Thursday, May 2, 2013

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled writing....

Do you know what wins in life?  It's not talent, it's consistency.

I wasn't born rich, but we have a budget, stick to it, and we do okay.

I'm not a great artist, but I keep doing art, and I get better every year.

Similarly, a book gets written when you sit down every day and write.  My creative time is every evening from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.  I work all day, come home, take a walk, eat whatever cool stuff my wife has prepared, do the dishes and sit down to creative work.  I do this every day, am more flexible with my time on Saturday, and I don't do anything but rest on Sunday.

It's a habit.  I don't ask myself if I feel like it, it's just that thing I do when 7:00 rolls around, and it's how progress happens.  As of now, I'm at 23,700 words on the novel and it's going great.

But.

I'm a little crazy about it.  My wife says when I'm on, I'm on, and when I'm off, I'm off.  There's no in-between.  I get nuts if dinner runs late and I'm still doing dishes as the minutes past 7:00 roll by.  I start spinning stories about how the writing, or my art aren't really important to me, how I'm just going to blow them off and wind up as some kind of half-person in life.  "He was so talented," someone will sniff, looking down at my freshly covered grave.  "If only he had finished something."  Yeah.

(This is exactly how I picture it.)
Thus lies my agony.  I get knotted up over not having that sacred time to devote to my creative pursuits, when usually, it winds up being okay anyway.  Last night, for instance, we were talking about how there really isn't any time in the evening to 'just enjoy ourselves'.  I would say "I'll enjoy myself when I'm done with the book," but my wife knows better.  When the book is done, it will just be some other piece of creative obsession.  Maybe, book 2.
Maybe that's just how I roll.  Maybe I'm just hard-wired to be like a switch...on or off...or maybe I just worry too much.  I'm betting the 'worry too much' part is probably right.  For instance, I was a few minutes late starting creative work last night, but I stopped writing a full half hour early because I wanted to take time to think out what I wanted to happen next.  It all worked out.

So, what the moral of the story, and what I'm trying to learn, is that it's the showing up every evening part that actually leads to success, not making sure that every minute of that time is maximized.  It's tough for me to accept this, but along with writing a book, I'd like to enjoy life a little as well.

I hope you do, too.

4 comments:

P. Bradley Robb said...

Showing up is really the hardest part. Lately, I've been forcing myself to obey the clock and using pomodoro to focus for bursts.

Unscientific study, but it's helped with the writing.

Ann said...

Sometimes you just have to go see Iron Man 3! Right honey?

Dave Flora said...

A Yoda comment? This post as become truly epic!! Thanks for that, Sebastian!
I'm going to have to look into this Promodoro thing....

CCG Coordinator said...

Hi Dave,
Thanks for sharing this personal and challenging aspect of the creative process! We all benefit from knowing that it's not always easy - but we need to make a way to make it fun! Otherwise what's the point?
Kindly, Jonathan