But my good buddy S.E. Dee put a blog post up this week, about how hard it is to keep going when your grip slips and suddenly the rock that is your story is rolling all the way back down the hill you've been sweating so hard to climb.
When you’ve slipped up so bad, like so bad that whole chapters are getting demolished, characters obliterated and whole landscapes changed, moving forward is scary.And boy ain't that the truth! Here I think is the real beast of this whole writing gig: when you're in the trenches, your only objective metric for progress is your word count - and so often that goes right out the window. Because you're ripping the stitches out of everything you wrote yesterday and the day before, or because you have to stop and do research, or because you're making yourself nuts trying to map out the exact distance from the Empire of Exposition to the Kingdom of Kickass and figuring out all the names of the twenty-seven elite Masters of Midge-Slapping. It is really hard to feel like a Real Writer when everything you've worked so hard on is slipping through your fingers like so much shitty, ungrateful sand.
So here's a list that I keep to look back at whenever I get frustrated or feel like I'm writing garbage:
- DnD sessions
- video games
- leisure reading
- regular blogging (including this year's A to Z challenge)
- friend emails
- social media in general
- cake decorating
- critique group meetings
That up there is what I've stopped doing in order to make time to write. Some of those things are on temporary hiatus (I NEED to catch up on my emails and my to-read pile, let me tell you), while others I gave up years ago.
"Wow, Tex," you may say, "that makes you look like a really miserable, boring, un-fun person. That doesn't sound healthy at all."
"Sure," I'd tell you, "but you don't see what's not on there. Going out to eat with my friends and making wedding invitations with my sister and having epic slap-fights with my cat while blasting 'The Bridge of Khazad-Dum' in the background. The essentials are still getting done."
So here's my point. You might spend hours doing homework without adding a word to your manuscript. You might flush your whole manuscript and start over again. You might stare at your keyboard until beads of blood appear on your forehead, praying for a good idea or a swift death. But no matter what you do for your writing, you are by definition giving up something else to do it. The words you write today might be gone tomorrow - but the hour of TV you didn't watch will stay unwatched. You spent your time on writing instead, literally bought and paid for your work with an hour or or three hours or ten hours or whatever... and as the Beanie Baby craze proved to us lo these many years ago, anything somebody is willing to pay for has value. Even if you don't always love it.
And that's it. That is my deep thought for the month; I hope you enjoyed it. So what's on your list?