I seem to have three moods as they pertain to writing.
First, I have the I-don’t-want-to-write-anything mood. This is my default. Consequently, I can go weeks upon weeks without writing anything. This is a horrible habit, and since I want to write a book in the near future, one I will have to kill.
Second, I have the I-want-to-write-but-don’t-know-what-to-write-about mood. That’s the mood I’m in tonight, which is why I’m writing about this in the first place. When in doubt, write what you know. These writing sessions usually start off promising enough, but then I realize I have nothing to write about, so they die a slow, painful death. Or, the moods get turned into a trash post I’ll never visit again.
Third, I have the I-want-to-write-and-words-flow-without-effort mood. This mood is so rare, it probably shouldn’t have a name. I think I’ve posted a little over 100 times on my blog. I’d say less than a third of those posts came in this mood. I don’t know how to “turn it on” or get it going.
Tonight, I’ve been wondering what to write about for over an hour. This is the best I’ve come up with. Basically, I want to write about how grueling writing is for me most of the time. Sometimes, I have moments of brilliance, and I wonder where it came from. How do I harness that? How can I replicate those writing sessions?
I don’t have the answer. Though, I’m aware my poor discipline in this area does not help one iota. I’ve read several books about writing, and most authors say you have to do it every single day.
Ugh. I want to be a good writer without having to be that consistent.
I’m an editor on the side, and it amazes me how little some of my clients read. Sometimes, I know this because I ask them. Other times it is obvious because their writing is atrocious; it’s as if they never moved past picture books.
I invariably look down on these people. “You don’t read, but you want to be a writer? Ha!”
And I’m a complete hypocrite. I read a lot, which is great, but I don’t write often. I sit down and write maybe once every few weeks. And I have in my mind somehow that I’m going to write a book. Yeah, it’ll be published in 2071. Just a few more years!
So, this is my post flipping the bird to my writing demons. I don’t know what to write, but I’m going to force myself to do it anyway. In your face!
I went to a writer’s conference a few years ago, and the very last class I attended was about self-doubt. The lady who taught the class said we can’t let self-doubt dictate whether we are going to write or not. Self-doubt will almost always win. We have to persevere through it. She even gave us little rubber monsters, so our self-doubt could be personified.
Self-doubt is possibly the biggest factor in my poor writing habits, which is interesting because I almost always get good feedback about what I write. I need more intrinsic motivation. After a good writing session, I say to myself, “I need to write more, this is so fun! I learn something about myself each time, and I’m a good writer.”
But, the next time I sit down at the computer, I freeze. Nothing comes out, until I force the issue and vomit on the page. I have writing prompts a friend gave me, but for some reason, those never get the creative juices flowing, either. Plus, I’m not exactly sure where they are at the moment.
I also seem to forget that just because I write something down doesn’t mean it has to go in my blog. I could just write for the fun of it with no destination for my awful prose. See, writing helps me discover things!
Now, here’s a nice paradox. Do I post this or not?
Another problem is I really like going back and reading things I’ve already posted. I’m a bit like Narcissus in that regard. Sometimes I read it to remember the story, other times, just to look at my writing. As fun as it is sometimes, it is not at all productive and it’s probably counterproductive. How am I supposed to get fresh writing juices flowing if I’m sitting there drinking old, already-digested fluids?
Yuck. When I put it that way…it sounds perfectly horrid.
Alright. Next time I sit down to write (tomorrow), I will not read any past posts. I will just write.
Let’s see what happens.