Getting over stagnation

I’ve just read a great post over at LifeDev:  Empowering Creative People (in case you missed it, that’s a link – this theme doesn’t make them obvious).  It’s about how to avoid failing, but it’s the bit about laziness that caught my attention, particularly about the role that fear plays in moving things forward.  It got me thinking about why I keep writing, even when my project seems to be overwhelming.  

I asked myself the big ‘why’ question a couple of months ago.  Why do I do this when it’s so hard and exhausting?  Why don’t I choose something with a faster result, like art?  Then I thought about what would happen if I just gave the whole thing up and stopped writing.  I sat down and pictured myself putting down the pen, shelving the manuscript and turning to something else.  I felt the weight of the project lifting from my shoulders, and imagined myself rejoining the world out there where books are things you read, not write.

Truth is, it didn’t feel good.  In fact, it felt downright rotten.  Somewhere deep down, it feels like I’ve got something to say and I need to say it.  It might not be profound, it might not be important, it might not even be sensible, but it’s there and it’s mine.

The fact is, I love my craft.  To give it up doesn’t feel right.    To live without it feels empty and boring.  So next time I whinge about it, just remind me of that, OK?


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Graham Storrs
    Jul 07, 2009 @ 09:56:02

    For me, it’s the difference between writing for fun and writing for publication. There have been periods of several years at a stretch where I’ve decided publication was not something I was interested in. Those have been the best times for writing. Not only did I enjoy it more, I was far more productive too! These days, trying to get published again, there is a stress involved in everything I do and there are many things I do (like writing query letters) that are a pure pain in the neck and nothing like what I want to do.

    If I don’t get a book contract in the next siz months or so, I may well give up on it again and return to the simple pleasure of writing.


  2. j-a brock
    Jul 07, 2009 @ 19:04:58

    ironic, isn’t it? and yet, i seem to be able to write a lot of words quickly for work!


  3. Emma Newman
    Jul 07, 2009 @ 19:58:01

    I am so with Graham there; when I wrote the first draft of my book I was so happy, then someone persuaded me I should try to get published and it all changed. Since then I have struggled to find that state of writing without pressure again.

    If you stopped, imagined only ever reading again and felt like that, then you are truly a writer. This happens to me so many times and it’s always the same conclusion. We cannot help it. We are what we are. Writers.


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