(Apologies for any grammatical mistakes. I wanted to get this out quickly and move on to writing my book so I didn’t do a serious pass over it. Kind of ties into the whole “honesty” vibe I was trying to create with it.)
I haven’t written in my book in a week.
How do I know this? I opened up the file and folder containing the first draft of Project: DEED. Underneath “Date Modified” it says, 7/2/2021. That means the last time I opened up my book, you know, the thing I want to do for a living, was over a week ago.
If any professional authors out there are reading this (first off, HELLO) and can confirm that they’ve gone stretches without writing, I’ll feel a lot better about myself. Probably shelve this whole thing and move on to something constructive.
However, the point of this blog, and my entire website, is to be able to talk openly about the things amateur writers go through. Those of us in the trenches, querying, fixing up our manuscripts, hoping one day someone will read it and go, “Yes! I want to represent you!” This is how it goes.
You are not a professional author. Not yet, anyway.
This means that writing, while #1 in your mind, is not always #1 in your life. There are things that get in the way. Family issues that have to be dealt with, friendships that have to be cultivated and handled, as well as other personal interruptions that get in the way of sitting down and doing the work. So, why can’t you just sit down and do the work? Pushing everything else out of the way?
Because somewhere, deep down, you know this isn’t your “job.” Sure, pros like to say keep it in your mind like it’s your “job,” and treat it thusly. If someone wanted to interrupt your workday with questions or family business while you work a regular 9-5 of some sort, it’s a lot easier for you to say, “No can do, daddio. I got work right now. Real work, that pays me money, of which I use most of it to buy stupid things I don’t really need.”
When you’re an amateur it’s a lot harder to wield that spear. “I’m working towards my dreams,” doesn’t carry as much weight as, “If you stop me from doing what I’m doing they’re going to literally kick me out of my house.” And this might just be me, you know? I’m sure there are a lot of amateur writers out there who are able to use their dreams, their writing goals, as a deflector from outside responsibilities. That when they sit down to write, they clear everything else out of the way.
I’m not as good as they are yet, I suppose. If something comes out that’s outside of my control (like family, friends, life in general) then 9 times out of 10, that thing is going to stop me from writing.
And it’s been a week of things outside my control stopping me from writing.
I’m in a dry spell.
And the only way out of it isn’t to lie to yourself, to say that it’s not your fault, that nothing is worse because you haven’t written anything new.
It’s to be honest with yourself.
There’s a Task Planner I keep above my desk, designed by the wonderful folks over at Steam Crow (link here). It’s been empty for weeks. Months, really. It’s an astounding visual piece and it’s lack of use is in no way an indictment on the product’s value. I had dreams, big plans. I thought when I hung it up that I’d be updating it every Monday, erasing tasks that I completed and adding on new ones. Yet nothing has been added. The dry erase ink on it was so dry I had to scratch it off.
I’m in a dry spell. If you are too, just tell yourself that. Then start looking for water. No use lying to yourself in a desert.
Thanks for reading,