Seeking Creative Rejuvenation
Lately I have been in sort of a creative funk. I’m not unhappy or moping–actually, I’ve been quite busy with my new job and various other grown-up mundanities (mundane + inane + ity). But during my unencumbered hours–the two or three that I have in the morning before my midday work shift starts, or the four or five that I have in the evening when I get home–I have been more likely to slouch in front a blog or an episode of a TV show (the older and more familiar, the better). The impulse to write, to create, has been a bit dead.
I’m insanely behind in my NaNo novel word count. The NaNo website counter tells me archly that at my current rate I will reach 50,000 words on February 1st. Exactly two months and one day late. I got bogged down in backstory somehow and couldn’t figure out how to get my characters going where they need to go. Also, my idea about not planning ahead and just letting my characters take me where they wanted to go hasn’t worked… they are not very motivated to move forward. Understandably, as they were created by me.
I haven’t been going to write-ins, either; I skipped one today that I had planned on going to. The problem with Saturdays is I so often don’t feel like putting on real clothes and prefer to hang out in my pajamas all day, with a bottomless cup of tea and Sky snoozing on the couch next to me. And that’s all well and good, but the writing I claim I’ll do while I stay home doesn’t get done. Maybe I need to be around other people while I work on this thing, letting some kind of competitive edge take over. The majority of what I’ve written so far happened at the one write-in I did go to–mostly based on me thinking, “They’re all typing…I should be typing.” Which is good for quantity over quality, not conventionally what a writer looks for, but in the NaNo challenge it’s exactly right, on the principle that a whole bunch of tangible quantity prose beats quality prose that never gets written. Plus, you can edit later. Nice to have something to edit.
So there’s a variety of things happening here. I’ve not “silenced my inner editor” enough; I’m not thinking far enough ahead, plot-wise. My characters are boring and waiting for me to give them some action and some conflict. I’ve also been ignoring the creative process in favor of word-counting. In service to that, I’ve spent the last couple days watching movies upon movies, and catching up on a novel by Kate Aktinson that I started awhile ago, trying to absorb some narrative drive. Taking in good stuff is crucial to producing good stuff.
Also, and let’s not discount this factor at all, I am not putting in the time. The entire series of Roseanne is on YouTube. I won’t tell you how many hours I put on that in the last two weeks.
I’m not going to make a big pronouncement here about how I will finish this story through hell and high water, that I’ll be putting in 4500 words a day until I’m back on track, yada yada empty promises, etc. I want to finish, but accomplishing this is just like accomplishing anything else. It takes commitment every day, over and over again. What I say tonight doesn’t matter. What happens tomorrow will. We’ll see how I go from here.
(To draw things to a nice, round conclusion, here is part one of an episode of Roseanne about writer’s block.)