Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Not Writing Guilt

I haven't written a word in about a month. Before that, it was sketchy. I was working on revisions, halfheartedly. Mostly I have been letting story problems tumble around in my head and reading more.

My creative juices have been exhausted with a move. In the last two weeks, I have washed every dish, bowl, cookware, silverware and other kitchen gadget and accessories I own. I washed every piece of fabric in the house, from pillows to towels to clothing to jackets I don't even plan to keep. After sanitizing everything I own, I have to find a place for it to live in our new house, which is another challenge. To add to the chaos, I got a new computer on Mother's Day, and have been trying to make that transition. Getting a new computer is like a death to me. I have to lay the previous computer to rest and set up the new one. I hate that process. For months while still working on "Divided Moon," I was working with a computer that would shut down after 20 minutes of work, yet I would insist I was not ready to change computers, not until the work was done.

In spite of all this chaos, I have niggling guilt in the back of my brain for not writing. I have a fount of ideas, and actually recovered a notebook filled with plot, character sketches, a timeline and scenes for a horror novel I was too afraid to write before. I think I am ready now, if only I could get my house and office in order.

It will come, and I remind myself that a writers' downtimes are periods of collecting data. I have definitely been collecting data in the last few weeks. No words on the page, but ideas are bubbling as I examine my WIP, this lost WIP, my goals and other writing related things that don't involve actual writing.

I suppose I write this piece to remind myself, and all writers, that we are working, even when we aren't. Banish the guilt of not putting words on the page every day, as contemplation of story problems and planning other projects is also work. I also remind myself that when life gets in the way, I should pay attention, because it could be fodder for work. We have to live in order to know enough to create.

1 comment:

  1. Good advice! Sorry about the issues taking you away from your writing. I've been struggling with an ongoing "big ugly" task for a few months now, too. This one has been giving me material for the memoir essays I write for fun and for my kids, but at the same time it's taking away from the memoir I'm in the middle of writing to publish. There's plenty of frustration and guilt to go around, that's for sure.

    Today I decided to start reading again. I picked out a memoir in an area that really interests me. In the past, reading has cleared my head and inspired me to get going on my own story. When that happens, it seems I can't make that pen fly fast enough. I love that magical feeling.