I’m coming out of another fog. And I don’t mean that swirling white clouds are lifting here in San Francisco — it’s quite sunny here at the moment. It’s been another two weeks of sickness and sleep deprivation in my house, which does horrible, terrible things to the writing routine. (If it can be said that I still have one, after the very unhealthy winter we’ve had.)
When I am unable to write, whether physically or mentally, or just because there are too many other life obligations in the way, I become incredibly frustrated. Perversely, lack of quality writing time makes me expect more from the time I do have, and from the project I’m working on. Which generally results in…you guessed it, nada. Duh. Who can write under those kind of circumstances?
I know I’m not alone. Christine over at 80,000 words posted today that she was frustrated at not having time to work on her novel, but then managed to write in her journal instead, thus fulfilling her need to write in some way. What a great reminder it was to read that! I put so much pressure on myself in the writing time I do have (Must. Accomplish. Something. is pretty much what it sounds like in my head.) that often I end up accomplishing nothing at all, being paralyzed by indecision about WIPs, or just generally ratcheting up my aggravation and anxiety around writing. Not good.
In the comments on my last post, Richard, author of the thoughtful blog Narrative, wrote that “being stuck is part of writing” and that “much suffering comes not from the problem but wishing you didn’t have the problem.” To accept the anxiety about writing/not writing is to help yourself move past it. Good advice. It’s not easy to accept your inner turmoil surrounding the way your writing is going (or not going, as the case may be) but it is effective if you can come to terms with it.
And so, I’m giving myself permission to work on something else while I have a moment. Sometimes it’s important to acknowledge that you like to write, and just write. Sometimes writing a longer manuscript is less about the writing than about thinking about the writing, or about time passing while your brain processes what you have so far. Sometimes being sick makes you lose your place, your focus, and your routine, and you have to claw your way back to productivity however you can.