It was wrenching to write the first words of this post. Why? Because I don’t want to admit I’m not writing. Maybe you surmised from an earlier post that things aren’t going very well right now.
But you’re blogging, you say. That’s writing. Sure it is. I’m talking to you in written form, telling you something. So it’s writing. It’s just not the kind of writing I want to be doing.
Anne Wayman, super freelance guru, wrote a post about writing even when you are horribly distracted. She says, in essence, that writing helps keep her mind off things.
I have the opposite problem; I can’t NOT think about it, because when I’m upset, I tend to bang out little Notepad diary entries about how pissed off I am. At least they’re digital, and I can delete them before I die and someone finds them.
How the hell do you write when life blows up in your face? Here are my conclusions.
Take a break
Sometimes, you just have to. If you have freelance clients or a deadline, you might not have the luxury. At least cut back, if you’re able. Put as many projects on hiatus as you can while you deal with things.
Write something that pertains to whatever is distracting you
Turn it into a project, by golly. At most, you might even get a sale out of it, if you can find an intriguing angle on the subject. At least, you’ll discharge some of those feelings and sort your thoughts.
Use the time to do research
I’ve been trying to do this a bit. Of course, the whole insomnia thing makes reading material very difficult. I’ve actually had to *GASP* put the computer aside and rest my eyes.
Research is easy. You read some stuff and take notes. No pressure. If you act like it’s no big deal instead of life or death, you may dig yourself out of a dead end. I think I’ve found an answer to one particular problem in the current WIP that’s been plaguing me.
Write somewhere other than your hidey-hole
Get out of the house. Take your laptop to the library. They have wi-fi in case you need to look up giant sloth toads of Madagascar, or watch a YouTube tutorial on binary star systems. Wear headphones so other unemployed lurkers don’t hit on you.
Once you start writing in earnest, disconnect.
Go back to a previous project
When I’m brain-dead, pulling something out of Ye Olde Writing Trunk is soothing. I’ve said before that I much prefer editing to writing first drafts.
Hence the re-edit of Rose’s Hostage I’ve got a few more queries to try before I bury the poor thing. At least it will give me something to do. And you never know.
I dearly hope you are all surviving this ridiculous excuse for an economy we have lately. And the drought. And the unemployment. And the global warming. And the religious wars.
We all have to hang in there. There’s nothing else to do. Except, maybe, write about it.