I need a moment.
There was a moment yesterday when I’d just finished writing for the day, where I felt excited about what I was writing. Just for a moment. The feeling of blindly squirming my way through a narrow corridor of spontaneous ideas parted to reveal a vista of undiscovered enthusiasm for some clear, unified concept that I had – and have – not yet arrived at. But it was there.
The fact that I’m still not there is infuriating.
It’s not just that I don’t want to wait to get excited about what I’m doing; nobody wants that. I worry that it might never happen because of the way I’m approaching this story, which is to hurriedly write down the few ideas that manage to hop the fence that my inner censor erects around the borders of my creativity, and instead of having a clear idea that I’m trying to realise I just make shit up to fill words. Which goes against what I’ve been saying I’d do and what I’ve been telling myself I should do, which is to make a plan and stick to it.
This echoes the issues I’ve been having with Tallulah, and the reason I’ve taken a break from it to work on this new project for a while. It’s an issue of planning, or lack thereof, and not using foresight. I don’t mean foresight in the sense of trying to see problems before they happen and create a contingency; I’m talking straight future-vision, and the reason I think this is important is because it literally gives me something to look forward to doing. I don’t feel that way about either this post-Nano project or Tallulah; I feel stranded in the murky and viscous swamp of the here and now, and the more I struggle to forge a path through it the faster I succumb to fatigue.
Just in terms of getting words written, which is important, things have certainly picked up. I got just over 800 done yesterday; if I’m not breaking quadruple digits then I’m generally disappointed, but I’m also learning to not be so critical about that sort of thing. And as I’m realising more and more, it does matter what those words are. Even in a zero draft. Because I have to want to actually write them.
So basically I’m feeling stuck because I don’t have anything that I want to write – which is bullshit on the one hand because I do have an idea of what I want to write, but then when I actually sit down to do it all of this other shit comes up, and I don’t know why that is. Nerves? Perfectionism? Doubt? Are any of these things really separate to each other? The little clarity I have in the time prior to Actually Writing is smothered under the bulk of thousands of trivial, needless considerations that do nothing but distract me.
But what I think I finally understand – or understand again, because I’m pretty sure I had this exact same revelation about a year ago – is that it isn’t needless. My ideas are coming in a messy clump because of two things: I don’t have a clear plan to organise my thoughts by, and I have never considered that I might actually get stage-fright when I sit down to write. There is absolutely a difference between final dress rehearsal and opening night, and maybe I haven’t been affording myself that recognition in what I’m doing. Maybe it’s why I feel so “floaty” when I get to writing these days, non-committal and directionless, maybe I’m just not taking this seriously. I think making a plan would help, but then I just don’t do it.
So today I’m not focusing on a word count. I’m focusing on generating foresight; I’m going to make a prophecy and then, in true high fantasy style, fulfill the fuck out of it. Perhaps with unexpected results that end up making things even better. In fact that would be great. But the point is to find that prophecy first. I’m going to allow for the fact that I can get nervous writing, which I guess I really have thought about as the one task in my life that does not send me into some kind of anxious state – or, more accurately, it’s the one task I do on a regular basis that I don’t think about in terms of how it makes me feel, just that I could or should do it at X time for Y reasons. Which is unfair, both to me and my writing output.
I crave discipline, I suppose. So I’m going to try and give myself some. And hopefully, that will lead to the excitement I’ve been searching for.
That sounded dirty.