Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day 80 of 365: Writer Burnout

I have this blog, my crafts blog, my second and third manuscript, a few desperate stabs for my first manuscript, my essays for Thought Catalog and my newest writing venture.

Some days, I'm amazed at what I can accomplish. I'm submitting stuff to Thought Catalog, writing for my third manuscript, sending out queries for my first, creating entries for my crafts blog, and even editing a piece or two.

Other days, it is brutal murder just to get one of these entries out.

There is an ebb and flow to writing that is not unlike manic-depression. Some days you're going a mile a minute. Some days you're going a mile an hour. And I think the hardest thing is to accept that some days you're Speedy Gonzales, and some days you're the turtle from the Geico commercial.

I feel blessed that I have this time in my life to really devote myself to writing. Aside from teaching tai chi, going on the occasional go-see, and marathon training, I have time to work on my manuscripts, see what I can sell off, and see just how far down that writing path I can get before things like motherhood and actual adult living.

But, because I recognize how valuable this time is, I get so frustrated when I can barely write an entry for the day and nothing much else. I recognize how many writers could kill to not be stuck in a full-time job and I get so annoyed that I can't be punching out 1,000 words a day -- especially when I was able to do that roughly this time last year, but with a full-time job and figuring out my various demo classes.

It takes a moment, but I have to realize that writing is like dealing with a wild gorilla: you only get as much control as the gorilla decides you get. Craig Ferguson makes a similar reference, but in a considerably much cruder manner. And I can do one of two things: get pissed at the fact that I don't have control over a wild gorilla, or find ways around it. Find ways to go with the flow. Find ways to shovel words out when I feel like I'm knee-deep in murky swampland.

I don't know where I'm going with this, aside from the obvious, "Holy shit, writing takes a lot out of you." But I'm in an interesting time in my life. And I need to take full advantage of that. This is something I dreamed about, especially when teaching got to be a bit rough. I just need to recognize that it's okay if I don't write a whole novel a day. Writing isn't exactly like punching numbers in a machine. Some days I'm going to write (or edit) an entire chapter. Some days I'm not. To borrow from yesterday's entry: writing's a practice, not a perfection.

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