As the title of this post suggests, I’ve tentatively returned to the saddle of actually attending to my Work In Progress, hereafter, as much as I can remember, to be referred to as my WIP. (That’s the official, professional writer designation…) Anyway, for a whopping TWO consecutive days now, I’ve actually gone into my office and done something somewhat related to writing.
When I found myself repeatedly avoiding the work, bored by the very thought of it, unable to figure out why it bored me, I decided to be very nice to myself, gently insisting at first that all I need do was come into the room for a period of time. I’ve been in here working on decluttering, taking stuff out of the closet, getting rid of some of it to make room for stuff from other rooms and the stuff on the bed in the office … and berating myself for not attending to the writing.
So I turned it around. Using the essential Flylady timer, I decided I would do writing things in the 15 minute blocks Flylady likes to call baby steps. I aim for coming into the office around 9 or 10 in the morning, but if that doesn’t happen, afternoons will work too. Then I decided on five things I would do while I’m in here.
In keeping with the spirit of The Artist’s Way, which you may recall I was working on last winter, first up would be 15 minutes of writing in my writing log or doing morning pages, whatever I wanted to do/call it.
Next, 15 minutes of decluttering the office until it’s done. After all… I was doing it anyway, it was in the office and writing related since the clutter and mounds of stuff have been very distracting mentally .
Task 3 is 15 minutes of reading about writing. I have a number of writing books on my shelves I haven’t read, and others I have and could easily reread to my advantage and it was to one of these I thought I’d turn. Instead, I felt led to pick out my own journal kept from May 2000 through January of 2002, chronicling my journey through the beginnings of Enclave (then referred to as Black Box) and my current WIP (ha ha! I remembered the acronym!). One of the first things I came upon in reading my own journal from over ten years ago– at least two years before any of my books had sold — was this:
“Well, I’m officially at work on Black Box now, after several days of easing into it. I have some pages of log on the computer, beginning (over a year ago) the day I first developed the characters — very sketchy, but names and some form at least. My complaint then was that it does not seem Meaningful like Arena and (The Light of) Eidon, just a ditzy little thriller…
“The next entry was (a day later) — I checked out books. After that, the next one is this month… So here we go… I feel blank and at a loss, but hey that’s old hat. That’s almost the way I’m supposed to feel…”
Several paragraphs later…
“I’ve made some progress but… This is interesting. I am bored. I’m trying to get going on Black Box and I’m not excited or inspired at all. Is it me? Is it the spark of life that’s missing? Is it that I’m pretty sure Arena’s not going to be bought this month and thus Eidon is a complete waste? It’s a good book, but it’s not going anywhere (publishing-wise). The only one with hope of going somewhere is Black Box and I don’t care about it. Is that a problem?”
Well, seeing as this is exactly how I’ve been feeling about The Other Side of the Sky, minus the angst about whether it’s going to sell or not, since it already has, that was quite encouraging. And this even more so:
“I’m feeling restless, like I’m wasting my time, but I think all this is part of my process and is okay. Understanding what I’m doing and why, will help me look in the right direction when it comes to my ruminations. Last night I spent some time listening to Lorie Line and trying to get hold of who Cameron is and why I should admire him…I also went through the oldest of my journals I could find — May of ’93 –wherein I was already to chapter 10 of rough draft on Arena and feeling lost, frustrated, etc. I was basically feeling my way along. Nothing but the broadest of outlines (at the time)…”
This is all SO familiar. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but I never seem to be. And yet… and yet, as I mentioned in the pages I’ve just been quoting from, it’s clear that God’s intention for me is that I do the work as unto Him, with the proper power system (filled with the Holy Spirit) and motivation (to bring glory to Him; to obey Him in using this gift He’s given me) and leave the results to Him.
It’s just so darned uncomfortable. It feels so much like I’m doing nothing but wandering around. It feels very incompetent.
“By means of faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, NOT KNOWING WHERE HE WAS GOING.” ~ Heb 11:8