Reinterpreting my own advice

My efforts to keep writing as a significant entity are coming along swimmingly. Even with time off for the “weekend”, I’m ahead of schedule and finding it easier each day to separate from whatever else fills my time and use it to get the words done at my writing desk.

I’m doing my best to celebrate that progress, though the voice of contention has to chime in. I can pick up on the novel and produce the next pages of text without too much effort, but the summer job is keeping me from percolating on the short stories I need to write. Not enough quiet thinking time. Sometimes, writing a novel feels like throwing thousands of words into a giant hole. I can’t help the ever-so-slight sense of not doing enough, all centred around how I haven’t added anything to the short story list, even when I’m successfully exceeding my daily word quota.

Part of my drive to push a few extra hundred words in here and there stems from the inevitability that my next holiday will be writing-free. Date of departure is approaching rapidly, and I’m helpless in the face of three weeks of writing lost to being away.

Not only am I making up for those days off in advance with my extra effort now, but I’m looking ahead to what my writing plans will be when I return. One of the biggest things I tell many creative friends is to forgive themselves when life gets in the way. We’re a damn critical bunch, and harshest upon ourselves for any perceived lapse.

I’d love to believe I could keep up my excellent daily word count for the duration of my holiday, but every single other vacation has proven otherwise. There’s just not enough time or mental energy to spare when I’m out of the house. I could try and fight it, but I think this is one of the instances where forgiving myself is more important than struggling against the path of least resistance. I mean, it’s supposed to be a holiday, right?

Afterwards, though, I have to be honest, and persistent, and stubborn when vacation time is over. It’s too easy to pretend like the excuses have validity and weight when it’s “just writing”. At no point would I call my manager and tell her I can’t come back to the day job because I’m recovering from holidays. I wouldn’t give up partway through my shift because I’m tired and it’s hard to rebuild the routine. Writing is no longer a just-for-me activity. I have external expectations to meet.

So that will be the thing I fight against, and not simply forgive: the tendency to let myself cruise along as if writing is just too hard when I’ve taken a break. Yes, it is difficult to get back into the groove with a three-week-hiccup in the way, but not enough to actually matter! Step one is my mental approach. I have two jobs to come back to, end of story.

It’s one thing to be forgiving, and another to let myself wallow in lingering post-vacation laziness.



Of all the best intentions

I make plans to blog on Sunday, and that’s fine. I forget it’s Sunday when it is. I remember, and half-write a post. I get distracted and irritable, then watch anime for four hours (finally got around to watching Darker Than Black, and it’s all kinds of awesome). I forget it’s Sunday again, or forget I meant to blog, I’m not sure which happened anymore.

Monday morning, and I look back over the past week of taking a break from most major writing. I’m feeling the urge coming back, but I still have a handful of other responsibilities. I ignore half of them, and read the internet to see what other people were doing while I was asleep. Then I remember to blog, and come to write this post.

After walking beside the beach yesterday, I want to take a little more time. Relax, hang out. We’ve got something vacation-like booked in a week or thereabouts, but as with all organised holidays, it’s never really that chill for me. There are Things that we Will Be Doing. It’s planned. I enjoy going to new places, and it’s awesome that my husband gets so excited to be doing something different, but it won’t be the same as just sitting around outside.

Some people write long blogs, and I could do that. Keep going, talk more in-depth about my thoughts, my work, whatever comes to mind. But I write short, as just a window into my daydreams. As with all the best intentions, I’d like to go laze about under the rain, but I’ll probably get back to writing a story soon. I can feel it building.