People, I think I’m in a writing slump. I wouldn’t say I am suffering from writer’s block because I am still writing. I say slump because I sit down to write and nothing satisfying happens. I expect some goals to be accomplished but story idea productivity has become stagnant and frustration has followed.
I know I’ve been too hard on myself. With extra time to write I expected more work and have been creating less. My goals are too ambitious. With the extra time I expected a story to bloom on a page the moment I started writing regularly again and take shape, after editing, into a beautiful completed piece of writing. It hasn’t happen that way. The stories seem to stall soon after I’ve started. I’ve been trying to outline some work but struggle. To make good use of my time and not feel like an unproductive moocher, recently I’ve been editing an old piece from college. I’m not crazy about it. I have voices in my head that tell me, something doesn’t sit right, this piece will define my writing style, and this is not the kind of work I want to be defined by.
Okay Brain, shhhhh.
It’s time to just write. Even if it’s an edit, I’m writing. Just finish the story. Finish any story! Nothing saying this narrative will ever be publish but I must keep working. Not every morsel of fiction is meant for publishing. I do believe writing more will awaken my sleepy imagination. Got to stop this head of mind from mucking up my creative process. I must focus on a small task I can accomplish and use that positive energy to push through these anxieties. I know it’s not easy. Making mistakes is a part of the writing process but giving up is the worst failure of all.
Writing slump, come at me, because I’m pushing through.
I dream up scenarios. I can’t help it! I like to live in my head and image a likely, positive (sometimes negative) direction with small life events. I guess I’m an optimism but this is why I see myself as a storyteller. I just need to fine a way to take these thoughts and put them down on paper where they can be a short story or pieces of fiction. That is the hard part.
I’ve written a few words here and there and nothing seems to come to completion. I write 500 words and the next day I realize I don’t know where I’m going with the piece but I write maybe another 200 and stop. The struggle is real and completely my fault. I don’t know if I should keep writing and see if an idea will present itself or if I should try to outline a story for more direction. Could work for the better except what is that story line. I guess until I figure it out I’ll keep tip tapping away. Who knows, a scenario can pop up and turn into something. The thing I hope to learn is, how to find a story? I keep trying, struggling, and failing.
I keep pushing myself to write everyday. I mean I know this is what other authors did but when did they realize a piece was something to work on and edit. Just have to keep writing and hope to have those answers in the future. Hopefully, sooner better than later.
Yesterday, I cleaned my desk. This was very important because it was my writing desk. I dug out all the papers and notebooks I had stuffed into every shelf and draw. It was rewarding throwing away things I don’t remember why I was keeping but a small stack of papers has found a place on the far corner of my desk. Now I have the task of what to do with all the little scribbles on tiny pieces of papers. What I thought, at the time of writing, were scraps of genus. Should I read through and transcribe them onto a computer in an archive file or should I throw them all out without ever looking? True, I don’t think I could just toss these papers without a peak. They were the sneaked writing I accomplished while at work or the quick scribble on the train. The words meant so much at the time that I had to get it down somewhere, anywhere, no matter the consequence.
The notebooks are another story. More then one story. Stories I started but never finished. One has long scenes written out. A notebook full of writing advice I found over the years and recorded to encourage, give guidance, and inspire me to write. Notebooks full of more random scratches. Pages of one line.
I have always struggled with throwing things I no longer need away. But I’ve been trashing, donating, and organizing more often. Maybe it’s the small space and the overwhelming feeling of too much. Stress, work, and planning. Even the simple pleasure of reading has become immense.
Even with what’s left of the few notebooks and scattered papers I know I already fill better about my space. I remember where I rather spend my energy. Writing.
A man was using a store stool to reach the top shelf of the magazine section.
Me: “Excuse me sir, but you can not use the stool.”
Customer: *Stays on stool looking at magazines* “Why?”
Me: “It’s a safety issue. You could hurt yourself”
Customer: *Still on stool.* “Well, I can’t reach the top shelf of the magazines. I don’t understand how am I to reach them.” *Starts getting really huffy*
Me: “I can get any magazine you need but you can’t be on the stool. It does say on the stool for store use only. *I point to the sign on the stool* You will need to get down.”
Customer: *Still on stool.* “You know what this is discrimination! You’re discriminating against me because I’m short!”
Customer, realizing I’m not going away, steps off the stool and he is taller than me. He was only a few inches taller than me but it was noticeable. This is also where he won’t directly look at me any longer. It took everything I had not to say to this man, “Oh, you’re taller than me!” At least he got off the stool so I tell him he can speak to a manager if he is still upset but he says no he doesn’t want a manager. I had to get away from him. He left soon after that buying the tall people magazines.
I don’t know how much longer I can work in retail.
