Ever since ringing in the new year, I’ve been in a weird place mentally. I haven’t been able to find a balance between what demands my attention physically and mentally. I haven’t written anything other than Wendig’s first challenge of the year, and for a little while, I was blaming the difficulty I had with that challenge on my temporary burn out. But I was merely making yet another excuse for my lack of productivity. (I am the Queen of excuses.. no, seriously I am. I’d show you my crown, but I seem to have misplaced it…) What I was experiencing was more of a writing rut, not to be confused with writer’s block. There is (and never will be) a shortage of projects to work on, plots to foil, characters to create, love, hate, and destroy. I have so much that I could be working on, but for the first time ever I think, I didn’t care to. I have never not cared about the worlds in my head and the people that inhabit them. Their struggles always sucked me in like a Dyson (never loses suction, EVER!) and I would oftentimes find it hard to pull myself away from the imaginative and face reality. But then I stopped caring.
I finally came to the conclusion that it was because I had stopped reading. Every writer knows that a writer must always be reading, and apart from a few non-fictions, I hadn’t read anything in a good long while. So, I forced myself to pick up a book and to crack open the cover. It didn’t take long for the walls to start coming down and feel more like myself. I began to imagine, to plan, and most importantly, to care again. I no longer had the desire to kill off every single one of my main characters in one completely unrealistic blow. I was coming back! Yay!
Then Wendig posted this, and it has followed every imaginative thought I’ve since had.
“You gotta write stuff that scares the shit out of you.”
Heh, I thought, yeah, that’ll never happen. My fears are stupid and usually unfounded, and really just hint at some weird condition that would require a professional to diagnose. Yeah, no. But, just as the quoted wisdom from above came from the land of dreams, so do many of my thoughts and ideas. Needless to say, I’ve had some weird dreams lately, and they have played on my fears quite a bit. Wendig’s words make sense to me, but so does my disinterest in dissecting my sanity to lay bare my insecurities. Basically, I thought, he’s a smart guy, but he’s crazy! Enter a few days of “well, if I’m not willing to put myself out there, then why am I even writing in the first place? Blah blah, wah wah, my desire to write is a joke and a waste of time, blah blah, wah wah.” You get the point, I’m sure.
So I was thinking about this today and had a thought occur to me, and it has been a hard pill to swallow. It’s not that I don’t want to write what scares me, it’s that I can’t. I don’t have the balls to. (Enter another few minutes of ‘blah blah wah wah why am I doing this then?’) I don’t have the confidence, the courage, the lack of giving a damn to actually throw some things onto the screen and actually leave them there. I just can’t. But I have to. If I don’t, then really, why I am I doing this? I guess the moral of this ramble is, if you’re not willing to grab the bull by the horns and go, then grab a seat and shut up. It’s time to grow up or go away.
I hope to learn many things on this journey to non-wimpyness, but I know it will take time and it will be a very difficult one mentally. Let’s hope there is a giant piece of white chocolate chip raspberry cheese cake waiting for me at the end, because that would certainly be a nice surprise.