Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Insecure Writers: March Edition

I'm running late on this. So today's post will be thankfully short. Several months ago, the great Alex J Cavanaugh created the Insecure Writers Support Group for people just like me - writers who have issues.

Today I want to talk about what might be my biggest fear in regards to my writing. It's my biggest fear because I think it has such a realistic chance of actually happening.

I'm afraid, not that I'll wake up one day and say I quit. My fear, is that one day I'll wake up and realize I've not written anything in so long that I will have quit and not realized it.

I tend to write in bursts anyway. It's very hard for me to write every day. I'd rather write nothing at all than spend 20 minutes a day working at something. I want, no need to have five, six, seven, ten hours or more that I can carve out to write. I want to plow through.

So I spend a lot of time not writing because I just don't want get started. Lucky for me that I manage to get stuff done nonetheless. Slowly, much more slowly than I'd prefer, but still. I make headway.

But if I'm not vigilant, if I'm not always making myself actually sit down and do it. I'll spend my life talking about writing, planning on writing, research for my writing, but not actually writing. Even now, working on book covers, other artwork, reading, blogging, even watching TV of movies all come out of  a single block of time I have daily to do whatever it is I'm going to do. Time is not my friend. I can't do it all.

And I still haven't entirely given up on playing music. Of photography, I want to learn other things. I have other interests. Writing is chief among them, but it requires a greater commitment if I want to excel.

And there you have it.

17 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've found bursts work just as well, especially after participating in NaNo 2010. Like you, I have other interests. It's harder to get started again after not writing for a while, but once you have that block of time and just do it, it's like riding a bike - it all comes back.
Unless you fell off you bike a lot as a kid...

Grumpy Bulldog, March Madman said...

Yeah but you're like a Renaissance man with the writing, drawing, music and so forth so you can't expect to do everything all the time. It's better than being like me and having just one skill.

Tonja said...

You should keep writing - the line about quitting without noticing is brilliant.

I like to write in longer blocks, but I don't have the blocks of time lately. I started trying to squeeze in 30 minutes here and there, and it has worked out better than I expected. It keeps my head in my story so it doesn't take so long to get into writing mode like it does when I don't write for days.

Mama J said...

I don't think there is a set formula to writing. Some people say you should write every day but if it doesn't work for you, why push it? I think writers need to figure out what works for them and stick to that.

Nancy said...

You nailed it this month my friend. But then so often you do. Great post

Tyrean Martinson said...

"Time is not my friend" - oh, I feel that one. I struggle to find writing time, and usually it's when my daughters are in dance class . . .so I write in 4 90-120 minute bursts a week while they dance. That is, if I don't get distracted.

mshatch said...

I used to write sporadically, but now hardly a day goes by where I don't write in some fashion for at least 2-3 hours, weekends more. I am getting more accomplished. But my drawing/painting time has suffered. I guess there's always a trade off.

Andrew Leon said...

I hate writing in snatches of time, but that's really all I get, so I have to make do. The idea of having 5 hours to sit down and write in is completely inconceivable to me.

And, you know, I think you have friends that won't let you quit, so you do have that going for you.

Anonymous said...

I wrote a lot in the 90s, when I had to do it on a typewriter and then shove it away in a drawer because Prometheus hadn't yet stolen the Internet and given it to us.

Then from about 98-2004, I didn't write hardly at all, but I did play guitar and draw and paint. I wrote some songs (they were terrible, but I liked them) and briefly thought about recording a CD, and I had a brief fling with art, and then when blogging became a thing I started writing again, and haven't played guitar in about 3 years.

But I still know how to play all my old classic hits like "I Love You 7" and "If I Was Paul McCartney" and even "Eatin' Gummi Bears."

That last one doesn't sound like a rave rocker, but it WAS.

Here's a thought, though: I schedule things like "writing," and do a bit of them at a time. My own schedule is that each morning, more or less, I spend about an hour writing things. The rest of the day I don't.

The reason I do that is because if you don't have a set time to write, then you may feel like you should ALWAYS be writing -- which will make you not want to do it. Whereas, if you say "I'm going to write for 1/2 hour each day," and you do it, then you're done and can go do other things.

The other thing that worked for me: "5 pages." I wrote 5 pages a day, come hell or high water, until the book was done. That's actually how I wrote "the After." If you're blocked, you write about how you can't write, just so long as you fill up your 5 pages that day. (Then you go back and edit that out, if you must, but only after you get your book done do you edit.)

I wouldn't worry about how much you write. Just write when you want to.

Cindy said...

Writing and working full time and overtime is by no means easy. I'm sure won't ever really forget. Also ...I can nag you on a regular basis if you like? :p

M Pax said...

I'm more the slow, steady type. I admire those of you who can sit for great lengths of time and crank out high word counts.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I definitely write in bursts. I don't understand how people can write consistently. They must be more creative and more driven than me.

Deborah Walker said...

Yeep! Keep on going, Rusty. One word after another. Squeeze them in here and there, and they'll add up soon enough.

Cherie Reich said...

Writing in bursts can be useful. I think that's one reason I love NaNoWriMo so much. I get the time to write and write, but then I slow down a bit (even though I tell myself I won't). Perhaps we'll just have to ask if you've written anything lately ever so often, so you won't quit and not know it.

Dan H. Kind said...

One trick that works for me is bringing a notebook with me wherever I go, whenever possible. If I've got a story idea lodged in my brain, I jot down random dialogue, character backstory, description, whatever, in half-illegible scribbles whenever the mood strikes me or some great piece of plot insight (at least great at the time) flashes across my mind. If I don't write it down soon after it hits me, I tend to forget it. I've found the notes make it easier to translate the story onto the laptop when I do find a couple hours to sit down and pound out paragraphs.

Dan H. Kind said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa Bradley said...

I've been under so much stress, it's hard for me to block out quiet time. I start thinking about all the things that I could be doing. And like you, I'd rather have 5 or 6 hours than short 20 minute bursts. It takes me forever to write pages anyway. I never know if I'm saying something right and change it a million times before I move on.