It’s hard to focus on writing when your mind is a muddled mess. At least, it is for me. It truly amazes me how I can go from such amazing highs – like seeing that Marked is being released on Saturday to the way I feel this morning.
I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck today.
Money is tight at my house after that storm, and tensions are high. I’m convinced that there’s only so much time you can spend in captivity with a person before you and said person are ready to strangle each other.
For example: Rooster and I love each other dearly, but we discovered on our honeymoon (almost four years ago, if you can believe that) that our limit is three days before we start threatening to throw each other in front of buses. I don’t know if it’s because we’re too much alike or too different, but after three days of looking at each other constantly, we need a break.
That same philosophy is true for an office environment – any work environment, for that matter. Sitting at my desk, I can tune out most of the nonsense that goes on around me… but after five eight-hour days with the same group of women, I am READY FOR FIVE O’CLOCK ON FRIDAY. It isn’t that I don’t like any of them – I like them all fine and can get along with them most of the time – it’s that there are so many of us in such cramped quarters for so long, that by Friday afternoon, we are all ready to get away from each other.
Those frustrations are just a couple in the list of things that distract me from my writing. I love to write…I do. But I have a hard time focusing on a fictitious world when I’m stuck in a very real one with very real problems. I’d RATHER be in the made-up world where I know that in the end, things will be okay… but I’m also enough of a realist to know that I can’t ignore what’s wrong in my real life.
I hear a lot of people talking about “well, you have to MAKE it happen” or “you need to set aside time and don’t let anything interfere with it”… both good points – because I believe that finishing a story is only going to happen if I make it happen. I do also like to have that specific time set aside to do what I want to do.
Sometimes real life is unavoidable, and no amount of space you put between yourself and the rest of our household will remove the nagging voice in your head. It’s hard to self-edit a story and pick out the problems with a made-up universe when the one around you won’t stop screaming at you long enough to let you breathe.
I find it extremely annoying when I get into groups of opinionated people who want to spout off their views of “the process” and why others aren’t as good as they are. My favorite, I think, is the type of person that says “writer’s block is made up.”
Try telling that to someone who has spent hours staring at a story, trying to make it sound right when it just won’t. Or maybe say that to the romance writer who just lost her husband. You’re likely to get the you-know-what slapped out of you for doing it.
Writer’s Block isn’t a manufactured thing. Whether it’s a psychological hurdle or a real-life trauma that gets in the way, it is, sadly, part of the writing process. Nobody has good days everyday. And in my personal opinion, anyone who always knows exactly what to do and never has to stop and question him- or herself obviously has no idea what’s really going on in that story. If the answers are always easy, then so is the conflict.
Sure, writer’s block can be used as an excuse not to write. Every single person that writes has used it at least once. I know I have…multiple times. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m the queen of procrastination.
But sometimes, things like real life get in the way and draw your focus from your work. You can’t always devote 100% of your brain to a project, even when you want to. It is more than just a deep-seated, psychological need to be pitied.
Then there are the ones that say “writing is work!”… well, yes… yes, it is. But, like any profession, if you don’t love what you do, you probably aren’t going to stick with it. If you don’t enjoy writing, even if you’re good at it, that means that you’re in the wrong line of work. Personally, I love writing. The whole stinking process…yes, even the writer’s block and the times when I look at what I’ve written and think this is complete shit! Again…part of the process.
Several years ago, I participated in NaNoWriMo. One of the weekly Author-Emails came from Neil Gaiman, and it talked about the writing process. I read that message, and while some of the others had sort of bounced off my forehead, that one stuck with me. I saved that message, and still go back to read it from time to time.
He explained how he sometimes feels the need to call his agent and threaten to never, ever write again, and she just listens, says okay, and tells him to finish. And he does. And knowing that a true professional – someone who has released multiple novels, graphic novels, children’s books, and various other forms of media – has those moments makes me feel infinitely better about myself.
Of course, it also makes me want to smack the crap out of the opinionated, elitist monsters who think they’re the only ones that really know the truth about writing. To them, I say… “meh.”
They have their posses of self-righteousness… and I have mine. We don’t take ourselves that seriously. We have fun. And with my people, I know that anything is possible, even if real life does get in the way sometimes.