I woke up yesterday and bounced out of bed like Tigger after eating to many blue M&M’s. I had a plan you see. No, not just a plan, but a mission! I was going to write my little socks off and make real progress with three different projects. I made a great start and sorted out the order of the scenes for the blues musical and worked out how everything would fit into the time limit I have. And then life happened. I will spare you boring details and sum it up with one word: family.
Five minutes later I was away from my computer and my writing and dealing with…things. I didn’t get back for another five hours and I was too tired to think about writing anything good and tired enough that all my carefully constructed defences against feeling negative were overwhelmed by an Atilla the Hun style guerilla attack. Attack, cut and slash, retreat before the enemy knows what is happening. Rinse and repeat. (Ok, I know that Sun Tzu did probably not phrase it as ‘rinse and repeat’ in The Art of War, but you get the idea).
Then all I could do was endure the waves of doubt that I will never make it as a writer, that my book is not any good and that I will not get an agent, that everything that people said to me about it never going to happen might have been true. I also felt a keen sense of meaninglessness (although I admit that might be more to do with researching existentialism for a play than anything else: I am not sure though. I will take it to therapy). What is the point of anything I write? Why am I writing a blog? Or a TV script? Or anything?
I am sure that anyone who has ever written something will feel these emotions at some point or in some way. My point is not that these are unique to me, in fact it is the complete opposite. I did have an epiphany on the subject however: it was the first time I have ever had to actually deal with these emotions about sending a book to agents and waiting for a reply or not, rather than me thinking about it several months ago and thinking confidently ‘Nah, I will be able to deal with all that, easy peasy.’
So, I asked my friend Marton and my g-homie Gauri why I was doing any of it? There were lots of responses, but I will list the ones that I think might help me and, hopefully anyone else who might feel the same way. In the end, I think this is all I can do. Try and find the positives and keep plugging away.
1: I do it because I think (mostly) I will succeed.
Of course there are doubts. On balance, if the doubts are fewer than the times I believe in myself, then I can weather the bad times by remembering the good.
2: You are just at a low ebb. Take a break for a day.
Ok, aside from this post, I am going to take a break today and re-jig my writing mojo. I hate the phrase re-filling the well or any other hippy/artsy way of saying I am all out of writing juice and I need to fill up. It is sound advice. Even writing this, I am struggling to think of words. I even struggled with the word ‘progress’ earlier in this post. The word just would not come to me. So, writing mojo re-jigging ahoy!
3: I carry on because I am insanely stubborn.
I can’t help but laugh that my beloved fiance said this. It is undeniably true. I refuse to give up until I have won.
4: I don’t want to let people who doubted me be right.
Now, this is not the most positive tool in my box and I acknowledge that it is not the reason to carry on. However, when ebbs are low, use anything you can to keep going and believing. Anger can be a useful short term tool and a little ‘screw you’ attitude can get you through a tough time. Just remember to put the lid back on it when you are back in shape.
In conclusion, I am going to keep my head down for today, but I am certainly coming out fighting tomorrow.
Take care buddies,