A Writing Life – Trying to Get Back on the Horse
This is a strange post, because I am currently facing a bit of a dilemma. Since getting the news of my publishing contract – possibly one of the most significant moments of my life – I am now challenged by the fact that I can’t seem to settle to a new project. I have a number of ideas and a number of directions for my writing, and although I feel that all of them would be good to write, I can’t make myself commit to the project. I am therefore faced with a strange kind of writer’s block, not because I don’t have anything to write, but because I have so much to write!
At the moment, it seems that my imagination is running wild, and all the books I could ever have written are wanting to emerge, now, this moment, from my brain. Even my fingers, superfast as they are, can’t manage the kind of output my brain would like to have. And so I find myself procrastinating instead, rather than settling down to good old fashioned work. I know it’s harder for those of us with day jobs and families and a life, but putting that aside, I still find it hard to focus. It’s as if I have lost my forward momentum with the release of the burning, lifelong desire to be published. Paradoxically, I also feel more liberated and more able to write, because I feel justified, now that I am no longer just scribbling away for myself, now that I am a legitimate writer. On the news this week, I saw that Iain Banks has died. This is tragic. What amazed me was how prolific a writer he was. I envy his dedication and his productivity. And then I wonder what I would have achieved if I hadn’t been writing copy for money for the last ten years. Might I also have been so prolific? Certainly the volume of words written is enough for several books. I wonder how many other writers are faced with this dilemma. It’s easier and easier these days to make a living writing copy for others, but how much does it detract from ‘real’ writing?
So I face my inner demons yet again and attempt to get myself focused. I have ordered more cartridges for my special ink pen. I have ordered more yellow pads to write on. I have an idea, and I am going to work on it as much as I can. I am determined to set aside time to write every day, and instead of reading during my lunch break, will write instead. Similarly, I will make sure that I pay attention to this story every day, nurturing it, building and feeding and growing it, and hopefully I can find the focus to actually finish something again. Writing is work. I know all about the need for discipline, focus, effort. I just hope I can focus on one thing at a time. Or maybe two. Three even, perhaps just to keep things fresh. But no more than that. That’s enough.
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