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I'm a writer, a freelancer, a crafter, a nail polish mixatrix, a tea drinker, an unconventional life-liver, a journaling junkie, an introvert, a chronic-pain-sufferer, an idealist, a geek, a TV-lover. Welcome to my corner of the web!

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

When life gets in the way of writing

I'm having one of those months. I'm doing what I can, but stress is high, health is wobbly, weather is wonky, and things just don't ever seem to be geling or taking off the way they should. So I thought I'd talk a little about the whole living-as-a-writer thing. First:

It surely is. Well, putting words on paper isn't that hard, but keeping to a plot, making sure things make sense and the book is cohesive, then editing and revising and selling it afterward? That's definitely hard. Probably almost anyone could just write stuff and hide it away and never let anyone else see it, ever, but actually trying to get it out there, in the hands of readers, in places that will pay you enough to make a living off it? That's hard. It's like throwing yourself at a wall, sometimes.

So when the rest of your life gets complicated, or exhausting, or stressful, and something's got to give, it's often writing that gives. We live in a society that seems to like breeding up kids that value jobs everyone hates over creative endeavors we love to do; it especially likes to breed up girls to have this ingrained and hard-to-beat attitude that their own creative work is less important than taking care of every single other thing from someone else, first.

It makes writing harder.

And it means that there's lots of talented writers that never get published, or that show up and then fade out, and I'm just like:

I don't want to be a flash in the pan. One well-published story is better than none, but fifty is better than one. The problem is all the work that goes into actually writing and selling the story to be well-published, and how much stress can affect me and just steal my power-through.

Writing as a career is different than writing for fun. When no one was going to read it, it didn't matter how I wrote, what I wrote, or whether I finished it. Now, it does, and that can get intimidating. I think, to be a writer, you have to have this strange split where you honestly believe that what you have to say is worth saying, but you also have to have a "fuck it" attitude, because once it's out of your hand, you can't control it. And that attitude also applies to even just getting it out of your own hands and into theirs. And it applies to knowing when you've shopped it enough and need to rework it, file it, or publish it yourself.

And maintaining that spit it also hard.

Right now, I'm feeling how hard it is. I know that I need to push though, but the pushing isn't helping and I'm starting to feel like maybe I need to rest. I know that I need to maintain balance and consistency, but I also know that I'm too tired, too stressed and too unstable to keep worrying about something that isn't a very basic need--remembering to eat, and to eat the things I should be eating to fix my health; making sure we can pay the power bill or the water bill, or buy food; making sure I have the strength of body to support the strength of mind I need.

I think it's okay to pull back once in a while. I also feel bad when I do, like I'm cheating my creations. I also feel that forcing something that isn't coming is doing a disservice to my creations, myself, and my ability to even finish the thing. I also think that stuff needs to feed into a brain to get stuff out--stuff like enough sleep, the right food, good books and TV and movies, experiences other than worrying. Because worrying shrinks the world and makes everything else too hard.

So I've decided to cut my daily wordcounts. I usually aim for about 1000 wds / 4 pages a day; for the nonce, while I'm feeling stressed and overwhelmed and scattered, I'm going to aim for 1.5 pages, about 350 words. That should be as close to easy as anything will be when I'm like this. So I can keep going without feeling the pressure of haveing to keep going.

What do you do when you're overwhelmed?


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