Writer Gets Lost in Thought, Fails to Write His Way Out…

5 03 2014

I can’t claim writer’s block, not really. I can claim lack of discipline, a sclerotic decay of my drive to produce fiction, but it isn’t a block.

So I got a good job after a very long spell of bad ones. It is a job that fits within my educational background, and one that I greatly enjoy. Good pay, good benefits- all that. Now it is one year on and I haven’t written more than a paragraph in a sitting since I got here. Could it be that I am one of those wanna-be romantics that need suffering to produce? I am really happy these days. Do I so lack in discipline that without 20 hours of writing time available each day I can’t produce a poem? I do often get home just in time to cook dinner, take a bath, do paperwork and go to bed. Is my dachshund too demanding? Well, yes he is, but he always has been.

For the longest time I told myself that as long as I was reading I wasn’t decaying as a writer- I have devoured over 1 million words since the beginning of the year (really closer to 2 million at this point), and that is done in every nook and cranny of free time I can muster. But it isn’t the same. It has been a year since I finished a story and I am in an existential crisis!

Now, usually at this point I would send a long rambling complaint and plea to Maggie Slater (+1) begging for advice, but she has her own things going on so I will ask the two of you for input. -What type of scheduling, rituals, or other tools of implementation to you employ to write, write regularly and write to “The End”?

So open call to tell me what I’m doing wrong.

Cheers

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3 responses

6 03 2014
Peter Ball (@Petermball)

I hate this fact the fire of a thousand suns, but when I started working for a job I loved after a few years of unemplolyment, I became the kind of person who needed to write in the morning.

Mostly, though, you’re probably not doing anything wrong. When you’re working no job (or a bad job), writing is frequently the thing you cling to as the life preserver that will get you out of the situation eventually. Once you’re out, that pressure and need just…goes away. It takes time to figure out where writing fits into your new life and why you’re doing it.

6 03 2014
silverstairs

I hate you for voicing what’s been hiding under my bed and in the back of my head. I don’t like to think that I was engaged in a type of “writing for therapy” so I won’t. The last time I went through a long zero production period the poet Jeff Skinner told me to throw away my computer and try writing on paper for awhile. It worked. I think you are correct in advising that I try life as a morning writer for several reasons- no distractions, built in deadline, the dogs are still asleep, my friends are still asleep. Well, either that works or I’m just cooked. I’m going to try this. I’ll get back to you.

7 04 2014
maggiedot

I’ll bet you work through your lunch break, don’t you? 😄 That used to be my best time, even just a half-hour hiding in the car so my co-workers wouldn’t find and chat with me. Otherwise, when I worked a really early shift, I’d get home, have dinner, and try to write 500 words. When time got even tighter, I’d set a goal for just 10 minutes. I still do that, sometimes, especially on crappy preggo days when I just can’t muster much of anything.

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