Mental anguish at the writing process… be gone!
Sometimes I feel like I am talking about my writing more than actually getting the activity done in reality. Everyone knows I’m a writer, and are always asking how things are going, what I’m working on. And lately I’ve found my answers are restricted to one or two sentences.
Mainly because I’m getting frustrated at the repetition of answers, the time it takes to explain everything, and some frustration at my progress. Now I understand how actors feel when they are going the promotional interviews for their latest project. I need to channel some of their enthusiasm and inject some quirky charisma into the conversation… but I’m so socially awkward at times I’m worried I’ll start farting from butterflies in my tummy.
In my head I should be able to churn out amazing prose at an inexorbitant rate, novels shooting from the printer, little editing needed, before charging on to the next adventure.
What a lovely deluded little dream.
Hitting that creative stride comes in intervals. Content editing is exhausting having to track so many concepts at once. The beta reading and drafting process is gruelling and lengthy. Yet I love it all. The creative process of taking black viscous oily substance and adding the pressure of each step, increasingly until a diamond is formed at the other end. I still get amazed at what is produced. It has usually morphed into an entirely different creature.
I just wish the time it took was substantially less. And yes, I could push things along at a faster rate, but fear of an inferior novel getting published – and my name attached to it – resound loudly like a Chinese dinner gong. I’ve read too many self-published novels with spelling errors, ill-though-out concepts and an obvious skipped thorough editing process. They make me cringe, angry even. I would never want a reader to feel that way about my writing.
So I have my charts and spreadsheets to track my progress. It’s almost like I’m back in Grade School, placing a star in my column after each achievement. As juvenile as it is – it works for me.
I have been reviewing 2017 as it is coming to a close. Feeling out if I am satisfied with the achievements. Am I impressed? The short answer is – sort of. I guess I will never really reach those lofty goals I set for myself: but that’s the point. I like to push myself. But these schedules never allow for a social life, a visit to the dentist, taking time to play with the dog, or that time you got so sick with the flu and weren’t even able to look at a computer because the digital glare was like stabbing knives into your eyes.
I shouldn’t feel disappointed in myself because life gets in the way. It’s those little adventures that make it interesting. That provide inspiration to continue with your craft.
So I guess this post is all about giving myself a break. Feeling proud in the amount I have achieved. And a letter to anyone out there who goes through the same angst-ridden self-depreciation. It will take as long as it takes. Don’t cut corners and represent yourself in the best light. The work will speak for itself. Yes, these are all clichés – but they at common for a reason – they are time tested.
The next time you get stuck, or frustrated at the meagre number of words on your screen, remember you’ll get there in the end. Take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for even getting this far. So many give up because there is no instant gratification. Why are you writing in the first place? Tap back into that feeling.
Stay Calm and Write On.
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