I Used to Write

February 6, 2014 at 6:42 am (writing)

I used to write. I’m writing now even, if this counts, while sitting on a bus, hoping to regain some of the heat lost to treacherous cold.

I used to write a lot, and I used to write often. That doesn’t happen anymore. There are a lot of reasons for this. I used to be a student, living at home, only working in the summers. If I wasn’t with my friends (though sometimes even then we were writing, stories or D&D sessions), then we were on the computer, playing MUDs or writing posts for a plethora of RPGs we belong to. Star Wars, the Wheel of Time, ones in worlds of my own creation (with far more world building than we ever needed). There were not a lot of things to get in the way. Now?

Responsibilities (and weather/stress induced headaches that result in my bus trip writing time turning into nap time, but that’s another story). For me, writing has always been a leisure activity and my brain is wired in such a way that I feel bad doing a leisure activity when I can think of any responsibilities I should be fulfilling.

I know I could never be a full time writer. As an emotive writer (a term I’ve heard Tee Morris use that I like much better than “pantser” because why would pants be involved in writing when we strive so much to be without them!) I rarely know where I’m headed in a story or how I’m getting there. There are dozens of unfinished stories laying around because my idea ran out of substance. Outlines are beyond me, at least at this point. I’ve tried and failed, but will try again. Someday.

Being an emotive writer means things take longer, at least from my view. (YMMV, as they say.) There’s a lot of fiddling around trying to find a path in the dark. Days go by without any new words because I haven’t discovered the right footing. Since I don’t know what lies ahead, I can’t skip and do a later scene then come back. This stretched timing was especially evident to me during a recent project for Lemorn Literary Works. I was to write a story to be included in the upcoming anthology (titled Next Year, Things Will Be Different), but I’m also in charge of editing the rest of the stories in that book. Things came to a head when my partner asked how editing was coming along and I said I could edit or write, I can’t do both in the same block of time. I suggested dropping my story so I could get the other work done. She agreed.

Part of me was upset at this and I haven’t written any more on that story, or any other since, even though my partner said we would include it in the next collection. My brain is still hurt by that rejection and there’s so much other stuff I should be doing that it has again decided writing is for personal enjoyment and therefore not priority.

I’ve been following some RPers on tumblr lately, and it has brought back memories of my own days at that game. I miss it. But how could I keep up with these students who are online the entirety of their day? In my time, we often waited weeks for the other person to reply, but now? People start commenting quite quickly about the frustration of waiting for their partner to respond. And again, this would be another activity that eats into the limited time of the day. (My day job coworker from a sister location promised me he would make sure I got 27 hour days, but he’s still working on it apparently.)

Sorry, had to switch buses. I’m not sure if this one even has heat. Distractions abound. There’s something else. The majority of my writing/editing time is on my bus ride to and from work. With editing, the fact that I’m taking two buses isn’t a big issue. With writing however, it provides a frustrating interruption at times. The noise and movement isn’t an issue (I need noise to focus well), it’s the getting up, walking and waiting. It breaks any flow.

So these are the challenges I need to overcome: mental blocks regarding what I “should” be doing, maintaining focus with frequent interruptions, writing a bloody outline. Maybe this can be the year I achieve it. Maybe there will be a finished something this year. Wish me luck?


1 Comment

  1. Seth Swanson said,

    The key is to keep trying, keep writing. Even if its only a hundred words a day (which I’m not the best at). And there are tons of “Emotive writers” who just can’t do outlining or planning. I use a bit of brainstorming, some mind maps and some outlines to get a general sense of where I’m going every time I sit down. There’s a lot of ways to go. Do what makes you happy though and you’ll be good.

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