That it'll go away. What is it, you ask? I'm not even sure we know.
I read an article the other day about how destructive the advice "writer's write" is to an author's psyche. Authors, we go through doldrums as well as storms. Some days we can write for an hour or hours. Some days we can't focus to save our chocolate. It's a herky-jerky progress that is likely to give anyone whiplash, and heaven knows it hits the veterans as well as it hits those just starting out.
We think of all we have to do--and writing is on that list of priorities, and yet it's ours. So like so many other things we push it off. Really what kind of person doesn't make dishes a priority? What kind of person doesn't sweep under the bed? Have you seen the size of those freakin' dustbunnies? They could eat me! What kind of daughter/son/wife/husband/father/mother/friend/human being would I be if I don't do that first? They deserve priority. Hah! That's the hardest part. They really do deserve priority. So you push it off. You can write when you're more inspired. You can write when it's more quiet. You can write some other time, but right now you have to finish this book! It's good for you. You need to review it. You want to be a part of the indie community, don't you? Of course.
Slowly, you give yourself over to life like sand being ripped back by the waves. Until one day it hits you--you haven't written! How long has it been? A day? Three? A week? A month? The panic sets in. Your dreams are rushing in front of you. You have no real urge to write, at least not to your story. Oh, God, what if it was just a fluke? What if you've lost it? You know you used to be a writer, but you're not one anymore. You don't feel it. That flicker of inspiration. You don't know anything about what you're supposed to be working on--you're drawing a blank.
Where is the talent? Where is that breath of life that made you want to write? That made you hunker down in front of a screen for more than five minutes and left you with the feeling you actually accomplished something.
Sound familiar? That's me five minutes ago. That's me now.
Wherever you go as a writer, whatever you do, you will find yourself here, eventually. If you're like me, you'll do it in multiples. Like, three-four times a month, sometimes.
I know in my head, that this is a part of the writing process. I know this is something I have to go through to get to the next stage of the story my mind is working on. But in my heart? My heart remembers all of those under the bed books that never got completed. It remembers that book you read about midlist authors who worked all of that time to get where they were and then just quit. It remembers all of those people that believed in you and all of those people that didn't and that vast and deep insecurity that the believers were just being nice and those non-believers didn't touch the half of how awful you were. They had such a great point.
You can go through this so often, it becomes a second skin, and you find yourself trying to bargain yourself out of it. I'll write twenty minutes a day. I'll breathe in outside air for ten minutes, read thirty pages, listen to an hour of music and write for twenty minutes and I'll just do the every day...forever. Snort! Doesn't last long, that schedule.
How about the old make a list? Take a list and write out all of your priorities. Put the most important things at the top. So, now that I have every aspect of my life fighting it out for the top three spots...I feel so much more relaxed and organized. :)
Sit in the quiet and do nothing. This one's good. But you have to fight it out with your conscience and make it realized that you can cure doing nothing, by doing nothing. It's easier to convince congress to push at the debt ceiling before shutting down the government.
So what do you do? You deal with the crazy, the worry, the fear, quiet panics that you aren't who you always thought you were.
And then, three to five days later, you deliver a healthy and pink cheeked five hundred, a thousand, three thousand words. The relief that rushes through you is euphoric. Your emotions run through you as the earth of your parched soul is quenched in the sweet, sweet life of words! You're going to live! And now you know! You know, you really are who you are! You really haven't wasted your time and the time of others! It is worth it! You'll never truly doubt yourself again... Hah!
It's a cycle on repeat. You're going to do it again. And more times after that.
Speaking as a girl with two stories on pause, and a boatload of guilt over what I should be doing, I can tell you it's miserable.
Speaking as a girl who went through it--what? Last week?--it's survivable.
Speaking as an author--this shit has got to go. I think it's time for a writing vacation. :)
Have a lovely day, my party people! Write responsibly, read voraciously, and hunker down and wait for the storm. <3 Let's hope it's a good one! :)