Thursday, October 18, 2012

Writing to avoid writing

As a writer, I often find myself puttering about in the style P.J. O'Rourke writes about here: On Avoiding Writing. Further, rather than doing things to avoid writing altogether, I find myself writing things other than projects that I'm supposed to be completing--that is, while I should be working on my novel, which is currently gathering pixel dust somewhere on the dusty shelves of my hard drive, I find myself writing responses to political arguments or other posts, creating blog entries, etc. The question is, what to do about it.

I've tried the old, make it your habit to work on your current writing project for a set time before you do anything else approach, and just have not found myself to be disciplined enough. Personally, I think that's a cop out and I know if I really wanted to do it, I could make myself do it, just as I do other things that aren't really that pleasant, such as exercise, for the reward of good health. The reward of working on the appropriate writing project is a completed project that could perhaps go before a publisher.

I think I must find more enjoyment in the present from avoiding writing than I do in working toward the goal of completion. Maybe that's because I have so many interests that it doesn't really matter to me if I write or not, but again, I'm losing the big picture that would tell me that if I worked on writing long enough to become a successful writer, that is making a good living at it, I'd have more time to pursue those things I'm interested in.

That and it's much easier to fit in a three or four paragraph blog post than it is finding time to work on my novel. Part of the problem is, my blocks of time are so small, it seems like I'm riding a tricycle across America when I work on my novel. The old adage "slow and steady wins the race" may be true, but sometimes it just isn't pleasant.

So what to do about this? I think I need to complete the inner struggle of defining who I am as a writer and at a deeper level, as a person. If I'm to continue as a writer, I must write, and I must work on those projects that will define me as such, not for anyone else's definition, but for my own. In my own mind, in my heart of hearts, when I have written and published a novel which people actually buy, only then will I truly have become what I personally believe I'm capable of becoming.

If I fail to reach that goal, then I have not maximized my abilities. I may have improved them and honed them in such a way that I can convey thoughts in a lucid manner on the printed page, but I have not achieved what I set out to achieve many years ago. It's something I need to seriously think about.

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