One of the tricks of working all on your own, is that it's too easy to listen to the screech of fear. Or to its shifty quiet comrade: the overwhelming, convicting malaise that says "I can't do it."
Here's where I'm at today: I caught a mega sinus infection that's left me foggy of brain and snoggy of nose. (Blerg.) I've managed to do a little work while being sick, but 2+ weeks is a long time to be limping along.
It's been a while since I've been able to really immerse in work, and I feel like I'm losing the trail of my story.
You know what I need? A pep rally. Something big, with all the cheerleaders and teammates and the band playing their hearts out.
I need to get jumping up and down again. I need to get back on track.
Because after a big momentum-check like being sick, it's too easy to get stuck.
It's too easy to just stay up there on the diving board of your day or your writing session and not jump.
Too easy to say, "Meh. I think that's too much for me."
The truth is: Resistance has a lot of megaphones on its side.
So how about we switch things up.
Ever notice that the more you pay attention to how much you don't want to do something, the harder it is to do it? It's like you're building a wall between you and the thing you need to do.
And you keep reinforcing it, with every minute you spend not doing it.
The longer you let yourself stay in that limbo, and the more you analyze your emotions about doing this Hard Thing, the more impossible it becomes.
We gotta stop doing that.
So let's go write.
Let's write when we're tired. Write when our brains are blank. Write when we have nothing to say.
Let's write even when we can't remember why we do this.
What is winning? Winning means putting words on paper. Reaffirming our commitment to this thing, this writing life.
Re-teaching ourselves why we do it, as we do it.
So we turn a blank page into a page full of ink. Straw into gold. Again and again and again.
It's so easy to be trapped by how overwhelmed we feel. How daunting the task.
How we're maybe/probably/certainly/definitely not doing everything right. It's easy to worship the idea of "doing things right."
It's okay to be afraid. It's just that we also keep working. We don't act on the fearing; we act on the writing.
We choose to dive in. To say: I don't know how this is going to work out, but I'm going to do it ANYWAY.
We remind ourselves: we didn't sign up for this writing life because it was going to be so easy. We signed up because we had to.
We signed up because the guarantee has always been this: It will be hard, and it will be worth it.
When we want to step away, we'll instead step closer.
When wrangling with our characters is the last thing we want to do: we'll loosen our grip, let go, and dream them up again.
We'll imagine them whole and real and motivated, and then we'll follow what they do. And write it all down.
If the spark of loving your work has flickered out, don't despair. Mine's gone out a zillion times, and then re-sparked a zillion times plus one.
If ink is in your blood, that spark always does come back.
If you've lost momentum on your project, the really great news is: you can build momentum again. By stepping toward your work today, right now, and choosing to re-enter that space of working. Of dreaming up words. Of writing them down.
And then you just keep swinging.
Don't worry about how it feels. Don't worry about outcome. Don't worry (for now) about quality.
Just do the work. Keep doing the work. And then momentum will show up and sweep you along.
Do what a writer does, and you get to be a writer.
It will be hard. And it will be worth it.