Dear Writing Gods:
If you have a moment, I’d like to speak with you. I don’t have much time myself today, so I’ll try to keep things brief.
I wish you would let me know when a writing slump is coming. There’s a popular myth that a real writer can slog their way through less productive times. Well, we can, all of us, at the very least practice typing exercises.
But you know that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about when our psychology begins to dink around with our work ethic, and we are unproductive. Or when our internal editor begins to criticize our work before we get too far in it. Or when we’ve been working on a project for so long, we aren’t really sure of its current worth.
Any one of these is bad. The next time you decide to do all three things to me, just drop me an itemized list.
I am beginning to come out of it, no thanks to you. I am at least grateful that I didn’t have to sacrifice any livestock. However, here are some things that have actually helped me.
1. Scheduled time to write. — School is back in session. For me, that means scheduled creative time during the day, my peak creative time, at least one day a week.
2. Switching around to a couple of different projects at a time.
3. Talking to other writers about what they’re doing.
4. Having some people read my chapters and giving me reader feedback.
5. Reading some published books that lack stylistically. (Oh, I can do that.)
6. Reading some published books that inspire quality writing. (I can do that!)
7. Not finding the exact thing I want to read, and realizing I can at least write the exact thing I want to read.
8. Revisiting the artistic materials (books, movies, music) that mused me on these projects in the first place.
I am back to the idea that I write for me because I want to see what I have to say down so I can read it. I am back to believing in the uniqueness and quality of my work, as well as not working in isolation. I am back to being part of a community of people who do this thing, not in competition with anyone. I appreciate that others are interested in what I’m doing.
But, writing gods, if we’re going to do this every year, just drop me a line, and remind me, okay? In the middle of this, I forget we do this tango, and I sort of lose track of my worth. Worst of all, I pretend I’m not doing it, until I realize I am, so it takes me a while to take steps.
Ooookay. So, let’s get back on this mechanical bull. I know you have other writers you need to be harassing. See you next year, but don’t hurry back on my account.