Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Breakthroughs are fun!

I've been busy the last few weeks with side projects--a few essays here and there, and I've been trying to work out some things, writing-wise, outside of this blog, but boy, it's been tough. I'm not sure what went wrong, but writing had lately felt like a chore. A Sisyphusian chore. I just kept pushing that boulder up Mt Everest and then I'd watch it roll aaaaaaaaalll the way back down again. And that's pretty discouraging, wouldn't you say? Discouraging enough that I just felt like taking a break, the gods be damned. And I guess in a way, that's what happened. I'd avoided any meaningful writing for the past few months. I can't say why--maybe fear? Laziness? A feeling of being overwhelmed? A good solid mix of all of the above? Possibly.

A few days ago, though, I decided to do something about it. (I think I've come to realize that I function better when I'm organized, which is weird because when I think of adjectives to describe myself, "organized" is not one of them. It's not anywhere on the list. Does this mean I am task-oriented? Maybe. But that's a digression.) Anyway, I realized that I needed some way to fit in all the things I need/want to do (i.e personal writing, the blog, reading etc) but to get motivated so I don't just stick to the easy stuff (like "research"). I used to aim to write at least three pages each night before I went to bed. Three pages of anything--it could be a brain dump of all the crap that had happened that day, or something that had been on my mind--a screed, a soapbox--or it could be working out a story or an idea for one. But I'd gotten away from that in recent months, and even though I've been trying my hand at this blog thing, it's not the same. Here, while this is pretty informal, it's still public. And I don't always want to air every little piece of fluff that floats around in my head. But I kind of sacrificed one for the other (I hope you people are happy...heh heh).

So I made the effort to start again last night. And it sucked. I couldn't concentrate, but I kept at it. It was frustratingly more of the same crap I'd been sloughing through over the past few months. A bunch of words on the page, but nothing really to show for it. Ugh. I kind of felt like a failure. An even bigger one than before. But I made myself write again tonight, and it was much better. Really really better. In fact, I think I was able to get a handle on a story. That felt pretty good! And not only because it was a breakthrough--not a ginormous one (huh, "ginormous" made it through spell-check...), mind you, it's not some sea-change/turning point that will have me producing reams of fiction in the next few weeks, but it'll do--but also because it reminded me of the fact that I need to be fiddling around on the page to capture those breakthroughs when they happen. It just sucks that sometimes I (we) have to slog through so much  wordy worthless sludge to get to the good stuff.

Ah, I know. shut up and keep writing. I get it.

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