I am at a loss for words. I’m trying to dedicate a minimum of two morning hours daily to writing. Before I do much of anything else I will write. Today however with this fledgling commitment, I am struggling to begin the work of writing on The Cowboy Tale. Self doubt is rearing its ugly head. Pointlessness is creeping along the edges of that same head sealing off any chance of fresh thoughts escaping.
Creative writing was easy. I wrote at least 1000 words a day for 5 to 7 days a week from March 29, 2020 to Oct. 24, 2020. I was energized. The very work provided more motivation and kept my thoughts on the story throughout the day while I did mundane things. By evening my mind was spent. I was tired. So I watched a movie, read and went to bed looking forward to writing again the next morning. And sure enough between 4 and 5 in the morning my mind was working on the story or a new idea for a story pooped into my head. Pooped not popped, because sometimes ideas can be pure crap. And much like a toddler being potty trained, my crap can hold my interest for hours. Well at least for a 1000 words or more. If I can’t develop it further it becomes a blog. Lucky you!
Firmly placing my feet on the ground to support my wobbly and reluctant brain and body, I turn on the laptop, brush my teeth, run cold water over my thinning mop of wild hair that would make Einstein proud, and get to my new business of writing.
Those were the gloriously easy days of writing. This is now. Since the end of October when I was confident that I had completed my first novel, sure that it was a doozy, I followed the advice of other authors and publishers and began to read it as a complete story with what I was sure would be the requisite albeit few edits, rewrites, deleted text, ho-hum, etc, etc.
Ouch. Did I write that? Was my grammar that poor? Where was I going with that sentence? When did my protagonist disappear into the realm of irrelevance? With wavering confidence I dug in doing a few rewrites. By January 2021 with renewed confidence I sent the first three chapters of my edited work of art to three trusted, supportive first readers. The readers Georgia Jo, Garrett and The Gin Lady enthusiastically began to read my work. My blog post, “Three It’s Shite” was the result.
From that experience which covered the miles of emotions from total dejection to brief rest stops at self loathing, with overnight stays at self doubt to a chair in front of my Therapist (maintaining proper distance and masked) I moaned to her that “I suck. My writing is crap. I am too old. What is the point? Why did I think I could be a writer? I am not just flawed but irreversibly corrupt!”
My Therapist, who is excellent by the way and has more initials of degrees after her name than I believe exists in the alphabet, simply asked, “Okay. What are you going to do about it?”
You know the jokes made about highly educated weather forecasters being right only 50% of the time? Well I think Therapists fall somewhere in that group as well. Now we might laugh, but that is actually a compliment to them working in an extremely volatile field. The professional weather person can watch and relay the weather patterns, but it is up to the viewer to grab the sunscreen or the umbrella or that heavy coat. My Therapist as she has done for over two years, was simply offering me a heavy coat to ward off my frigid self-talk, and pointing out that I have to make the decision to abort or persevere. The last impression my therapist gifts me every visit is hope.
So after persevering for nearly four months, my first four chapters are complete with characters that are leading this writer forward, often by the nose, screaming and kicking. Unexpectedly, I’ve entered another fun stage of writing. This stage requires more work than the initial creation period and much more of a commitment to a daily disciplined writing routine. Which brings me to the point of this blog. Were you beginning to wonder if I had one?
The last four months have been a struggle. It’s been hard to grow as a writer. I could not get started on the Cowboy Tale this morning, but instead of getting up for a run or to eat or to do anything but sit here looking at a blank screen, I remained at my writing desk. This is a first for me. Usually I opt for a distraction based on wobbly reasons rather than keeping my feet and seat firmly planted. Creating a finished piece of art is hard. I’ve been reluctant to work so hard and thus my book, my podcast and my blog have fallen silent. At heart I am just a toddler with my carry around toilet, aka iPad, curiously almost joyfully examining my creation. And like that toddler amidst so many easy distractions the joy of creating anything keeps me curious and coming back for one more go of it. I guess I wasn’t at a loss for words after all.