Writing. It drives writers mad. It drives me mad. It’s so important to me that I ignore it for months or years at a time – because it hurts to think what I’m doing isn’t good enough. As the years pass and I get better at it, and I feel better about it, and myself, those hurts and fears start to retreat and what’s left is the process of writing itself – what Ernest Hemingway called bleeding at the typewriter. So, really, it’s never going to be easy. That’s been a slowly dawning realisation for me, and an extremely helpful one.
Apart from bleeding at the keys, I have a problem of being split between writing projects. I basically write for a living – it’s not creative writing, but it’s helpful writing – it has to be economical as well as thought provoking and inspiring. It helps my creative writing, no doubt. I also write theatre reviews, and I’m back blogging, and I’m about to be doing some corporate blogging as well. But the writing I really want to be focusing on is my fiction writing – my new novel and the odd short story. This is a lot. I think it is anyway. And after a day at the keyboard at work I rarely feel like coming home and working on my own projects.
I think maybe the key to all this is the bleeding thing… I don’t sit at my work keyboard and bleed. Theoretically, I must have a whole lot left in the tank – I have six litres of the stuff after-all. I think it’s about fatigue. When I do sit at the blood-inducing home keyboard I tend to gravitate towards smaller projects. I write a blog post (as I am now – about wanting to work on my novel, but not actually doing it), or I have a review to write, and the novel is put aside yet again for “when I have more time”.
Aye, there’s the rub. From this point in my life, I will only ever have less time. If the IVF stars align soon, I will be in the midst of baby-time (which, according to everything I’ve ever seenreadheard, means there IS no time for anything else), my career is only going to get more full-on the longer I’m in it, and I’m getting old and have to spend more time on yoga and other limb-limbering pursuits. So, shouldn’t the time be NOW? Isn’t this the prime of my life? The time where I’m still child-free, but old enough to be wiser and more witty? Why am I STILL PROCRASTINATING?!
Honestly, I think I was born to procrastinate on long goals that are important to me. It just seems to be my way. Give me a short-term goal and I’m all over that baby! I guess the answer is persistence and prioritising what’s really important to me. Not to mention learning that I can work on a long piece of writing even if I only have twenty minutes to spare. I think, over the years, I’ve come to find my peace with the balance between blood and enjoyment. I can’t not do it – write – so I have to do it, blood’n all. Simple. Right?