I have discovered something horrifying about my creative well. If I am not actively writing something fictional, I struggle with writing in all forms. Now, first let me back up by saying that my novel, the one that I’ve been querying, has called dibs on all of my writing TIME (which is different than writing energy, but that’s for another post). This tyrant-of-a-novel will not let me work on another project. That being said however, as of early this year I voluntarily took a break from it and all writing projects other than blog posts because I felt in need of a breather and refreshed outlook on life, and the writing within.
That’s when I figured I could play catch-up in other writing venues. Continue to build relationships in blogosphere, learn more about networking/social media, find some good writing sites for advice, read a good book on writing, give my muse some well-deserved rest.
But, I ran into a problem. I’m not into writing about writing when I’m not writing a story. I mean, I rarely post detailed specifics about my WIP because I don’t like to show my hand that much. However, I love to jib-jab about the process and analyze from different angles. Without a project at hand, though, I feel like an imposter, haha. Which, to all of my lovely, dedicated followers, I’m sure that’s not how you see it—but that’s how it feels to me. Like, can you be a farmer even if you don’t have a crop in the ground? Eep, maybe that’s too philosophical and straying off point…
I guess the issue is more that I have no oomph to write anything at all—not even a blog post. Even the comments I have been making on fellow bloggers’ posts are lukewarm. I’ve even struggled over writing this one, to be perfectly honest.
At first I told myself it is because I’m burned out from all sides. The school year is still going strong. Spring sports have begun, so we have had to double-up on after-school activities a few times a week. Allergies, the godforsaken seasonal allergies, have flattened us at home. I think even the dog is suffering from the pollen. It doesn’t help that we have had no rain this month. Whatever happened to ‘April showers’? I am running two creative writing programs at two different schools (freelance job), editing a novel (another freelance job), fighting with health insurance companies over some medical billing (the other freelance job). Then I have recess duty/substitute teaching which I kinda-sorta fell into without realizing what I’m doing and although I like it, it’s just yet another responsibility (okay, yes, it has turned into a freelance job).
Then I told myself—you’re no different than any other working mother on this planet. Get a grip. Figure things out. You can do this. Make a list. Make four! Devise a schedule. Stick to it. Drink more coffee. Give the kids more chores. Try not to hover over them while they’re dusting, or scrubbing the toilet, or cleaning up dog poops. Use your crock-pot more often. Don’t cook. Plan ahead. Be prepared to detour from that plan. Tear up those lists and make seven new ones. Ditch the coffee and grab an IPA. So what if my kids can’t really clean the windows, at least it’s kind of getting done.
Then I remembered that I have always been this busy. And that the only difference is that, in the past, I have been actively writing a story. Whether it be my novel that I query, revise, query, revise, query, revise…I have also been entrenched in short stories, NaNoWriMo, the sequel to my novel, etc. In other words, when things in my real life are too hectic, I have always been able to escape into a nether world. That’s where I let loose. That is where I can let my guard down and deal with somebody else’s problems for a while.
I really wonder if because I haven’t been working/playing with my own cast of characters and my own imaginary world if I have let my muse wither away. If perhaps writing isn’t just my passion that keeps me riveted, but it also imbues me with a sense of calm and control. When I’m putting my imagination to work, I am a much happier, relaxed, fulfilled person all around.
So, I guess I just want to say to everyone out there if it seemed like 4am wasn’t really with it the past few months, this might be the reason why. Maybe, if I can get some things under better control I can start writing again. Real writing, at least, what I call real writing. Where you get to make things up.