I read somewhere (or many somewhere) that if you find yourself continuously unable to write, you might want look at more than your external circumstances. You might want to take a hard look at yourself.
Ever since I moved back to the US, I haven’t been able to write. For a couple months that was probably valid. There was a lot going on and little peace or space to be found. But as time marches on and I’m still not writing, I start to wonder if I shouldn’t be complaining about my externals and looking a bit more at what’s going on in my own head.
This morning I finally get out of bed and now I’ve got this moment of quiet. It’s perfect. I decide that this is the day I open up my novel and jump back into it. So, I open it. It’s an older copy. I search for the last update of it and can’t find it in my cloud account or email. Right. It’s on the hard drive of the other computer which would mean having to turn on that computer, waiting for it to boot, and jeez… that’s just too much fuss, right?
I mean, by the time I get all that done the baby will surely be awake and what’s the point?
That’s the entire problem with my approach to writing these days.
I can no longer say, “I don’t have space. I don’t have time. I don’t have the ultra perfectly magical setup.”
Because BS. BS. BS.
I do have space and every now and then I get the time. And who the hell, save those kissed by the writing gods, has the perfect setup?
Those are my issues manifesting through don’t want to write, don’t make me write.
If I examine myself, I have a laundry list of reasons for the resistance.
The Inner Critic
The big one for writers is that inner critical voice that points out how goofy that last sentence sounded, the punctuation or spelling isn’t right, this isn’t the correct word, etc. I was hoping that blogging would help temper that voice since I write these entries in one draft with a couple quick edits after it’s done. Yet this… blogging is somehow an entirely different animal from novel writing. Maybe this is because so much time–years in the case of this freaking book–has been poured into it. Even though the blog is introspective and connected to me in that matter, each entry only gets about an hour maximum of my time. If it reads poorly I can shrug my shoulders and go, “Yeah, well, I didn’t exactly labor over it.”
Not so with that book because I gave up a huge chunk of my life to it. The thought that someone would tell me it’s bad wrenches my stomach.
I need that first draft and know that. The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. I know that. At one point, I was completely okay with that and could write a shitty first draft. Now… I just can’t. Which brings me to point #2.
I’m in a far more vulnerable place of my life now than I was a few months ago. I made the decision to move here. I can’t put this on my husband at all. I wanted to move here and he followed me because he wants me to be happy. If we can’t make a life in the US then this is on me. This weighs on me every single day that we don’t find work.
The writing suddenly becomes this silly dream where at one point, back when I was employed, therefore solid income, it was a dear passion.
I carry that vulnerability with me everywhere and when I open the word processor, it follows me there, too.
It’s a word akin to another ‘v’ word: vampire
The protagonist exposes her neck to the vampire. What if it hurts? What if he takes advantage? What if he drains her to the brink of death? Over?
I brought this up in a previous entry and the more thought I give to it, the more I realize how much this hinders me.
See, I was brought up in a rather black and white world.
It took me moving halfway across the world to break free completely of the thought models that had been imposed on my worldview. I was already pushing away from them quite some time before I went but moving away allowed me to really, truly, completely live as myself and not in disguise.
That was when I was able to transform the book into what it was always supposed to be about. Those heavy eyes weren’t weighing down on me.
Now I’m back in that same sphere and even though I’m a transformed person, I’m already falling back into old patterns of hiding.
It’s a supernatural novel with ghosts, psychic vampires, super powers, and the like. It’s also a novel about two young men wrestling with their identity, being honest to themselves and others about who they really are.
How many times have I thought to myself what a hypocrite I am to use this as my theme when I have to hide what matters to me?
This should no longer matter and I need to get to a place in my mind where it doesn’t.
There are other reasons for this resistance I could discuss but I’ll save those for another time. It’s enough that I’ve acknowledged this much. Maybe it’ll be enough rubble cleared to move forward.