Writing About Not Writing

So, I’m gradually trying to do what I say I want to do which is blog regularly and try to start really writing again (and hopefully, selling some of that writing so I can live the fabulous and carefree lifestyle of someone who has two freelance writers in one household). Because my two favorite things are goals and lists, I’ve set myself two goals for the month of September.

1) To blog something everyday

2) To write a total of at least 500 words per day.

The blogging can count as my 500 words or it can be just a short little something as long as I write something else as well. The main thing is to get myself back to writing and blogging consistently. I’m not too concerned with the content at this point.

I know people like to say you aren’t really meant to be a writer unless you can’t not write all the time, but even ignoring the double negative I think that’s bullshit. There are lots of reasons writers end up not writing for various stretches of time, including depression, medication for that depression, other life circumstances, or simply just writing the stories in their head but discarding them before they can put them paper because their inner critic is a loud-mouthed asshole.

My difficulty in actually writing comes from several sources.

Aside from those mentioned above, the first one is that I have somewhat of an all-or-nothing personality. This problematic because it tends to mean if I am doing something, then I am doing or thinking of that thing all the time. It’s not just one of many things I’m doing, it’s all I’m doing. At least until I reach some kind of end point or hit some kind of difficulty, at which point I stop doing that thing entirely.

I read the complete (so far) Song of Ice and Fire in a week. I stayed up late, barely ate, and, yes, read at work when I could get away with it. When I was done with it I probably didn’t read another book for several months. I’ve spent weeks toiling on a knitting project but when I discovered a mistake I’d have to go back and fix, I put it away and didn’t pick up again for several years.

I’m not saying it’s a good personality trait, it’s just the one I seem to have. The last time I was in the writing groove I produced a totally of nearly 300,000 words of Sherlock fan-fiction (Johnlock forever!) in a startlingly short period of time. And then I went off it and have barely written anything else, of any kind since. Although it was some damn good fan-fiction, it did kind of take over my life for awhile.

Another problem is that my actual job that I get paid for involves pretty much sitting at a computer all day, writing technical documents. I cannot even express how little I want to sit down at my recalcitrant laptop-from-hell and write something incredibly amazing after a long day sitting in front of a slightly larger screen writing something incredibly factual. And it’s probably not great for my career to spend my hours at work writing fiction. Although I can’t say it’s never happened.

Lastly, I have a massive fear of failure. Which is conveniently dealt by not actually attempting things in any serious way. The fantasy of the half-finished novel in the drawer that will change my life one day is the perfect thing to keep hope alive while not having to face change in any meaningful way. Also, little known fact: “Keep Hope Alive While Not Having to Face Change In Any Meaningful Way” was a rejected slogan for the Obama campaign.

But I feel like I’ve reached a breaking point with hanging out in my comfort zone (or I’m just really sick of working in this cubicle), so I’m going to try to brute-force my way out of these habits and into some better ones so I can a) get back to writing creatively, b) not burn out on it or tank my current job in the process, and c) eventually have a little less fluorescent light and a little more sunlight in my life.

Only one real question remains: Is it cheating to use writing about my issues with writing to hit my word count for the day because I can’t think of anything else right now?

Probably. But this sucker is 749 words, so I’m going outside!

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