I’ve lost my writing schedule rhythm but I’m fighting to get it back. My changing work schedule and life are keeping me from pen and paper. I know I need to write more often in order to improve but I can’t seem to find the time or energy to motivate myself. When I do write, my new enemy is hesitation. Even now as I write this I am having trouble finding the thoughts I want to record and share. There is a struggle to not delete but I do because all of it doesn’t seem to sound right. Of course, I expect to struggle and fight to find time and subjects to write about. My brain is a dried ball on a pen. The pen is not empty. Oh, no. All I need is rapid scribbling to help the ink seep out once again. Until then I will often cringe and pause knowing this feeling will pass the more often I write. No matter the mental brawl, I will just write.
I’m back! Didn’t think it was long enough where a reader would believe I abandoned this blog but could understand if you started second guessing my presence here. I was not posting for a bit because I was on vacation traveling. I’ve grown into an untrusting New Yorker and didn’t want to become a silly statistic. For very safe reasons I never posted my far far away-ness on this blog since this is open to anyone and anyone can be mean stealing jerk. I keep a travel journal and though I always fall a day or two behind it’s not because I don’t write everyday. I am the best writer while traveling because I can find scraps of time anywhere on the move to write. I do have some writing material since I’m the most diligent writer away and I hope to use that fire in the future.
Now here is where I beg for patience from you, my reader (if you’re still with me). I have a post I’m working on about a place I visited along my travels but it may take some time to write. Here is my sob story. On the last day of my vacation I hurt my ankle. I don’t know if it’s a sprain. I iced and rested it. It has been five days since the painful klutz move of missing a step and I can walk on it with very little discomfort so I must have lucked out.
The second fun thing to happen back from my trip is I woke up Thursday morning to water dripping from my study’s ceiling. Good news no computers were harmed in the disaster above and the leak (which ended up being little but chaotic) is fixed but computers are disconnected and the apartment is a disaster. Thank invention for laptops. I am sitting in the least crazy room (the bedroom that is stacked high with boardgames, monitors, and desk parts) typing this little blog post. I’m trying not to think about the holes in the next room’s ceiling and the contractors that will need to be contacted so everything can feel less anxious again. I can look on the bright side and say at least I’m writing.
Also, I’m upset because I’m behind on the one classic a month challenge. I have no excuse other than when I travel I write more and read less. I plan on starting my May classic in a few days (still between books) and gracing my reader on my amazing half-ass review. I hope you can forgive the delay. (Is this where I hash-tag my emotions.)
Now, I will enjoy a glass of wine, say good night, and sweet dreams.
I believe my new job is eating up my writing time. I am still writing but now I don’t have every waking moment to write. Procrastination and not scheduling my time properly has decreased my word output. It is the same struggle for many authors. They were able to write and publish novels with full time jobs. I guess the problem is I didn’t think it would take me so long to find my schedule. It could be my weekly changing schedule but I have to learn not to set a specific time. I don’t want my blog to suffer. I still believe I can post one article a week so don’t go anywhere. So far, I’ve only missed a week post here and there. All I know, it’s time to learn to take any free time available and write. I just hope my imagination learns to kick in when my fingers hit the keyboard or pen hits paper. Sorry muse but you either show up or I’ll be working alone.
How do you write with a changing work schedule? Do you still find same time everyday works best for you?
I had a dream I was writing a paragraph about fire, ash, and ice but when I woke it faded away. If I had a notebook and pen next to me would I have written it down before I drifted back to sleep. I would probably write in the dark but I don’t think I could read it the next day. Turning on the light could mean not going back to sleep. Staying awake until early morning. dragging my feet until the sun sets and having an unexplained surge of energy. I always argue with the muse. It strikes at the wrong times. I’ve been trying to train it to come when I’m ready. When I have pen/paper or keyboard/screen. Yet, the muse still likes to punish me with inspiration.
I missed the exact words in my dreams but I’ll be playing with those images in my next writing section. I could find that spark that is hidden in my subconscious. Here is to hard work.
Has anyone done research for a story and it killed the idea? I have had that recently happened. All I had was an opening scene that was swimming around in my head and I wrote it down but as I finished that scene I thought, “This could be bigger. This could be a novel.” So, I started to research some passed legends and myths to help build the world. It was really helpful when it came to building the character’s personally and look but it destroyed my plot.
I started to outline the first idea with my new found research and my story fell apart. I discovered my idea was weak and I had to scrap my original idea. I’ve since put the story down. I think I have to step away from the narrative so I can distance myself from my old plan. Problem, I can’t help but drift back to the past concept. It’s frustrating.
I’ve been trying way to move on and one solution is to write my first opening scene as a short story. I’m hoping if I give this brainchild a voice I can move on from the first idea and still weave a story from the research.
Have you had this happen? How do you move past broken ideas that seem to be causing trouble with your writing?