An Accounting of Days
I closed out this Journal on November 18. I didn’t want the unnecessary pressure of that daily deadline while I was working out whatever problem derailed my writing.
That was only twelve days ago, but it seems as if months have passed. Anyway, for whatever it’s worth, it worked. Or more specifically, it’s working.
Sometime in the last few days, I realized there is no specific one thing that “derailed” my writing habit. Instead, I seem to have reached a merging of life events and factors. I also realized that convergence has been building for some time.
The convergence doesn’t “stop” me from writing, but its components require time and thought. They distract me from even thinking in the way I have to think when I’m writing.
I’m not back yet, but I do at least finally understand what’s going on. And that has enabled me to turn a corner and head back toward where I want to be.
I have to give it the time it requires, but a few days ago I didn’t even know that.
The first sign of this convergence appeared in my writing habit a few months ago when I tossed aside my daily goal as being unnecessary. You might remember that. I said specifically I didn’t need a daily goal anymore.
Of course, that’s just silly. If writing is your chosen profession, then you must write. And if your attitude about it is on track (that it’s fun) then why wouldn’t you want to write every day? But for the moment, it is what it is.
From that point, I progressed (regressed?) through starting and giving up on challenges, starting and giving up on novels and stories, struggling to keep writing even while in the midst of writing a short story or novel, and maybe most importantly, trying to “fix” my problem in various ways:
The most obvious and telling fix was that I changed my writing environment several times, both the surface I was writing on and where that surface was located.
To give you a glimpse of the lunacy, I moved my desk out to storage, as if the desk were the problem. To replace it, I used a drafting table; then I replaced that with a large typing table.
I replaced that with an old dining room table (I cut it down to the right height); then cut down a smaller old dressing table because at least it had small drawers in it; and did a few other crazy things.
While all of that was going on, I moved out of the hovel, then back in, then out again etc. I tried to write in the hovel, outside, and in my office. I tried to set up the travel trailer as an alternative office (like the hovel), but that lasted all of one icy-cold day.
And a lot of other stuff, non-writing stuff, was going on over those few months. I won’t go into detail, but I was variously struck with direct physical, mental and emotional blows — some good and some bad — that you (or at least I) can’t simply shake off.
I just have to muddle through them the best way I can. Oddly, the good ones stand alone. They don’t serve to mitigate the bad ones, at least in my experience. Yet the bad ones tend to magnify the other bad ones. Very strange.
Anyway, in the midst of all that I stopped my only “bad” habit — cigar smoking — which was also my only avenue for an uninterrupted hour of Just Relaxation. I’ve written only 6000 words of fiction since October 10, the day I stopped.
(If I were certain I could smoke only one or two cigars per day, I’d start again in a heartbeat. As always, to validate such decisions, you must compare length of life with quality of life.)
Back to the Present
A couple of days ago, a lot of this cleared up for me. As a result, with these new realizations and with my wife’s help, yesterday I moved my old desk back inside my office. It’s a beautiful walnut creation that was put together back when craftsmanship still mattered.
That alone won’t start me writing again immediately. But it’s one massive step back toward my version of normal. I still have a few more things to work out. Maybe some gathering to do, and maybe some shedding of problems and people who lay them at my door.
As I said before, I’m not back yet. But I believe I’ll be back before too much longer. For now, I’ll just give this process the time it needs.
In the meantime, thanks for your attention, concern and support. I appreciate you.
Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 780 (Journal)
So total words for the day: XXXX
Writing of “”
Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXX (done)
Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 453762
Total nonfiction words for the month… 780
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 176333
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 630095
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182