Monday, May 13, 2019

Trying to Pick It Up

This happens every few months: I get caught up with other things, I have a particularly busy string of days, I get focused on mundane real world stuff, and my writing goes by the wayside.

The bright side is that this wasn’t brought on by anything bad. No tragedy, no illness, nothing like that. In fact, things are good: It’s a year full of significant birthdays and anniversaries! I’m volunteering for a local event! I’m remodeling my living room! I’m working out more than I ever did in the past 20 years! All good things, as you can tell from the extra helping of exclamation points.

But it’s come at a price, and that price has been time spent on my writing. Not just writing for this blog, but my pursuit of an agent and on my second manuscript. Needless to say, I'm crapping the bed when it comes to my resolutions.

I wonder if some economist – like a Freakanomics-type of economist – has ever done anything regarding time. After all, time is a finite commodity and therefore has value. Time spent cleaning up your finances is time not spent cleaning your bathroom. Time spent tending to a garden is time not spent tending to relationships. There are only so many hours in a day and we all do the best we can, but lately that has meant dropping the ball on my writing. And if I’m being really honest, I’ve been having a very hard time picking it back up.

Which probably explains the stream-of-consciousness nature of this post.

I wish I could tell you why. Sure, it sucks that I’ve received almost complete radio silence from my query letters so far, but that’s hardly a reason to give up. And it’s true that our writers group hasn’t met in a while – we’re all in between or just beginning projects so we haven’t had anything to read. So while it’s isn’t on them to motivate me to keep writing, I could use the kick in the pants.

Maybe it’s the subject of my second book (and yes, I know I’ve said almost nothing about it here), which deals with the death of a friend. Just because the story is fiction doesn’t mean it’s not coming from a very real place, and I’ve found that writing it is painful. 

Lately, when I do sit down to write, half the time I just… freeze up. It’s just come to me what it’s like: There’s a small moment in The Avengers that I've always liked, right before the big Battle in New York when everyone is at their lowest point, and I wish I could find it floating around but I can’t. Thor has just narrowly escaped that Hulk-proof cage that crashed to earth. He goes over to pick up his hammer, but he hesitates. It’s a wordless moment of doubt, of whether he can pick up that weight again – whether he wants to pick it back up. 

This isn't that scene, but you get the idea.
That’s what sitting down to write has felt like lately. It's not so much writer's block as motivation, and I’m not quite sure of how to fix it.

But I do have an idea: Starting about two years ago, on the side and only as I think of them, I’ve been writing short pieces on various moments of my life. Not all of them are significant moments – at least, not the traditional sense – but the kind of moments that turn into recurring stories told at parties and whatnot. The thought was that when all together it’d look something like an episodic autobiography. 

So, for a bit anyway, I’m going to focus on those with the hope that switching gears will help me get my groove back. Tune in next time for “When You Wish Upon Some Cards.”

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