I’ve started to noticing a trend as of late with other writers recently that is mirrored in myself. Maybe it’s the weather, but that doesn’t explain it quite as well due to the fact that they are located all around the world. It could be the time of the year. It’s spring turning into summer and as is usual for this season change, our natural instincts is to start moving. It’s an example of our natural instincts of survival.
I remember in the winter on a morning when I was having particular trouble getting up and going, my husband noted that during the winter it’s harder for me than during the summer. He was wondering why that was and I glibly answered in my 3/4 asleep state. “It’s winter, time to hibernate.” Now that it is becoming summer, hibernation is leaving to be replaced by the urge to be active. To shed those winter pounds for a brand new us. For most, that means the clothes changing from heavy to light, for others it might mean a reattachment to their exercise program.
For writers, I’m starting to think it’s a feeling of revulsion of locking themselves to the computer when it’s so damn pretty outside. As the school year ends, the natural inclination is to pack the family in the car and take a trip, go to a theme park, do something other than be cooped up in the house.
The problem is, we still have to write. It becomes a battle between our need against our instincts. So, our mind begins to play tricks on us. Some deal with that ominous blank page, others deal with the feeling that everything they are writing at the moment is crap, and the rest deal with a subconscious battle of wills with their body to force themselves to sit down and write or edit. (Or, if you’re unlucky, all three which royally sucks).
At least, that was how I was yesterday during my lunch hour. I was in Subway, munching on my sandwich, working on the last chapter of Memory Lane, cutting and rewriting. Halfway through my lunch hour, I hadn’t written a word. I had fooled myself into re-reading what I had already corrected with the idea that I was getting back into the groove. I didn’t realize until I started working that I was stalling myself.
I forced myself to finish one page. Just one, but as I packed up to return to work, I realized the hour wasn’t an effective use of my time. Cue mental barrage from the voice in my head that keeps saying I’m wasting my time. “See, proof you are wasting your time.”
After all these years at fencing with that damn voice, I’ve gotten pretty good at saying back. “I got something done. It wasn’t a lot, but if I keep going one page at a time, within the week I’ll be finished. If it goes every other day, well, then, it’ll take me two weeks. What matters is that I did do it.”
Usually I can get the voice to shut up, which I managed to do yesterday. But I get the feeling that it’ll keep throwing things under me in an attempt to make me stumble. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. I’d like to say, to anyone that is also dealing with this lassitude in general, it’s okay. Fighting the urge to walk away is hard, I know from personal experience. However, even if you only do one page, one paragraph, or one sentence, you’ve done something. Do it often enough, you’re going to look up one day in shock when you noticed that you’ve typed:
- 10 Ways To Get That First Draft Finished (mcgeejp.com)
- A Few Voice Lessons for Young Writers (margaretjeanlangstaff.com)
- Re-what? The Art of Re-writing…and other myths (chinowriting.wordpress.com)