Writer's Rehab #6: Slow Moments, Everyday

Write every day. Even if you don't read, write at least something.

What you write doesn't matter, and don't pressure yourself to do project work. Part of 'keeping up' is 'staying writing' and I feel at times forcing yourself to write 'productive, creative work' can paralyze you.

Is this good enough?

What about the plot?

How does this fit in?

I haven't thought about this part yet!

Panic sets in. You fear writing work you will eventually throw away because you wrote without planning first. You tell yourself 'you will get to planning' it later, and then the days creep by and nothing gets done. Because I must plan, I cannot write. Because I can't plan, I cannot start writing.

But get that bike out of the garage and ride. Every day. Use your skills. Use your equipment. To get into the sport of riding bikes, you need to overcome two things:
  1. The pain of starting each day.
  2. Telling yourself not to.
Number one is easy; you know, there are a million other things to do each day, obsess over social media sites like a compulsive disorder, play games, watch television, and you just need to sit down and start. Which is why if you write, you have a blog. Blogs are great places to sit here and type nothing of consequence, like this article.

But blogs keep you writing.

And someone will probably find something of value in what you write, if it is only confirmation of what they already know. The resistance to writing and starting in each day is real, and in just one or two days of allowing yourself time you can fall into a month-long cycle of being a former writer. It is so easy. I have been there.

I can't be ashamed, it happened. I have my reasons. I accept who I am. I realize shame can keep you out of the game for good, so I really can't care about that at all. I am here, now, and I am writing for you - that is all that matters.

I find these slow moments between projects and time spent learning can be the most difficult. Life is so full of distractions, and when you are not on the chase you can grow distracted and lazy. Something can pull you away. You can go a couple days without writing anything new. You can fall out of your routine. You can not write and that is okay.

Our most dangerous moments hide within the shadows of inaction. Our weaknesses stalk us from these dark places.

I took another break from Madame Bovary last night, and I want to return to How Fiction Works. I do get this feeling that I am almost there, that I am almost ready to begin again. There is something else in my mind telling me to wait a while longer, that I have more to learn on my road back. My voice is returning, and my comfort level is rising.

But these slow moments are deceptive. They speak to the lazy parts of our minds. They beckon inaction as a solution to our problems. If you don't do it, then there is not a problem, correct?

Inaction is the problem.

And there can be many reasons for not doing something, but most likely we get overwhelmed by the process and quit before we even begin. In these moments, I find it helpful to break down a problem into smaller parts and tackle each one. A plan goes a long way to solving a problem. And a plan can take something that seems huge and insurmountable into a mountain with a road to follow to get over the problem. It is still a mountain, but all you have to do is follow the road.

Patience becomes your problem then, and don't underestimate impatience as being another obstacle to following your dreams. I feel this one is very real, people are so into having instant gratification these days, that they often don't even start something because of expectations. I want ten books done, now! If I can't have that right now, I won't even start writing ten books! I am being a little extreme there with those statements, but I am sure you know the feeling.

If you don't start writing one book, you shall never have ten.

Slow down. But get started. And keep at it every day.

But I feel it. Part of my hesitance into getting back into the game is that I have two series I need to finish. But I am not ready to, and finishing them would take me a lot of effort and willpower that I am not sure I am ready for. Perhaps though, I should jump in and finish them. To hell with my feelings and just dive in. I am more in the mood for starting something different though, and I feel I need to be ready before I work on a finishing job. Part of the problem of finishing work is that I would need to read and review a lot of material, so a plan is needed and time needs to be made and committed to. Most importantly, I need to decide 'I am doing this' and then make it my life until the project is done.

I need some more rehab I suppose. I need to do a little more soul-searching and reading to get that fire lighted, whatever it may be.

Part of me wonders if I want to be stuck in the invisible market of erotica as well. I am tired of no one finding my work, and I am tired of the distinction that we must segregate our work because of our ideas. Part of me says 'who cares' to that, and just wants to write.

More thoughts and more feelings to dredge through, I know. They come up at random when I write, which is why I write, to get all these feelings out and out of my head. Because if I don't, these feelings and frustrations will end up coming out of my characters' mouths and that is not where I want them. I owe it to my characters to have them pure of thought and true to themselves, rather than my mouthpiece.

What I thought was a slow day actually turned out to be a pretty insightful one.

And one, if I had never wrote and kept this bottled up inside, would have been one I had never taken that next step back towards my recovery as a writer and weaver of words and thoughts.

There is still a mountain ahead which I must climb.