I hate feeling uncreative. It seems as if I’m ossified, as if my moments of productivity come at inopportune times. I hate the sudden bursts I get when I’m hours overdue for bed.
There seems to be no consistency in impetus for my inaction. The only link seems to be that when I want to do one thing another seems more appealing. If I want to be social there’s nothing to do, when I’ve got something scheduled I hope intensely for it to cancel.
I’m happy by myself, I’m happy staying in, not seeing anyone but Mary, or on the days when she’s away, working by myself, not speaking for eight hours a day, not noticing the lack of vocalization. Living loquaciously in my head. The fickleness of my social desires is a tolerable issue, but my inability to pin down my want when it comes to work makes producing something, anything, difficult.
I love writing, it has been, and continues to be, one of the few consistent joys in my life, one of the few truly selfish pleasures available, something I can demand joy from without giving back, something that costs me nothing and grants me much, but even with that, actually getting to it seems like a chore.
Residual lethargy from depression. Honest fatigue. Perhaps even allergies play a part. The causes aren’t so important as the result, that I don’t get so much done as I’d like.
That, in turn, distresses me, and the process becomes cyclical, disappointment breeding indolence and so on into complete stagnation.
Being a fossil hardly makes me happy, so there’s even a level for me to sink to below bottom, one where I have to force myself to do things without a sense of relief just as a means of building myself back to a place from where I can ascend.
I suppose it’s a lot like exercise. According to a poster mounted on one of the gym’s corkboards, one must work for a month before he sees results in himself, two before friends do, and three before his appearance to strangers seems altered. There’s a great deal of laboring in the dark before one can see any result and a great deal more before anyone else will, if they do at all.
Such it is with most endeavors. Writing is the same. I‘ve been working, granted unsteadily, on my sci-fi piece for more than a month. I have 20,000 words of which I’m sure I’ll have to cut at least a quarter. That I can’t even count yet on what I’ve written makes it seem as if there’s little to show for my work. I see the 60 odd MS Word pages, and to me it means something. In another few months, provided I can keep at it, the piece will resolve into a first draft. In a sense, I’m laboring to get to the starting line. I can’t accept outside edits until the piece has an ending, and my own aren’t as useful in making a better piece. No one’s self criticism is as good as even half-decent peer critique. Once the first draft is done, I can seek the aid of friends. The work will start to show to others. Months beyond that I’ll have a workable item, something between publication and draft. In this way, writing has a fourth stage that exercise doesn’t. After one’s lost his weight, gained his muscle, then become more attractive to strangers, he’s expected to win a professional’s approval for having done so. The publication process is akin to having to win a bodybuilding competition to legitimize one’s workouts.
I feel I’m up to the task, I just wish there were a few, more immediate, approbations to light the way between now and then.
As the 102 year old woman said, the key to keeping going is to keep going.
As Reznor said, the only way out is through.
It is difficult. It’s not impossible.