Another month gone by. It went fast, but mostly because I didn’t do a lot of productive writing. I hit what you might call a bad patch. I have never been the best at being relentlessly focused, and when you combine that with two creative blocks, well. Nothing gets done.
Huh. So, are you ready to throw in the towel?
Wow, straight to that, eh? Yes I was, briefly, yesterday. I was invited to participate in something I very much wanted to do, but I can’t because of money issues. This is the first time I’ve really come up against the fact that I’m not making any money. Sure, we’ve been cutting back and paying close attention to what we spend, I’m cleaning the house now, instead of hiring it out, and I have a financial deadline looming in the middle distance, but this was the first time I couldn’t do something I really wanted to do.
I thought about giving up and really looking for a job.
But I did some thinking last night, and I decided against it. Writing, heck creating anything, is like exercise. I know it’s good for me, and when I do it, it feels fantastic. It’s fun, I feel good, and afterwards there’s a glow (endorphins!) about the rest of my life that can’t be beat. I’ve written about this before. Writing is fun. Making stuff up, putting it down, being creative… it’s a rush.
Getting started is hard. Each day. Each moment, sometimes.
So, what’re you gonna do about that?
I thought about getting a tattoo, like “FOCUS!” or something, but they cost money and I already have a tattoo-reward-plan for weight loss. I thought about getting an ADD diagnosis (I expect I am in that crowd), but well, damn, I’m an adult. I’ve come up with a mantra, and some words to live by, to try to inspire/reason myself into working. I’ve thought about asking people I love to hold me accountable (that seems like a dick move, though). I’ve tried to post word counts each day I write (did you notice how not-often I did that? Exactly). I make lists and cross things off. I’ve even changed to-do programs recently, because surely the last one was my problem.
And then there’s the possibility that all of these things are themselves a problem.
So you need to keep it simple?
Why yes, thanks. That is what I was getting at. I need to simplify. I have a few ideas, and I’ll let you in on them next time.
Sure, kick the can down the road. Fine.
I will, thanks.
You said something about a mantra?
I did. For a while now, since last Spring, I’ve had some focus words I try to keep in mind. Goals for whatever I am doing. They’ve evolved a bit, but I think I’ve settled on them now, and I look at them every day. They are not meant to inspire, so much as make me yearn to reach them. Words to live by, as it were.
Last night, I also came up with a phrase, a mantra of sorts. Something to repeat to myself in a moment of sloth. I’m trying it out today, and it has mostly worked. We’ll see.
But you’re not going to tell us what they are, are you?
No, I’m not. I’m over trying to force myself to do stuff by being public about it. Public-shaming myself doesn’t work. This is something I need to figure out with myself, by myself.
So, did you do anything this month?
Well, yes, I did. I hit a block on the short story I was writing, so I took a few days and wrote a children’s book. It was an awful lot of fun, and it wasn’t too complicated. i got to play with language a bit differently than in a longer form. I’m sure it is not terribly good, but I like the idea very much. Right now I am fleshing out the descriptions of the illustrations, pretty integral to enjoying the book. While i was writing it, I was thinking of Jane Yolen and Mark Teague’s How Would a Dinosaur… books, and Brian Floca’s books (Locomotive and Moonshot especially) for inspiration.
Once I have the illustration descriptions done, I’ll send it out to my friends for some feedback. Then I intend to work on it, and finally I’ll need an illustrator. An illustrator who doesn’t want to get paid any time soon/ever. Perhaps a starving illustrator.
Can you tell me what this kids’ book is about?
Yes, well. I’m afraid the elevator pitch will make it sound like something it isn’t. Plus, the working title is crap.
See you next month.