That’s the only rule. It doesn’t matter if I am published or not. It doesn’t matter if no one appreciates or even reads a word of it.
I’m a writer if I write.
But I haven’t been doing a lot of that lately. I’ve been getting in my own way and just haven’t had the urge or the inspiration to put words to paper (or its virtual equivalent).
The sad part is that I’m happy when I’m writing and unhappy with a dose of guilty if I don’t. So if it makes me happy, why aren’t I doing it?
Like so many human things, it is a vicious circle. I’m unhappy that I’m not writing so I don’t write because I’m unhappy and I get unhappy that I’m not writing…and so it goes.
Well…I’m going to try and do something about that.
That’s the point of this rambly (and not too whiny) post. This is writing, after all, even if it is just whistling in the dark.
I am desperately trying to prod myself to write. So I’m using a book called The Writer’s Idea Book by Jack Heffron to try and get my creative juices flowing again. The first chapter of the book is called “Making Your Way to Schenectady”. It’s a riff on a quote from Ray Bradbury, who, when asked where his ideas came from, claimed that he got them from the Schenectady Center of Ideas.
That’s what I’m trying to do, find my way to the center of ideas. I want to see if I can not only come up with some good ideas for stories, but some good ideas for life. I want to try and not limit myself to just storytelling–though I definitely want to become a good storyteller. I just feel like I’ve been limiting myself as a writer to the point that I don’t, in fact, write.
I don’t know if any of this makes any sense, but it’s nonetheless true. That’s got to count for something, right?
So, first of all, this is me showing up. That’s the big first step. It sounds easy, but many days it is not. If you’re a writer–or, hell, a human being–never let anyone discount the importance of just showing up.
And I want to show up. I’ve been told my whole life that I was a good writer. That idea, that identity, is built into me now as an approaching-middle-age adult. I remember the passion and encouragement I got once when I was a kid and made a book, a Christmas book, as a matter of fact, about a boy (much like me) that wanted a pocketknife (much like the one I got). I’m a librarian and have surrounded myself with books my entire adult life–all with the dream of being able to find myself in the library. I’ve even placed in a few writing competitions, which made my heart swell with the feeling of pride in my accomplishment and that someone else obviously enjoyed the fruit of my labors. So, yeah, showing up is definitely worth it to me.
But, writing is hard.
It’s lonely and it’s work–and it’s mostly thankless work at that.
But I want to make it happen. I want to strike that balance in life where not only have I made room for writing in my life but writing is simply part of that life. I’ve done it for work and my hobbies. I can do it for this, a integral piece of my heart.
I’m going to commit to get more “butt-in-seat” time writing. Writing anything. So be prepared to see some odd posts from time to time. That’s going to be the price of watching me show up.
I want to recapture that feeling of being immersed in a project. When it’s 7 o’clock when I start and I look up and it’s 10 and I wonder where the hell all the time went. I want to think about my writing when I’m away from the keyboard. I want what I’m writing to seem as real to me as world around me–because I’m that invested in it. That’s where the magic is. That’s the nourishment desperately needed by my writing soul.
There will be obstacles; time and inspiration being at the top of that list.
Time I can beat by making it. I can skip that episode of Star Trek I watch on Netflix when I get home at night. I can write while listening to music in the living room with my sweet one. I can count my RPG adventure logs and campaign planning as writing projects–because they are.
Inspiration–well, that may be a bit tougher. Inspiration, in many ways, is the same as motivation. And that’s hard sometimes. I can make all the time in the world, but if I don’t have that urge to be there, nothing is going to happen. Inspiration is what I’m trying to bolster by following the prompts in Heffron’s book. I can also not let the rejection of my work–either by form letter or by lack of site hits–get to me. I need to be inspired to make myself happy by writing, and not worry about how it is affecting others; which is a bit counterintuitive, as writing is a form of connection between people. Maybe, in the process, I’ll find a way to resolve that paradox.
So, this is me, making my way to Schenectady. I hope you’ll accompany on the journey. It won’t always be easy or fun, but hopefully we’ll both find it worthwhile.
I know exactly what you mean about being unhappy if not writing, and not writing because I’m unhappy. I’ve been there.