I hate writing. I love having written. Dorothy Parker hit the nail on the head with this one. Well, to be fair, it’s only true some of the time. Truth be told, I love the process of writing, when it’s going well, that is. The feeling of having written, however, is incomparable. Until it’s time to redraft and edit, and then it feels like it back to square one again. I’m jumping the gun though; actually I’m jumping the whole damn cavalry. It’s been a busy month [excuse #1] and time seems to be, despite my somewhat scientific leanings, speeding up [excuse #2]. It’s the last day of April and I’m only getting around to blogging, which is far from ideal but it’s become a near regular occurrence. Part of this is due to the fact that I think something interesting might happen that would be good to blog about (it rarely does) so really it’s just procrastination wearing a different frock. Like most writers I know, I have a day job [excuse #3] and at present this is a necessity in order to keep myself fed and watered and a roof over my head. That’s fine, I’m grateful of it and it’s a decent job; it’s just not what I want to be doing. This is probably the case for most people in most jobs. We are wage slaves. Needs must. Though it’s often a case of wants must but I’m too fragile for introspection today.
Anyhow, the short version is there are times when I hate writing, it’s hard, it’s frustrating, and it leaves me bruised. It overwhelms me to the point of indecision. I become frozen in the not knowing what to do next because the choices are so many. There is so much to do. There is so much self-imposed work to do. There is nobody waiting with bated breath for my next few written words. There’s just me and my feeble excuses, and as real as they are, they are pointless. If I want to have written, I need to write.
In order to achieve this I’m going to be brutal over the coming month. I’ve two main works in progress at the moment, a novel called Attrition and a theatre piece about the Romanov sisters, both of which are still in first draft stage. I’m going to focus solely on them for the month of May and have a complete first draft for at least one of them by the end of the month. All other smaller projects will have to wait. This is easier said than done but I’ll need to be strict about it. The flip side to all of this is that I love the writing process, and one can’t really exist without the other. I’m hoping that my singular focus over the coming month will move me out of the overwhelmed stage and into something more productive. The key aspect is to focus on what I love and want to achieve and work towards that, rather than getting too caught up in a million things at any one time.
I’ve described writing before as a kind of haunting or possession, one that needs to be exorcised by putting words on a page. It’s not demonic as such, nor is it bad, but it’s something that won’t let the possessed rest until it’s gotten what it wants. It keeps the writer awake at night and haunts at the most inopportune times. It keeps doing this until the story has been told. Of course, those who have been possessed once are more likely to succumb to it again (we’ve all seen dodgy horror sequels) and so the cycle continues with a new story and another possession. Sometimes it’s stressful and terrifying but not doing it is even worse. In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti…