So, one of my editing jobs is complete, the other not so very long or intensive. I can finally see my way to the world of creative writing beyond.
Indeed, I actually managed to fire up my WIP for the first time since Christmas. I carved out an hour to do something original, something new, and… I failed.
It seems as if just having the time isn’t enough. One must also have brains in order to write, and, right now, I’m just not getting anywhere.
Frustration. But also optimism. Because writing is work, and I can do work. It’s just a case of sitting behind the keyboard and staring at the screen until those black marks on the screen – the words, I mean, and not just the dirt – make sense, and then they start talking to you.
I never really understood what it means to say you’re blocked. I’m finding it hard right now – does that mean I’m blocked? Does it signify something horribly awry with the work I’ve produced thus far? I don’t think so. I believe in what I’ve done, imperfect though it is at this stage. My problem is that I’m out of practice; since August I’ve not had a few straight weeks to just focus on the manuscript, and that’s costing me now.
But I will continue. I will keep scratching away, one word at a time, doing as little as I’m able each session until either a) the metaphorical pen begins to fly again and I realise that I’ve slipped back into the swing of things, or b) I look back and realise that all this scratching has added up to a solid page or two of writing.
It won’t be very good, of course. But that’s what second drafts are for.
So at the moment I’m taking odd moments to reacquaint myself with the situation I’ve left myself and my characters in. Just adding a few words here and there as the inspiration finds me. Treading water, not really getting anywhere.
But all this is valuable. It is the building blocks of progress. It’s not ideal; ideal would be to sit down and write solidly until the work is done. But it is what I have to work with after real life is added to the equation.
They say that genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration*. I’m no genius but it’s where I am. I’ve had my moment of inspiration – a dream 16 months ago – and now I’ve just got to sweat it out.
Any future biopic of me will surely rewrite this section of my life. Score points for determination, but it ain’t never going to be the most dramatic Oscar-worthy sequence.
*Edison said that. Leacock puts the figures at 10-90. Can’t even agree on that one.