Had a few hours for myself before noon one day, and felt strongly – despite Everything Else That Requires Attention – that I should focus on Hammer & Magic. Get that writing project up again and running.
If nothing else then for the sake of feeling some of the, well, magic in life. I have a tendency to push that away, and I don’t want to feed that tendency. It’ll be one of those things I regret when – sooner or later – I have to leave.
Since I did not have a lot of time, I started wanting to do a new chapter. But then I halted.
The characters felt like they had grown ‘cold’. I could not write about them.
I knew what had to be done. And now I had only an hour and a half left.
But I had to read all of the existing 79 pages, or as many as possible, once more. From the beginning.
Then, I knew from experience, the world would come alive to me again. And I would certainly be ‘warmed up’.
Unfortunately, my time would also be up. This time.
But I made the choice to read.
I was – and I am gambling that that is the correct choice. That it is an infusion of that writing-energy that I need.
Especially to be able to find more time, where hitherto I thought there was none.
Clearing a writer’s block … It is all about tapping into the energy again … like warming up before doing exercises or sports.
The question about which warm up method is best must not stall me too much, though. I have to act. So I do a thread on AH.com and we will see what happens.
That is the best way, as always, to get the energy. To do something – anything at all, really. Instead of just sitting and thinking and feeling more and more stuck.
As long as I write in the alternatehistory.com forum and have a few readers and discussions about aspects of the story.
That is a good way to cultivate this Element of my life – to have it in my life. But it is an end to itself. Not a means to something else, like money later on.
I can go through the motions and finish stories and try to monetize them in some way but really … as I see it now, it does not matter what happens.
I realize I entertained such thoughts before, but … so what else is new.
Maybe it is a good thing they are entertained no longer.
I looked up today if it was too late to write a novel if you were over 40 and get somewhere with it.
The answer was obvious. I just hadn’t expected it.
Because I had been convinced of a certain answer – before I decided to investigate the matter anyway.
And got a different answer.
After 25 years of trying to write a novel and failing I have realized, as previously discussed that that path is not for me. Complicated reasons but this is the conclusion.
So I only write stories now, in my spare time, to get energy. To have fun.
IF that goal is achieved, then I write to get read. To find readers. To entertain.
IF that goal is achieved then I will try to monetize the work, get it sold in a market.
IF that succeeds to a level of some significance I will try to set aside funds from the surplus to donate to some cause or other.
And I do have a dream of reaching that last stage. I really do.
But not at expense of the first stage: To get energy, to have fun. Never again.
If that makes me fail to reach the dream, so be it. It is not worth doing it otherwise. I have tried that too often.
And now I will go and do more dishes.
“So to me the creative process, the writing of the story or book, is the fun part, the part I desire. I love the process. So I want to do more of it and thus I end up being very productive.
I play one story at a time, story after story after story.
People like me are writers. Writers are people who write.
People who say they hate writing but love having written are authors, not writers. And they tend to vanish after a few years.” – Dean Wesley Smith
IMO You have to do at least two things to ‘find’ a plot (and thus conflicts) in a story:
1) Put some part of a painful memory, a returning fear, a constant yearning, a powerful desire or any another resonant experience, fantasy or wishful thinking you have ever had yourself … into one or more of your characters.
2) Want badly enough to explore and share that particular experience with the world in prose, even if in a totally disguised form.
I thought for a long time it would help me finish creative projects if I narrowed them down to just one, due to work and family time constraints.
Turns out I get more motivated by having about 3 projects that I can shift between (but not many more), like I am recording an album instead of just having to choose a single song.
It may take longer, in principle, to finish any one of these projects, yes – but now I feel more confident that I WILL actually finish one, because I realized that this worked for me.
“A poet is a painter in his way, he draws to the life, but in another kind; we draw the nobler part, the soul and the mind; the pictures of the pen shall outlast those of the pencil, and even worlds themselves.” – Aphra Behn
And now, today, I felt again afraid that I – for some reason – would not make it. Would not draw all the things I really want to draw. Or write all the things I really want to write.
Very afraid …
And I think I know why …
I felt afraid because I was not spending enough time doing it.
For when I don’t spend enough time doing it, then … it is obvious to feel afraid: “What if I die tomorrow or next year? … Without having … ”
I see that now.
And I shared that.
I hope you can use it. I can.
Like I wrote the other day:
… I am still only doing Hammer and Magic – art and illustration bits – in my spare-time when I need to relax. I am going to be deliberately and hopelessly “unprofessional” about how I work on this project, because I know from experience that … nothing else works, if I want to stay motivated under the circumstances of my life.
And I am very clear about that.
So money, miscast loyalty to others, and devotion to productivity methods that may work for others but not oneself.
Those three agendas sucked out a lot of energy from the YA novel, until I shelved it when other parts of reality killed the last of my motivation, notably my need to focus on my own business, on getting settled in yet another new apartment and dealing with the personal and relationship fall-out after (at first) not having been able to have Jay, after many treatments. Oh, and a couple of close family members died, too. Just sayin’ …
So maybe this is stupid. Another false start. Another hope that won’t really come to anything. Another groping in the dark.
But I have to keep this search up, after a story with art that I can do, at this point in my life, because I need to do such creativity.
I have to keep up the search.
Otherwise, what is there but to sit in the dark and wait for it to become all there is?
And that’s it for this time. Only a few hundred words, but each one feels like a small candle in winter.