Author Journal: Surviving Transition

Sheet Music

A “new disease.” That’s the term vocal students in my college attached to a particular, and distressing, affliction we all suffered at one time or another. It happened whenever one of our voice teachers added a new technique to the already-long list of “Things to Think About While Singing.” It seemed that concentrating on posture, support, breath control, placement, pitch, duration, dynamics, phrasing, tempo and oh yes — the words to sing — was not enough. It also became necessary to regulate emotion. Too much and we risked ruining the pitch. Too little and we came across as automatons — brilliant but lifeless.

Habit became my friend. I learned to always keep good posture to breathe correctly, to support when I spoke. In so doing, I both strengthened the necessary muscles and made such things automatic so I would not have to think about them when other matters pressed. Habit worked for me, that is until my voice teacher wanted me to concentrate on some new area of technique. I would invariably focus wholly on the new and enchanting difficulty and forget something else I already knew well enough to teach. Whatever it was — a skill, a pitch, a phrase — I could not recall it to save my life and no matter how I despaired. I had to learn the new thing, first, and then the rest would came back to me so that I could go on. In this way, I attained another level of proficiency.

Upon signing a contract for publication of my first novel, I suffered another sort of “new disease.” Up until that point I was able to manage three blogs, a website, various social networking platforms and membership in two critique groups, as well as write and edit DawnSinger, book one of Tales of Faeraven, and produce a first draft of DawnKing (book two).

Right after I signed, I went through a period of transition. I found just keeping up with my blogs a challenge. I forgot all the organizing I knew before the book deal and had first to learn the “new thing.” I felt much like a toddler who has overbalanced and waits, one foot in the air, trying to find a center. I’m happy to say that both feet are again on the ground. I’ve made adjustments to my schedule and updated my organizing system to incorporate both my new responsibilities and the old ones I retained. That doesn’t mean I won’t go through more times of transition as DawnSinger moves toward its release date. I’m sure I will. I hope I’ve learned by now, though, to give myself grace and understand that each “new disease” is a fleeting discomfort.

None of us starts a learning process by already knowing the thing to be learned.

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Written by Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt

As an author I love to escape with readers into creative worlds of fiction in three genres: medieval epic fantasy, historical fiction, and romantic mystery. My aim is to make this website an immersive experience for readers. Care to join us?

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11 thoughts on “Author Journal: Surviving Transition”

  1. You’re spot on with this one. Having too many balls in the air seems to be a symptom of our times. Even with your “adjustments” I don’t know how you keep up.
    Peace and Blessings

  2. Phew! And I thought I “was” busy!

    I still haven’t figured out how to manage it all. Great article on habits – that’s what it really is, isn’t it? Habits that need to find their spot in the melee when a new one is added. Kind of like school when a new kid comes in; a space needs to be made in the schoolroom and adjustments in some friendships must be made in order to accommodate the “new kid” in school.

    Thanks, Janalyn – I see that I need to re-establish some habits!! Blessings!

  3. Thanks for commenting, Kat and E G.

    I sometimes also wonder how I keep up, Ed. In fact, as we move toward publication of DawnSinger and I step into goals for my writing career, I plan to make more adjustments. Sometimes we can fit new habits in with the old ones, but sometimes we have to edit out the old to make room for the new.

  4. Sheila Hollingshead commented on the post, above, but her remark was meant for this post:

    Great post! I’ve gone through the same thing. There’s always a period of adjusting before we can get back to being our “productive” selves. (Although I’m not sure if productive applies to me!

    My response: You know, Sheila, I’m beginning to understand this reaction to change as normal.

  5. Your analogy to the finer points of singing was brilliant. Isn’t it true that sometimes when a ‘new thing’ is thrust upon us we tend to falter at some of the ‘old’ – even habits. But as you said, they do come back to us once we have assimilated the new. (Thankfully)

  6. Makes me glad I never took voice lessons! Seriously, though, I think this is something that can be applied to may subjects. Sometimes we NEED to focus on the new thing we’re learning. When that happens sometimes other accumulated info. flies out our brains because we’re concentrating so hard on the new information. Thankfully, our Father made our brains very flexible, so we can assimilate new information and still keep what we already have (at least most of the time! LOL).

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