Friday, September 21, 2007

The Perverse Power of "Supposed To"

After the insanity that was my work life for the first two weeks of September, I took this week off with the express intention of writing at least one scene per day each day. With no paying work to be done, the kids in school, and my only other obligation being to catch up on the housecleaning I've been letting slide for ages, it should have been easy.

But did I accomplish my goal? Um, no! Sadly, I haven't even managed to finish ONE scene this week (though today's not over yet, so there's still hope :->). Eek!

Yesterday, whilst chatting with my IM bud and fellow Cobblestone author Emma Petersen, I had an epiphany. Part of the reason I am having trouble writing is because it's what I'm supposed to be doing.

You see, when what I'm supposed to be doing is my paying work, I find it terribly easy to avoid it by writing. But when what I'm supposed to be doing is writing...hmmm, it just became work. And so, what do I do? Avoid it! (You do not want to know how much daytime TV I've watched this week. SCARY! And, er, I've actually vacuumed and cleaned the bathrooms TWICE! Something is definitely very, very wrong with this picture.)

For a long time, I've pined for the day I can give up the day gig and write full-time. But after this week, I'm not so sure. If the only thing I was supposed to do, day in and day out, was writing, would I do it? Or would I spend all my time putting it off in favor of something else, even something as plainly unpleasant as cleaning the bathroom or watching endless reruns of Law & Order: SVU?

Obviously, I haven't got the answer for this conundrum. But perhaps you do! Do share!

5 comments:

lacey kaye said...

Oh, I don't have the answer. I will say that I've had EXACTLY the same experience since the boyfriend and I parted ways. Used to be the muse went on vacation, and I was able to deal with that. I loved writing SO MUCH that I wrote through it. I wrote crap just to avoid not writing at all, and I was happy.

Then I found myself suddenly single, with all the time in the world to devote to writing. And I've written almost nothing since.

I will never quit my day job. I say it all the time at work, and like you, if I needed anymore proof at all, September is it.

beverley said...

That happens to me sometimes, but I give myself a goal and I'm pretty good about sticking to it. I sit down and stare at the computer until something comes to me. Once I start writing, I'm usually good to go. It's getting started that might take a half hour or so. And I'm a notorious reviser so I can do that for hours upon hours on end when I really need to be completing the last 7000 words of my book!!!

Ericka Scott said...

Just pretend that housework is your REAL work...boy, it sure does inspire me to write!

Ann Aguirre said...

This is the only job I ever wanted, so now that I've got it, I'm tickled to have it.

Writer & Cat said...

When I first quit my day job, I didn't fill my time wisely for 2 weeks or so. I wandered around in an aimless vacuum. After that I hit a much healthier equilibrium, career-wise...but then I got pregnant.

You could unplug the tv and the internet. Yep, unplug. Then they can't eat your head. And set yourself word goals that, if you don't achieve them, you don't get food! Once you get in the habit, I believe it gets easier.

Jody W.