This post has been simmering in the creative juices of my stewpot brain for weeks.
I’ve been unwilling to let it come to a boil and bemoan (yet again) my lack of writing. I know this is the writer’s journey. The cycle of highs and lows. Triumphs and defeats.
But I wonder should I keep talking about the journey? Especially when said journey is at a standstill?
Apparently, the answer is yes because here I am, telling you (yet again) that I have writer’s block. Or better yet, as Jerry Cleaver, author of my go to resource, Immediate Fiction, puts it: “Page Fright”.
Last time I talked about writing, it was on the heels of a recommendation to take a sabbatical. To which I publicly said no, only to traverse that path anyway …
Confession: It’s been months since I’ve opened Scrivener. It’s been weeks since I made a note in my journal relative to the novel in progress. It’s been days since I’ve thought about my characters and what’s going on in their lives. Truly, I am embarrassed at my lack of concern for them.
So you’re probably wondering what has me blocked this time. What’s the trigger for my “page fright”?
- Oh yeah and did I mention?
Tell me my creative friends … have you ever said any of these things:
I’m too tired …
It’s an excuse. I have the energy to stay up all hours of the night and day watching TV or surfing the web (especially for books on Amazon) or playing games on my iPhone. So I’ll take the hit for this one. It’s really just laziness on my part.
I’m too busy …
And I am. I’m a wife and mom who works outside of the home. Needless to say in the last six months my day job workload has more than tripled; leaving no room for anything else. Except maybe: baby blankets? Remember all my friends who are expecting or adopting? Wait. That’s another excuse. If I’m being honest it just means I procrastinate and writing is first thing to go.
I don’t have time …
Okay, is this the same as being too busy? Maybe. What I know is in a high time in my writer cycle I would say something like: “It’s about making time,” which is a truthful declaration. And I would. I just don’t know what to do in the low times like right now.
Writers should read widely … inside and outside their genre
So, I’ve immersed myself in books. Isn’t that what the Goodreads 2013 Challenge is for? I need to read more before I can write well. Reading a well written novel should teach me tips and tricks. Unfortunately, all the great writing I’ve been reading is discouraging me … paralyzing me. Plus all the bad writing I’ve been reading is discouraging me. This losing myself in other people’s stories instead of my own is a distraction.
Who am I kidding … Nobody’s going to want to read this
The word drivel comes to mind which is why good writing and bad writing is discouraging. It all depends on the day I peruse my darlings. Sometimes I find gold and it makes me smile. Other times, I lay my head on my desk and weep because only rewriting can fix it. Ever been here?
“Put all excuses aside and remember this: YOU are capable.” ~Zig Ziglar
I’m not good enough because writing is hard …
Haha … this is Who-Am-I-Kidding’s kissing cousin. Writing is hard despite my love for words and the thrill of a story. Thanks to I-Don’t-Have-Time and I’m-Too-Tired, the last thing I want to do is invest my time in learning “the craft” of writing. I know … another play at laziness.
I need to build a platform …
Do I really? I mean, yes, I get it. I do. But having a platform and nothing meaningful or substantial as in finished to give those who would join “my tribe” is just social media fun not platform building. Distraction at its finest, right? Tweet. Friend. Post. Like. Sigh.
What is the cure for the excuse-itis I am experiencing? I’ve self-diagnosed the symptoms:
Truth be told, all my excuses boil down to good old fashioned FEAR.
- Fear of finishing.
- Fear of not finishing.
- Fear that it’ll be bad.
- Fear that it’ll be great.
- The list is endless.
We are just a couple of months away from my self-imposed August deadline. WIP started in August 2011. I can look in my journal and tell you the day I penned the idea. I gave myself a year for completing. Ambitious for a first time novelist. Then I extended it to August 2012 and again to August 2013.
It’s fast approaching and I have little to show for it. I should cut myself some slack. August 2014 anyone?
Some of the podcasts I listen to have recently referenced authors who worked on a book for 10, 20, 30+ years before finishing.
Again I wonder … what’s the cure for excuses? Especially when the first words to form are my handy little phrases … there seems to be a shortage of the words I crave most. You know …
- Clever words
- Witty words
- Rambling words
- Story picture words
- Pithy words
- Words with friends (oh wait … no … strike this one)
I should be making word soup in my stewpot brain … not excuses …
And yet during this unexpected hiatus I’ve found it easier to tell people who ask what I do:
“I am a writer.”
And to respond to the question: “What do you write?” with “I write YA fiction.”
Now like the sign off from the podcast Writing Excuses: “This has been Writing Excuses. You’re out of excuses. Now go write.”
Today, I’ll take that advice. I’m off to write in my stacks of beautifully blank journals; fighting “page fright” with ink. But before I go, tell me:
What self-talk keeps you from your creative pursuits? What’s on your list that isn’t on mine? And most important, how do you combat the excuse mill?