Another writer … on not writing.
For someone who calls herself a writer, I seem to spend an awful lot of time doing anything but. Some of the reasons for this are legitimate. I do, for example, have a full time, ‘regular’ day job. I also have two part time jobs in addition to the regular daytime gig. None of these jobs have anything to do with writing. I ALSO try to freelance in what spare time I have. Thing is — I’m usually so exhausted from my day-to-day put-food-on-the-table grind that writing is often the last thing in the world I want to do.
This blog … ahem … is a perfect example of this phenomenon. I started this blog because I thought it would be a good way of forcing myself to write more than once every few weeks. New blog! said my enthusiastic, there’s-nothing-a-little-elbow-grease-can’t-fix inner voice. Now you can write every day! (Or if not every day, then every week. You can talk about writing. You can talk about books. You can talk about how you’re avoiding writing and books. Because at least you’ll be writing. RIGHT?)
And, well, more than a month has now gone by since my last post. It would seem, blogosphere friends, that this online chronicle has become yet another thing to avoid.
Why do we do this? Because of course I’m not the only writer in the history of the universe who has ever tried to avoid doing that thing they love the most. A few years ago, I wrote about procrastination. The research for that article yielded a wealth of information, and not a few links to other blogs and articles that discussed the phenomenon in depth. (And yes, I’m well aware of the irony, here. How much time did I waste looking at all of this stuff? Lots. It was heavenly.) So at least, at the end of the day, I know I’m not alone. But that doesn’t solve the problem, does it. It would seem, naturally, that the only thing which WILL solve this issue is to sit down, get out that pen, and get to it. Or, in the case of a writer’s blog, to whip out the keyboard and type, type away.
Writing is so much about balance — balancing words on the page, balancing your desires as a writer with the realities of your everyday life. Balancing your fear of that blank page or computer screen with your enthusiasm for those moments when the words actually appear, when they come into your mind as if from nowhere at all. But most of all, it is about balancing yourself on that sharp edge of discipline, about keeping yourself at your work without letting it consume you. I am not good at this. Late last year, when I was finishing the first draft of my new novel, I had almost no life at all. I felt guilty if I spent time with friends, and I cursed each minute that saw me doing anything other than writing. That was because that particular project had moved from the nebulous, who-knows-what-the-hell-I’m-trying-to-say stage into something concrete, something that had substance. I was excited about the project because I could see it finally taking shape. I wanted it to consume me, and so I let it.
Now, these months on and nearing the end of revisions for that same novel, I find my enthusiasm all but gone. This lack of passion has bled into everything. Is it just a cycle? Is it a symptom of something more serious? I don’t know — although I’m guessing the former is true, because I have started to think about a new novel and the enthusiasm for that one is slowly starting to fill my day. I am hoping that this is just the way of things — my pattern, my rhythm. In the meantime, I’ll try to remember that the blog is good practice. That I’ve set this as a practice for myself and should keep at it, even if I worry that I’ve nothing interesting to say.
At least once a week, folks. Form now on — that’s the plan, and the promise. We’ll see what happens!