Friday, 14 September 2012

The Writer's Slump

I am learning all too well the difficulties of the ability to just keep up the writing. The last month or so have not been the best for me in terms of regular posts as indicated by my poor performing starts and beyond laughable earnings. Sadly I cannot blame writers block (although I have been hit by that on occasion) and there is certainly no shortage of material or ideas rattling in my hyperactive screaming brain. My biggest enemy is time and energy. My goal is to become a full time writer, which I am sure has already been said on this blog. Until sites and publications come knocking down my door begging me to grace their domains and limited page spaces with my various thoughts ideas and snippets of information carefully constructed into an article (selah.....now breathe), I have to work full time to help pay the bills, eat etc. 

There are many qualities about my job that I do like, such as working with some of the top legal minds of the country, have laughs with my colleagues, and I earn my pay sitting behind a desk, so no hard labour involved. However it is a mentally and at times emotionally demanding role that can leave one drained at the end of the day when all you want to do is kick off your shoes and crash on the sofa (for me it's the floor cushioned with a hefty bean bag). This leaves me mainly with the evening to sit at my desk and write, and no doubt you can imagine the battle of wills that goes on inside when all the brain wants to do is watch the latest episode of Dallas or The Walking Dead. Even a riveting book seems like too much effort and for me it seems to be happening an awful lot lately.

Finding the optimum time to sit down and write when you have to juggle other responsibilities can be tasking at the best of times, and I wonder how those with families manage to do it. For me it is the job that takes up those hours in the day when we are all functioning at our best. I try to find time where I can and for me the best time is lunch hour when taking refuge in a coffee shop with free wi-fi, netbook fired up typing away. The added buzz of caffeine from a quality mug of hot java combined with the knowledge of only limited time to put any thoughts down can help create some impressive work, even if I do say so myself. Yet such moments are short lived and soon the time to return to the rodent race quickly arrives to kill the mood. 



When it's hard to find enough lucid and focused time to craft a blog post, research an article, or even check stats, it is easy to feel a little despondent, even to the point of downing tools for good. I have lost count of the number of times I simply wanted to walk away from this calling and put the time to productive and leisurely use, and have been known to rant on about this frustration much to the understandable annoyance of my partner. Luckily she is an understanding soul and in a true act of support rolls her eyes and tells me not to be silly then offering constructive pointers and honest praise. Supportive friends and family takes the sting away from the frustration, if writing is beyond being a hobby, and I am fortunate in that regard. I have read instances in letter columns featuring fellow aspiring writers being ridiculed, ignored and even discouraged from writing. 

If like me you are balancing a full time responsibility with trying to succeed as a paid writer no doubt similar frustrations have slapped you around and you're left feeling a little wiped out. At this point your inner naysayers will talk you out of your writing passion using your sense of priorities against you and playing on that all hovering sense that you are just not up to the challenge. Really this is just ego talking, parts of the mind that like to feed off our negativity with a tendency to make us feel inadequate. What keeps me focused is the realisation that when I get out of bed in the morning one of my first instincts (aside from rushing to the loo) is to fire up the laptop and get writing. Setting aside time and suitable space are vital for productive quality writing but to quash those inner (and some outer) voices of doom and failure, just remember if when you wake up in the morning and one of your first thoughts is of writing, then you are a true writer and nothing should distract you from the dream of being a successful and published writer. 

Keep the faith. 

Image Credits; Sean MacEntee

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