On writing || In which I sabotage myself thoroughly…

Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.

  • G.K. Chesterton

Writing is an interesting vocation. It can be joyous, baffling, fun, frustrating, exciting, or depressing at any given moment. In other words, like anything worth doing, it is hard. Some days words seem to flow effortlessly. On others, it feels like your brain has never possessed a single, original idea. This past week, I’ve mostly had the latter.

It’s been a bad week, writing-wise. I’ve been having issues with the final chapters, the big “ah-ha!” moment that everyone has been racing towards since January. It’s technically written, but I’m not happy with it. It doesn’t sit right yet. But what’s worse have been the times when I’ve gone back to reread everything leading up to those chapters in the hopes of figuring out what went wrong. Suddenly, even chapters I was happy with read like a bunch of dull junk. How had I ever thought any of it good? On top of that, my self-imposed deadline for the completed rough draft is next weekend.

In short, yesterday evening my mood was essentially ‘writing sucks and then you die.’

After a couple of hours, I shut the computer and headed to bed, fed up with the entire process. As I went through my bedtime routine, my mind wandered and suddenly I realized what the issue has been – I’m an idiot.

This past week, writing has consumed my every thought. I haven’t been eating well. Chores have been neglected. The Cowardly Golden and I haven’t been going on as frequent of walks. I’ve been getting to bed later. I’ve stopped reading or doing other hobbies. Even while praying, my thoughts have been meditating on this scene or that, not talking with God. In short, my priorities have become completely skewed.

Why, may you ask? Well, I need to finish this book so that it can be published and then lauded and then I can become a world-famous author and… like I said, I’m an idiot. It’s fine in wanting your work to be liked, but this is something else entirely. This is ego, plain and simple. The moment that become your focus, no matter what you do, you’re going to drown in your own arrogance. This past week can attest to that. Narcissism took over, and as I started writing for the wrong reasons, it went from being hard to being downright impossible.

So today, the dog will be walked. The house will be cleaned. Some neglected knitting will be picked up. Grocery shopping will happen. And then, I will sit down and focus on the book.

I’m not saying once everything is straightened out, my writing will miraculously become fantastic. (I wish.) No, it’ll still be hard. I will still have a lot to learn and the rough draft will still need an immense amount of work. But when it comes to sabotaging yourself, I’ve been doing a fine job of it. Writing is hard. Doing it for the wrong reasons, taking yourself too seriously, only makes it harder.

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