No Rest For Wicked, Weary Writers

I've done a terrible thing! (Other than using alliteration in my blog title.)

I've once again bucked rest and relaxation to push myself a little harder than necessary. As a result, I've spent much of today banging my head against a wall. I haven't been as productive as I had been throughout the week—a frightening concept in and of itself, as my mind twists this against me and screams: “You're getting blocked!”

Why, on one hand, do I demand that I work seven days a week (this is the sixth day in a row that I've written), and yet on the other hand I know that I cannot keep this pace?

Hit the panic button, right? Bad idea!

I have to step back and take a deep breath. Everything is going to be fine.

Consistency counts, but consistency doesn't necessarily mean writing daily. For the last few weeks I've taken weekends off. On the following Monday I'm refreshed and ready to get back to work. On Mondays I'm super productive, if a little rusty. On Tuesdays I'm super productive and the rust is gone. After Wednesday I begin my weekly creative decline.

This week I was a little more enthusiastic so I decided to work through the weekend. Well, here I am, it's 1:30 on Saturday afternoon and I'm very negative about everything. I cannot see the forest for the trees. Kudos to me for realizing it. Acceptance is the first step.

I believe I can get more done writing every other day than five or six days a week. But do I listen to myself? No, of course not. I get excited and write until my head feels like it'll blow up. Maybe it wouldn't matter if my plans hadn't been dashed, if the writing was still easy for me.

Last Sunday I thought I'd have my second draft finished by Friday. Friday came and went, and despite spending 20+ hours on the draft this week, I still have another week to go before it'll be complete. 

(The second half of the novel is sloppier than the first half, requiring more rewriting, which subsequently slowed my pace. Problem identified, nothing to worry about, calm down!)

This is why I do not like to plan, for life will laugh and throw me under a bus. It's times like these that I fully understand the logic behind the Zen and Taoist mentality of living intuitively. Just flow with it. Right now the flow of life is carrying me away from writing. Perhaps I'll take tomorrow off. Perhaps I'll wake tomorrow and begin writing.

Who knows what I'll do until I've done it?

All I do know is that, sitting here writing this, I'm a bit scared. I've made writing into a big competition. Write as much as I can, for as long as I can, each day, and for as many days in a row as I can handle it. I've created a situation in which now I'm the loser. I'm competing against the past, against days I wrote 10,000 words or edited 10 single-spaced pages.

I'm creating my own stress, my own pressure, my own downfall.

So why don't I knock it off?

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11 Responses to No Rest For Wicked, Weary Writers

  1. Mate dont burn out. I made myself write one day it and good friend said it just was not any good, they where right. Be natural let it flow when it wants to but make sure its fun!

  2. Knock it off right now! There's no need to push yourself. Really. If you don't want to do this or that, don't do it. Do it when and if you want. Just like you said, don't create stress for you.

    Wishing you luck with this.

  3. Thank you both! I'm taking the advice to heart :)

  4. I hear you, there are days when I feel like that but hey, you gotta slow it down, don't loose your head ok? not worth it, take some time to breathe.

  5. Good for you! Push through it and you'll make it! You might lose your mind in the process but, hey, how many of us really are sane? ;-)

  6. Just make sure you come up for air.. and observe the process of how you doing down under!

  7. Friend, it's okay to relax. Our bodies are not designed for overwork. You'll be more productive when your body and mind are rejuvenated. :-)

  8. Writing cannot be rushed, it has to come from within you. Let your thoughts breathe, air them, let them come out in the open at their own pace. Write with pleasure and be happy. I do all these things and love writing.

  9. Nova, u vocied my thoughts, a writer feels d pressure...sometimes I feel wt if tmrw I m blank...cnt write..phew!! DEADLY...I go numb...i truly loved ths write up f urs...n i too calm myself down

    As sulekha said- It cannot be rushed, has to come from within you...

    Just chill and weave a masterpiece n I m waiting!


  10. Thank you all for the comments. I really, REALLY appreciate the feedback on this, and am taking all of it too heart :)

    Mani, that's how I feel...the words just won't come out, like I have to pry them out physically with a crow bar and I know that won't work, lol. Even when I know what to write, and how to write it, the physical act of writing just doesn't happen...weirdest thing.

  11. Hang in there Nova... Don't rush... thatz the beauty of writing sometimes its too easy n there r times u feel like banging your head :P

    u yourself said "Acceptance is the first step."

    So just take a day off, take a chill pill and start afresh


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