Sometimes I find myself wondering why writing is so hard sometimes. The past few weeks I’ve had times when I could have been writing, but instead find myself procrastinating or making excuses with myself, and therefore avoiding writing. I don’t know what it is that makes me feel listless and bored – after all, I should know myself better now and should know the signs of this sort of ‘writing hiatus’. I had the same feeling last summer, when I didn’t write much at all after finishing the Creative Writing diploma. I sort of let myself lose track of why I love writing fiction. Perhaps the problem is that I’m focusing on other people’s opinions too much and feeling a bit pressured about them wanting to see an end product.
At the same time, I need to set myself challenges and deadlines. Its hard to show up every day and allocate a certain time for writing, but if I don’t do that, then I’m never going to get things done. Its such a contradiction – to feel like you love writing, you love reading, but it also feels so much like work and the build up to that work is sometimes excruciating and you start doubting yourself. I have a lot of unfinished short stories – and I think that is my problem – sometimes I start things and I’m raring to go, and then they sort of trail off because I start worrying about little things, or I think I’ve run out of time. When really I need to recognise these for what they are – my inner critic trying to drag me down and make me doubt my determination and creative impulse. I start thinking too much and it halts the flow of whatever it is I’m working on. Getting past this is one of the hardest things about writing. Just a kind of resistance, stopping us from pushing ourselves forward.
Going back and trying to figure out why I’m doing this in the first place might help. Everyone has a different reason for writing or being creative. I feel like I’ve let myself become sidetracked and that I’m not concentrating on what I love best about writing – the feeling I get when I’ve finished something, a kind of warm glow of achievement. Even if its just a little thing, I’ve finished it. I can then move on to the next thing. Although I didn’t wrap up the NaNoWriMo story in November, I reached the word count and it made me feel like the sleepless nights and 2000 word days were worth it. I had something that gave me this feeling that I’m chasing. Reminding myself of that feeling is what I need to get jump-started again. Life is boring if we don’t challenge ourselves, and I think if I just work through this resistance I’ll find that I eventually recognise it for what it is – my doubts and worries manifesting.
I think maybe I’m worrying about whether I’m going to find a way to make this work. Freelancing isn’t easy, and I also need the time to work on my fiction. I think now is the time to be serious and get my head down. If I don’t do it now then when will I do it? I don’t really have any excuses, at least not at the moment. Burning the candle at both ends and getting sucked into social networking is definitely no excuse either. I have moments when I think about deactivating my Facebook account because its just another distraction that I don’t really need. If people want to keep up with you, they should know your email. Its very difficult to switch off when you’re worried if you don’t constantly check, then something will happen that you’re left out of. Then at the same time, there’s this voice saying that if it sucks time away from you, you need to be more ruthless. Sure, marketing your work is part of being a blogger or a writer, but it shouldn’t be a part of your life 20 times a day…
Right now, I’m not sure what the answer is. I do know that I need to do something about this before I stop writing fiction altogether. I still feel a big pull towards creating new worlds and characters, and that can only be a positive sign.
Art begins with resistance – at the point where resistance is overcome. No human masterpiece has ever been created without great labor. ~ Andre Gide.