Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Quitting-est Quitter Who Ever Quit Quitting

I've recently had very good  news I'll share with you soon. Very good news is always awesome and wonderful. I can't wait to tell you about it.

Until then, I'm starting on kind of a dark note.

There's been a lot going on this year. It's been one blow after another (although there's been some good too). It seems like I've barely had time to catch my breath between crappy situations. I'm always behind and people are starting to get irritated by it. Essentially, I'm failing at life. I start thinking, okay, where can I cut corners? What can I do to simplify?

Because if I don't simplify, I'm going to go insane. I can't do everything, even though I want to. I have to do the things that are most important if I'm going to keep my head above water.

One of the things I've really had to cut back on was writing. You can tell. There are little notes throughout the blog this year (and far fewer blog posts than in recent history) stating my lack of ability to get anything written. I've been two one writer's group meeting and the write-in in January. I've written a little over 150,000 words this year, whereas last year I was at nearly 300,000 at this point.

I've allowed that maybe my pantsing ways have put me in that position. They might make it a little harder to stay on track. I've chalked it up to writer's block, but I usually have a fairly solid idea of where the stories are going in spite of being a pantser. Sometimes I think about and resent that I'm not going to the library every night, sitting in one of those uncomfortable chairs at the private cubicle, pounding out the next great romance novel. I've barely managed to finish one book and one novella. I'm so far behind, I hate myself a little. It doesn't seem like I can get anything to stay on target.

There are days when I've very much considered putting my laptop away. For good. Well, except for a hearty game of Candy Crush and the latest Facebook gossip. What would it be like to be one of those people who gets out in the sunshine and doesn't worry about the next turn in a novel? I was one of those people once. I'm sure it wasn't all that bad. There's no more stress about finishing a book. No more crazy characters talking to you--demanding time away from your loved ones. The dog might even thank me, because he wouldn't have to share lap space with a computer anymore. Seriously, I could work on my physique instead of throwing myself farther into the clutches of carpal tunnel.

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I might actually sort through old clothes we can't wear. I could rearrange furniture. I could do...anything. Oh, the possibilities... One little detour. One little step away from authorhood. It's so hard, that mean little voice whispers. Marketing is just evil and think about how tingly your hands are by the end of the day. Your elbow hurts all the time. You can't even stand to extend your finger sometimes. Your eyes hurt from staring at the screen for hours while you don't type anything because your brain isn't even trying any more.

The voice has a point.

The voice makes good use of excuses, of laziness, fear, sadness, and magnifies it all. The voice tells me it's okay to quit because what I'm doing is hard and I've already done enough, haven't I? I didn't get into this business to make a fortune, just to tell a story or two.

Sad fact is, writing hasn't been as escape for me this year the way it was in the past. This year it's been troublesome, a bit of a burden at times. I don't know how to get from point A to point B on the two books I'm looking at right now. All I know is,

I can't quit.

Those characters, they're depending on me. They need a happily-ever-after (or for now). No one is going to give it to them unless I do it. Could I give up on Tell Heckmaster when his brothers are happy? No more than I could will my heart to stop beating. I care too much about all the Heckmasters and their brides. I care too much about the fate of the farm the characters in my historical are taking care of.

I care too much to be a quitter. Even when it's hard, even when I don't know if I'm on the right path. I may have to go in and delete half of what I've written and forge a new path. It may take another year. But I'm going to do it, because I owe it to them. I owe it to me, because I know I can do it, no matter how frustrating. Not everything worth doing can be easy. So I'm going to finish, even if it almost kills me.


1 comment:

  1. Man, I'm right there with you. Seems not long ago I wrote a similar blog post about quitting. Like you, I just can't keep up. My life has taken a few turns I hadn't predicted. I've had to step up to the plate--had to yank my head out of my fantasy world to take care of real life business. And this real life crap leaves me no time for my writing life. But like you, I can't quit. I have to find a balance. What we need to do is take a few steps back and rework our writing to fit it in with our real life.

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