Nothing Magical About It

I’m going to pull one of the struggling writer’s favorite procrastination tricks out of my hat today: writing about writing. And maybe a little self-loathing sleight-of-hand, some sawing in half of my writing time, juggling of all the wrong priorities, and the hypnotic allure of social media. My lovely assistant, Pete the Tomcat, will be licking himself disdainfully in the corner.

canstockphoto5631497It’s hard to admit that I’m a little stuck right now with writing. I know this because when I went to writing group today, I was full of insight and unsolicited advice. I get all sage and knowledgeable when my own writing has stalled out. Despite the kind and generous members of the group, I returned home irritated with myself and the sound of my voice. Take your own damned advice, lady.

At the bottom of this crockpot of simmering emotion, is a strong sense that I’m failing myself. I need to start fighting above my weight class. I write safely – cutesy stories that amuse, personal essays that if, by god, I haven’t mastered after 8 years, I may as well give up the ghost. The novels are still mostly unseen by others.

Tomorrow I’m gifting myself a day with no social media. Whatever rage and impatience that is borne of my personal frustration will have to pour itself into characters and story lines. Action will have to lead me out of this wilderness of self-loathing. I regard it as singular progress that I don’t just hit the bottle or eat an entire cheesecake or return to my halcyon days of chainsmoking while thinking deep, but unwritten thoughts.

I have to write myself right. See you on the other side.

canstockphoto17581973 (002)A special thanks to my writing group. Each time we meet, your generosity, humor, and bravery remind me of the many reasons why I write. Thanks so much!

18 Comments on “Nothing Magical About It

  1. Put all that angst into the character who most needs that boot up the backside! and write hot, without thinking about it – words on page that are emotional roller-coasters of pent up [every emotion you can think of] …

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  2. Ah, but the disdainful licking is so satisfying! See, you cleaned a patch, there! Ha! Know the feeling too well.

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  3. Going dark is probably just what you need. I agree about social media. I find I can’t go more than 15 minutes It’s gotten ridiculous. As an artist, I am always seeing images of others art and feeling defeated. Then I wonder, if I never looked at other people art, how original and authentic my own would become? Maybe go to a cafe without your phone- turn your WiFi off in your laptop and just listen. Good luck!

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    • I was on Twitter for a good 15 seconds this morning before my head wanted to explode. I’m really thinking skipping every other day would be good for me and good for my writing. I have Freedom – an internet blocker that I can set for hours at a time. I have all the tools, no excuses except my own compulsive behavior. It’s just the worst. The bottom line is, to be a productive creative, you have to love your art more than distraction and I’m really trying to remember that.

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  4. Ebb and flow, light and dark, we all go through dry spells. Crank out your old worn copy of The Artists Way by the ever faithful Julia Cameron and settle in with her and a nice cup of tea. You’ll go deeper soon- first step is awareness and without the dark spots the light wouldn’t be so lovely. Have a great day w no social media. The s sKy is so much easier to be with. Look Up.

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    • It’s less a dry spell than just me getting in my own way. It was a nice break and I’m considering just having black out periods every other day or half the day every day. Fortunately I was wise enough not to load any of those apps on my phone, so it’s easy to physically remove me from access. Thanks for your perspective!

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  5. Many years ago I read an article in which successful writers were asked what they read when they were feeling blocked to “recharge the creative batteries”. It made such a strong impression on me I can’t remember any of the writers or their suggestions, but it was useful for reminding me that everyone goes through dry spells.
    And sometimes it’s during those dry spells that surprises can happen. Consider James Thurber’s story “File and Forget”, about the time he was having difficulty writing and a delivery of thirty-six copies of Grandma Was A Nudist turned out to be a mixed blessing.

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    • It was a good day yesterday. One of my favorite books right now is Jennifer Bothamley’s Dictionary of Theories. It’s a gold mine for new ideas to think and write about. I don’t really get blocked, but I wish I were more consistently productive. Some days, it’s a page and other days, it’s 10-15. But not being on social media is very useful. It just helps me think more clearly and to stay focused. I’ll have to read “File and Forget” – I don’t think I have before – thanks!

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  6. Pingback: Procrastination | Jason E. Maddux

    • Oh no, Kim – I’m so sorry to hear that. Criminy, in your spot, I’d be absolutely addicted to social media for any hint in the wind that this situation will be resolved soon. I kind of am anyway, even without my living on the line. Yesterday all I could think is “what is going to finally get us taking to the streets?” And now we’re headed into the coldest days in 23 years year. I hope you have a good support system and boy, if there were any time for you to blog, this would be the time.

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  7. Thanks for those sentiments, Michelle. I’m financially fine for the time being, but there are plenty of others who are not. It is galling for a Congressional rep to say that Fed employees can take out a loan to cover their needs. Anyway, #45 caved and we go back to work starting Monday …for the next three weeks until the next bit of drama.

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    • There are so many galling things being said, one can hardly keep up with the stupid and casually indifferent discourse from this administration and its loyal toadies. Glad there is some relief, but it’s all been utterly wasteful and cruel. But I fear if I un-pop that cork, I will rage well into the next week. Have a good weekend and stay warm!

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