I have been struggling to get motivated lately. It has been so bad that I’ve found myself doing things I actively don’t like doing because I don’t have the emotional or mental energy to do creative work.
If I wasn’t so emotionally exhausted, I would be frustrated. The truth is, I go through stages like this. They’re not great, but I am being very careful not to call them ‘bad’ either. They just are.
My mind is like a lake on a still day, reflective and clear with nothing lurking in the depths. It’s a bit of a disconcerting feeling, honestly.
That’s why I am writing this blog post. I’m hoping that the small words, the light and easy ones that I use here will skip across the surface and make ripples. Maybe something in the depths of my mind-lake will see the glittering shifts of the sun in the water and swim closer to the surface. If it does that’s fine, but if the lake remains still, I’ll just keep skipping things across the surface and see what happens.
Sometimes, the desire to do something, to produce a piece of work or ‘achieve something’, is as crushingly exhausting as not sleeping for days on end. Nothing wrong with that at all. It just is.
Today, I am glad I had a teacher who taught us to imagine our mind like a place. Mine is a cottage in a forest with a river nearby that feeds into that lake. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get up from the pebbled beach with its smooth stones and head back to the cottage to do something. For now, I am trying very hard to let skipping stones be enough.
Someone has an idea what else I could be doing. Hint, it involves head-scratches.
I made a deal with myself, because I thought Future Me would somehow have awesome powers or something. Editing would somehow seep into my brain because I needed it, surely. Writing had been part of my life so long, surely I would have a great time and be able to edit the mess into something readable. Maybe even good!
Oh Past Me, what dreams you had, that I must now carry…
Editing is not as straightforward as I thought it would be. It could partly be due to the ‘working from vomit copy’ issue, it could be because I didn’t have a clear idea of how to break the story up. Even if it’s something completely different, I find myself sitting at my computer and struggling to work out where to start.
Start at the beginning. A friend of mine, sick of my whinging I assume, pointed out to me that I really only had one place to start. The start. I had already read through the piece as a whole, cringing all the way, and had the plot outline to prove it. There was nothing for it except getting in there and reshaping the clay I had made.
I needed goals. ‘Edit the Vomit Copy’ was too big. It was nebulous. Impossible. Intangible.
- Get the plot outline. Check.
- Make general notes on story feel. Check.
- Identify problems. Sort of there…
- Work out how to deal with aforementioned problems. Aaaaahhhh….
Start at the beginning. I put down the list, and there were more things on it, and I asked myself what I really wanted from this process.
I want a first draft. It doesn’t have to be any good, it just has to mostly be there, about the length I want. That’s it. Preferably with the romantic subplot explicit rather than lingering in my shy writing mind. Left that our in the Vomit Copy somehow.
So I am starting at the start. I am going to rewrite as I feel the story needs, remembering that I can include huge chunks of words. I need to get another 50k in there somehow, and that’s not going to be done by cutting things out!
Chapter 1, here I come!
Dusty being my office buddy.