As anyone who has been reading this blog for any amount of time knows, I struggle with being productive.
I have often brought up my plans to work more. But I wouldn’t say I worked very hard last year. I believe in hard work. I simply don’t feel like I have the energy to keep up with my younger self at his best.
Lately I’ve been following the awesome author, Kameron Hurley, on twitter and followed her struggle with writing in the face of a deadline that looks increasingly difficutlt to meet. I don’t have a publisher telling me when they want me to turn in work. I don’t have a day job pushing me toward fiction. I only have myself, my goals, and a lot of time on my hands.
I may be stupidly lucky in this regard, but no situation will last forever. So I have to work now, or I will surely end up worse off in the future, rather than continuing to improve my life situation. In this way, I am not so different from anyone else. Many people think writers, really any artists, have excuses in that they rely on inspiration to complete their work. However, I want to stress how problematic it is to rely on inspiration, that is: emotions, to work a job that is its own business. I worked from moments of inspiration in the past.
Much as I did in school, where it seemed I could sometimes draw answers from divine internal manual, I never learned to work hard at writing. I guess even getting up two hours early to write before school hardly qualifies because I was working off of a deep well of emotion that appears to have run dry.
The emotions in that well were not all pleasant, but they were motivators. I hated most of the people I met for much of my high school career. I still don’t like to think about them, or myself, back then. It seems we were all senseless monsters up until perhaps the moment when we realized we would go our separate ways all too soon.
Why then do I want to go back to how I wrote at the time? Why do I grasp for something from a time in my life I was miserable? Simply, I am at a loss for what to do to claim greater energy. Now that I have skills for the art of writing, I need my enthusiasm, the old fire and zeal for the craft, to return.
Or perhaps I need to find a better way. Hatred used to be easy, perhaps the easiest emotion, to feel. Now, if I look into anger I go nowhere. I’ve spoken of joy often on this blog, but I don’t know how I can use it the way I need.
I need to be joyful to write scenes of passion and power, of excitement, of action, and of everything else.
I need to be joyful to discover new truths in the worlds I’ve made.
I need to be joyful to learn about my characters.
I cannot rely on gifts of feeling from outside, nor anger, nor insult for fuel. The negative fuels are dinosaurs that have already been burnt and polluted my life long enough.
It’s time to open up my mind and find the means to tap into my joy.