Actually I don’t think I am, which is what is frustrating me. Or rather, I am a little unwell – look, children, near fifty you’re always a little unwell. This body is one of those cars past warranty, with nothing much wrong with it, but nickel and diming me… well, hopefully not to death. Not yet. (Honestly I don’t want to live forever. At least I assume it would get boring after a while – hasn’t yet – and at any rate, with the changes that you undergo through time, I think it’s also not you after a while, so it’s moot. Anyway, I don’t want to live forever, but I’d really like them to extend middle age to two or three years before you finally give out. Diminishing vigor is for the birds and I can’t be having with that.)
But the truth is I’m coming up from an issue that has given me problems for three years and made it difficult to work really hard. I finally figured out how to beat it, and it’s working. It’s mostly eczema – though the secondary infections from that are no picnic – but eczema over 3/4 of your body means you don’t sleep well… and that in turn means all sorts of other things. Also, one of the areas most heavily affected is my hands, so not only has typing been torture at times, but it has brought some of the housework to a standstill. Since my first six years in this house I was too busy to even unpack properly, that means we’re living in makeshift quarters, rearranged to be less makeshift, but still not “right.” It’s clean – I have to clean, being allergic to cat hair – but it’s not decorated. The walls haven’t been painted. I’ve never evaluated the furniture for the room. My office is the best arranged room in the house, and it’s still not RIGHT.
I know this sounds too frufru for words, but I am very sensitive to surroundings. Have always been. Perhaps because I grew up with a mother who was a great housekeeper, and yes, who decorated very carefully and well, I feel odd if the house looks makeshift. (Now, of course, I’ll need to set it up to show, and hopefully sell next year, since we have to move, almost for sure. Well, let’s put it this way, if Dan still has a job, we have to move. If he doesn’t, unless Indie REALLY takes off, we have… other issues.)
Anyway, so yeah, things are still not ideal, and I had to give up my remote office – the building, a large multi-story office building, is now mostly empty. It’s not something I could have foretold, since when I moved in, it was full of small businesses, but it happened and I didn’t feel safe, almost alone in that empty building, particularly since the door is left unsecured during the day, because the only other business, across the building, receives clients. – BUT the point is, I’m better than I’ve been in years, and why am I not concentrating? Why am I not writing? Why in the name of heaven am I not even publishing?
I don’t know. I read a younger writer who linked here and who talked about my work ethic and how hard I work, and it made me feel like a complete fraud.
Me? Work ethic? I’m the world’s laziest writer. Consider, if you will that I can – and have – written a novel in a week. Okay, give me time – consider I’m also supposed to be doing publishing and art and stuff – and give me three weeks per novel. Do you see me writing 14 novels a year? Weirdly, neither do I! So, why not?
What bugs me is that I don’t know. Everything will be going along fine, I’ll be getting in a rhythm, and suddenly I’m spending my days staring at the page, unable to write. It’s not lack of inspiration, mind. Most of the time, I know exactly where the story is going, and I WANT to write it. It’s like there’s a fatal block between mind and fingers, an inability of concentrating, of falling into the story world.
Yes, there are times when it is a matter of recovering. I always found the explanation of magic in Misty’s Valdemar series as a metaphor for writing – well, what else would she be going from?– when you push a novel through too fast and when it’s something you aren’t sure of, it “strips the channels” and makes you feeling raw and bruised, and you need to recover from that. But I know those times. Also that’s a productive “doing nothing” in the sense I usually do art or work on covers or something in that time. Even doing a completely different form of story sometimes works.
What baffles me are times like the last four months or so, where I’m not recovering; I’m not particularly ill – no more than I’ve been for three years – there’s nothing particularly disturbing happening… Writing just won’t come.
It used to be I assumed I was depressed: depressed about my prospects, depressed about the state of publishing… just depressed.
And that was true a lot of the time. It’s not now. Yes, I’m worried about money – still – and yes I’m still working towards fundraising. But the way out of THAT hole is to write more, not to sit here like an idiot staring at the screen.
So, what the heck is wrong with me? I’m not sure I’m a little unwell. I might, in fact, in contravention of the lyrics of the song, be crazy.
Not that it matters much. Insanity has never been a check on writing.
I’m going to try very hard – again – to work on the two almost finished novels, and to put up a few more short stories. Life is too short to sit here imitating a guppy.
Do you run into these in your work? Is it normal, or is it just my insanity? I know I’ve asked before how to get around these, how to minimize the “blank” times. I still want to know. Keep in mind it’s not lack of inspiration or not having ideas. (Right now if I live to be 120, I won’t run out of OUTLINED ideas.) And it’s not JUST writing. I’ve also not published. And I find myself remembering plans I made with friends, never finalized, that I completely forgot… and friends I meant to check on and forgot. AND I’ve been unable to read new (to me) fiction, which normally means my emotions are too raw and I can’t enter into other’s emotions unless I know VERY WELL how the story ends. Only I have no idea why my emotions would be raw. There have been no personal upheavals, other than friends dying or getting sick, which I object to but I can’t stop them doing.
I’m hoping today I can finally break through and work. But if I can’t, what do you suggest I do?