Thursday, May 21, 2009

Work in Progress: On NOT Writing...a Pep Talk

Due to other obligations (not the fun kind), I haven’t been able to do any of my own writing for quite a few weeks now, and I’m going crazy. I don’t mind a writing break on my own terms—vacation, holidays, just needing a break—but to want to write and not have the time and/or energy after doing my other work is difficult. I assume I’m not the only one who finds myself in this position, so I thought I’d try to come up with a little pep talk to make myself feel a little better.

What are the advantages to this situation?

--I’m ticking things off a to-do list, accomplishing things in a defined way. When I’m writing, I may have a to-do list (i.e. “finish novel”), but often I’m just writing and trying to move forward without putting undo deadline pressure on, say, when to finish a chapter. Plus, in my heart, I know that at the moment no one is exactly waiting for my chapter; there’s no real deadline. But now, with these other things I’m doing, there is a real deadline. Someone is waiting for the results, and I will suffer (okay, “suffer”) if I don’t finish. So when I cross something off my list, I feel a sense of measured accomplishment. My list shrinks.

--My subconscious is working for me. I don’t believe that I’m ever truly too far away from my novel or other creative projects, so I trust that my subconscious is working on things while my conscious mind is focused on more mundane matters. So, when I am back to writing and I come up with a brilliant (okay, “brilliant”) new idea, I’ll thank my subconscious for always staying on the job, even during tough,uninteresting times.

--I’m doing things that will earn money. Enough said on that!

--I believe that every experience goes into the writing. My feelings of frustration can go into my characters when they’re frustrated. My sense of time running askew can be better portrayed in my story because that’s how I’m feeling. The scary dreams about not having any clothes in my closet…yep—right into the book.

--Deadlines make me work efficiently. What’s the saying, give a task to a busy person because she will get it done? True. I’ve done things in one day that might have taken me three—except for the simple fact that I only had one day so I had to find a way to make it work. Evidence A: this blog entry. When I woke up this morning, I didn’t even have half an idea in my head about what I would write.

--Gratitude for my normal life. I will so, so, SO appreciate my time to write when I get back to it! I promise never, never, NEVER to waste time again!


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.