Unorthodox Writing Tips 41 – Once you stumble
I had an unbroken streak of writing daily updates that ran from the beginning of the year until just a few weeks ago. That streak broke while I was on vacation and I had intended to get back on the horse once I arrived at home. I got a few out, but not as consistently as I had done. It’s not so daily anymore, but rather than focus on what happened, I need to focus on what I need to do to get back on track.
Combined with the loss of focus, there are also a number of other things that are weighing on my mind. None of these things are under my control and there’s really nothing I can do about them, yet I’ve been obsessing about them for a few days now.
One was the loss of a family pet. You get very attached to animals. It’s not easy to just say “Oh, it was just a dog.” There’s now a hole where that dog used to be. It was very difficult for my favorite daughter to take and I keep worrying about her.
There’s also submissions I have out that I’ve been waiting to hear word back from. For several months now. Waiting sucks and while I obsess about one thing, why not a few others.
Then I read a few bad reviews of a story I wrote. The people I sold the story to loved it. It’s not getting bashed because the writing is bad. So I shouldn’t let this get to me. But I have.
And finally there is someone online that I respect and based on comments I’ve read and posts I’ve read from this person, I get the feeling that this person thinks I’m an internet troll for some reason. I could reach out to this person, but I’ve only had one interaction over the years and that was in person, not over the internet. So I’m unsure how the person really thinks of me. This has bothered my deeply but rather than be an internet troll and reach out to the person and ask “What did I do and how can I correct this?” I think the best course of action is to just avoid contact with the person all together. The last thing I want to do is gain the reputation of being an internet troll or anything like that.
So with all this weighing on my mind, it’s been difficult for me to type up words. Yes, I’ve been obsessing. Yes. I need to stop obsessing. How? I need to take my own advice. Just sit down and write. If I’m in the mood or not, the only way to get back on track is to sit and type like a fury. None of these things are under my control and as difficult as it might be to put them aside it’s better for me to just move forward.
I can’t bring a dog back from the dead. I can’t make a publisher or agent read my submission faster, I can’t change people’s feelings about my story (and it’s folly to try). I also can’t change a person’s feeling about me if, as I suspect, those feelings have been there for a long time.
What can I control? My word count. I can sit and write my stories. I can escape into my own little world that I have complete control over and have my characters do my bigging. I can bring them to life and hopefully entertain people along the way. I have a blast when I write and it helps me forget about all those things in my life that are out of my control. Even if it’s only for an hour a day, that little bit will get me further along.
Yes, I stumbled. I have a hole in my daily streak of writing. But I had a wonderful vacation. Yes, there are things that are outside my ability to control, but shouldn’t stop me from writing. I need to take a page from Jay Lake. The man has cancer. Again. This is the fourth time for him and the outlook is bleak. He’s still blogging daily. I’m not 100% sure but I think he’s still writing fiction daily. He’s a mess mentally (if you read his blog you’ll understand why) but he’s still writing. Yes, I can obsess and still write.
You can do the same. You can be depressed and still write. You can have something in your life that you can’t control and still write. If you have free time you can sit down and type words. Writing can be therapeutic. It may even help you get past that which you’re obsessing about. You might even be able to channel that negative energy into your character, have them deal with a similar situation, and have them resolve it. Write what you know. Use that negative energy to your benefit.
I’m going to go do that right now.
Until Next Time!