Monday, July 20, 2009

Avoiding what we love


Last week, I was between projects. I had just finished throwing a bridal shower for my brother's fiancée, and knew I was facing Plain Jayne edits at the end of the week.

I felt like I should hunker down and relax, but I was bored. And I hate being bored - actually don't believe in it. I feel that if you're bored, you're doing something wrong.

In my case, my antipathy towards boredom began (and likely continues) as a fear. Even as a child, I packed for all occasions. I brought toys, books; more than what I'd ever need to help pass the time, should the opportunity arise. I left things at friends' houses often.

Even now, I'm happiest with a book, and/or knitting in my bag when I go places. And when I say "go places," I mean the grocery store. But I digress.

Last week I was cranky and listless. But I opened my document for the first chapter of Simply Sara and started writing. I felt better. My muscles relaxed. Life was once again worth living.

Late that day, I had a conversation with my best friend Kara. Turned out, Kara had been exhibiting the same symptoms I had earlier that morning. She too was in-between projects and avoiding writing.

One of the tricky things about being a working writer is that writing becomes not work, but drudgery. Sure, we have the happy serendipitous moments when the stars align and the words flow, but a lot of writing is plugging away when you'd rather be doing anything else. Like housecleaning.

At that point, writers associate writing with a lot of negative feelings and bad karma. You rarely see any writers update their facebook status with something cheery, like, "so delighted I get to write today!" or "the words, they are a-flowing." No, it's more like, "I haven't unloaded my dishwasher in two weeks, my children eat nothing but cheap pizza, my husband has no clean underwear, and I'm still 2,000 words behind my daily quota."

No wonder we're cranky.

But it shouldn't be that way. I think with this next project, not only do I need to be on a more realistic writing schedule (last January-March's death march was not much fun), but take the time with a few side projects to enjoy writing. After all, I started writing because I enjoyed writing, didn't I?

In all fairness, I've loaded/unloaded my dishwasher and run five loads of laundry because I'm avoiding editing. Procrastination has the power to make me a crackerjack housewife sometimes. And I'm only going to Costco this afternoon because we're nearly out of toilet paper.

Right?

1 comment:

  1. Hal, you rock my in-box!! Thanks for the encouragement. ~Kara

    ReplyDelete

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