me in particular who was frightening, either. It was the idea of working with me, and not me in particular, either, but any editor. It was the concept of having his writing project read, judged and critiqued that gave him the heebies.

Whew. Glad we cleared that up.

I was also encouraged when, at the Pennwriters Conference last week, a person told a group that I was a good editor, but more importantly, I left a writer with her dignity intact.

Another whew.

Nevertheless, I’m glad that the “You’re kind of scary” comment was made. Not unlike characters in the works I read, it’s good for people to change and grow. I’ve been thinking of ways to change and grow as an editor.

Hence, I am working on my woo-woo.

In case you’re not familiar, woo-woo is the term writers (and others) give to all things supernatural, touchy-feely, paranormal, or emotion-based. Ying, yang.  It’s your Zen, man.

This is sort of not me. I’m not New Age, I’m Old French. I jab at voodoo dolls instead of applying a healing touch, and the closest thing I have to a touchstone is a Jane Austen finger puppet.

But hey, grow and change. I like a good paranormal story as well as the next girl, and I’ve got some Dashboard Confessional on my iPod.

There are some editors who are big on telling their clients to go out into a field, sit on a rock and ponder the possibilities of their characters. I don’t do this. I’m more of the sit your butt in your chair and wrestle with character consistency until you get it right. Or, go for a walk and think about it, but bring a notepad, because if you don’t, you’ll have a brilliant epiphany 2.3 miles from your house, and you’ll have to run home, and by then you’ll have forgotten the brilliant epiphany. Been there, done that, friends.

But maybe because it’s been raining all week, the idea of sitting on a rock in a field while pondering the possibilities sounds appealing.

Grow and change, grow and change.

But…how? This is the challenge. Where does a practical person like moi begin on this path to be more woo-woo?

So. Have you found enlightenment beyond the glue-your-butt-to-the-chair method? Something esoteric or emo? How did you grow and change to see possibilities?

Please tell me. If you do, I might let you play with my Jane Austen finger puppet.


6 thoughts on “Working on my Woo-Woo

  1. Ramona, some years ago, after a long spell of life getting in the way of my writing, I took up yoga and meditation. As a result of my meditation practice, I found my way back to my first love of writing. Unfortunately, the writing pretty much destroyed my meditiation practice. Clear my mind? Think of nothing? HA! That’s when my characters start chatting away inside my head. “Ignore them,” my meditation teacher told me. HA! Are you kidding???? Some great stuff comes up when I’m “ignoring them.” And taking notes during meditation is frowned upon. Oh, well. So much for meditation.


  2. LOL, Annette, I can see how the “writing while meditating” thing could be a problem. I have this same issue with driving. I get my BEST ideas sitting behind the wheel, but it is frowned upon by society to drive while jotting.

    Yoga, though, I could/should get into. Especially since the belly dancing thing didn’t pan out.


  3. Sometimes I get inspired when character comes knocking on my consciousness. Usually when I am half asleep. Some writing exercises loose me up but if I waited for those events I’d have a lot of down time. Most often I insert my butt into my chair in front of my computer screen and start writing. Inspiration can come and go, flowing or sputtering. As long as I am writing I can catch in and ride with it until in peters out.


    1. Warren, I have been captured by a character when semi-conscious, too. I wonder what that means? That when our active business mind shuts down (or up, in this case), the quieter, creative part starts to talk? I think this is more your area of expertise than mine.


  4. Ah Miss Ramona, don’t change too much :o) Scary is good…and you’re one of the best editors I know. I think it has to be all about the “getting your butt in the chair”. Or to the coffee shop. Or wherever you write best. And then just do it. Re-visiting something I thought was perfect the first time around is never fun, but it needs to be done. If we don’t have people encouraging us to do that, where would we, or more correctly where would our works, be. Under the desk in boxes most likely. My only serious problem is that I cannot get anything written while the husband is home…he hovers, interrupts, and otherwise messes with my concentration. Those days I have to make the extra effort to get to the nearest coffee shop or library. Take it from me, your woo woo is just fine :o)


  5. Maryann, you like me! You really like me! LOL.I think I’m a good cheerleader, I’m just blunt about it. Some self-examination is not a bad thing.

    I learned how to tune out background noise so well, now I find I need white noise. Coffee shops and the library are the best.


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