The Curse

It hasn’t been a great couple of weeks for writing. I feel like I’ve gone through the microcosm of an entire career right here, in the second third of my very first novel. I’ve felt the curse of creativity, the dark side of talent, branded into my very flesh.

First, I was doing great. I had just figured out a pressing plot issue in Part III, and I was feeling awesome. Stoked. Thrilled, even. The words were flowing as easily as they ever had in the midst of the revision process, and even if it wasn’t quite pure genius flowing out of me into the novel, it was something very nearly okay.

Then I ran into a bit of a snag. It wasn’t that sort of existential crisis of writer’s block that forced me to make the plot changes in the first place, but I just wasn’t really feeling the new stuff I was writing. The character moments were okay, but it felt like they all happened in a vacuum, like they were in another book entirely.

Then I stalled out completely. When I’m not feeling confident (which is often), there’s a very real danger in taking any sort of break. I’ll become fascinated with some other story possibility or some other ideas and coming back to my novel, which doesn’t feel nearly so great in comparison, just feels like way too much work. Man, I’ve made all these changes, it’s still not working. Maybe I should just give up.

And then, last Sunday, I stared at my computer for almost an hour and a half and wrote maybe a dozen words. My mind was elsewhere, my muse was busy, I don’t know. It was horrible. Even my dreaded inner editor was just shrugging and saying, “Don’t ask me. Part III sucks.”

So skipped ahead.

Ironically, I’m going to back up a bit here and explain some of my thoughts regarding my “writing time.” I was lamenting that I wasn’t really able to find enough time to work, and that’s still an issue, but I think I’ve found a workable solution. Some schedule reconfiguring was called for, and it’s still hit-or-miss, but it’s a start

I’ve been getting up at six to write for months now, but I’ve noticed that “get up at six” has gradually turned into “get up at 6:15-6:20.” And then I would take a shower. And take the dog outside. And make coffee. So my 6:00-8:00 writing interval was more like a 6:50-8:00 interval, and that’s obviously no good.

So, now I shower in the evenings. Try it sometime! And if it’s my morning to see to the dog, I get up at 5:45 to take him out. And it goes without saying that there’s absolutely no internet, no videos, no games, not even any reading. I either write or I sit there staring into space. I even turn the wifi off.

I figured that if I had a solid two hours, 2,000 words would be a nice solid target. Not out of the question, but I’d have to stretch myself to get there. And if I don’t write 2,000 words, then I write the balance during lunch, or when I get home from work. So, on Monday, I wrote 2,000 words in Part IV, which had been so far untouched in this revision sequence. And today, I did another 2,000 (well, slightly less).

It’s too early to tell if it’s actually going to be successful, but I’m encouraged. I feel like I’ve come out of the trials of tribulation singed, but still strong. And I’m going to banish this thrice-damned writer’s curse if I have half an opportunity.

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