Friday, February 13, 2015

Stalling, Inactivity

This post is excerpted from a free write session I did because I wanted to make myself write something, damn it.

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Why don't I want to write creatively on any of my "stuff" anymore?

Maybe it's my fear of commitment -- like once the words are there, I can't take them back. Maybe it's a matter of feeling lost in the story, spiraling off in the wrong direction and getting mired in the subplots...and then having to backtrack through all that crap and fix everything. Ugh. I know what it's like to go through 5+ edits of a WIP and know that that's only the beginning. Maybe I just don't have the stamina for that. Or I do -- I know I do, since I've done it before -- but I just do not want to undertake a project like that right now.

Or maybe it's the fear of it being judged even if it were to become successful. I doubt that, but it's a thought. Maybe this stalling and difficulty getting out new material is because it is hard to invest time and energy that I don't have. That seems closer. What it probably is is just simple lack of time -- or perception of a lack of time. I'm frozen by the thought of doing anything not strictly "necessary."

At some point, I will have to buckle down and "just do it," but knowing that technically I don't have to do it -- can put it off, because honestly, there are more important things that need my attention -- brings mixed feelings of frustration, guilt, and shadowy relief.

When I was in undergrad, I did my best, most productive work on my creative writing projects when I was under a deadline for something else. It was a procrastination technique. I subliminally took the pressure to get the one deadline done and used it to motivate myself to do something I didn't technically have to do (ironically, procrastinating on the first thing in the process). 

Later, it became an incentive: I wouldn't let myself work on something "necessary" until I wrote some fiction. Now, though, that method doesn't seem to be working. Maybe I've reached the point in graduate school -- finally studying what I want to study -- that I'm both overwhelmed by my work load and caring about that work load more than I have before. Similarly, I no longer need an outside incentive to do my homework, because I already really want to. Maybe since I am busier, I just need more time to decompress instead of write. Also, lately I have been involved in two productions and am in a very draining rehearsal process (*edit: or was at the time I wrote this free write*). 

I wish I could lay these productivity problems to just that, but they have been going on for a while now. 

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I scribbled this little piece in my notebook before work one day, trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with my "brain to hand to page" mechanism. It may sound like I'm making a list of excuses. I'm not trying to excuse it; I'm trying to find a reason for it so that I can properly address whatever the problem is. 

Sure, I could apply a solution or "just write," but I know from experience that that does not work. The solution may not fit the problem I am having if I don't know what that problem is. Also, whenever I try to "just write" when I'm like this, I have all the same stagnation problems -- but this time, they register in my writing, which means I just wrote ten pages of utterly worthless crap that means more work for me later. Which means more frustration and feeling like "what is the point?" which just contributes to this overall stagnation.

So here's a blog post instead. 

4 comments:

  1. I've been going through something similar over the last few months. Not exactly the same, and probably not for the same reasons, but I too have felt the writing vehicle has gotten stuck in a few mud holes lately. I have found that certain types of writing are going better than other types for me, though. Writing a play, for example, has been smoother than working on my second novel has been.

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    1. The genre thing rings true. For me, writing "low risk" stuff -- non-fiction, typically reviews, sometimes blogposts (though those are personal which puts them higher on the "risk" scale) -- goes more easily. However, it's also more boring for me, so even though I write them easily when I sit down to do it, I don't write many of them or as many as I should.

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  2. I was literally about to do a similar blog post about this. I've just been feeling such apathy towards writing recently. Even reading isn't doing anything for me right now. I wish I could explain it, so I could do something about fixing it. But I can't seem to put my finger on anything!

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    1. Yeah, it's hard to motivate yourself if you don't know what's troubling you. I guess the only solution is to just try something...which I've done, with moderate success. I am going to try the "change of scenery" trick today and go to a local coffee shop. I shouldn't spend the money, but the library is closed due to snow, so...

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