A Sluggish/Not So Sluggish Writing Start to 2014

Hard to believe that the second month of 2014 is nearly done. (Even though it is the shortest month of the year.) At the end of last year, I set a series of writing goals for 2014, and I noticed that in some ways I’m doing well and in others I am not doing as well as I would have liked. More specifically, I seem to be doing a great job at editing and publish-related tasks on my list. And I continue to make a fair amount of progress when it comes to some outlining. But the actual writing of new material has gone slower than I would I have wanted. I’m not worried yet, but let’s just say it’s something I’ve noticed.

I’ve started two of the short stories I intended to write this year, but have not been back to them in a few weeks. I have character sketches of the stage play I want to finish by the end of the year, as well as a broad outline of the plot. Some great ideas came to me for that last week which may solve a few of the problems I was having. But I haven’t yet begun to write the script. I’ve begun to commit the script of my already written one-man show to memory for later this year.

I’ve been editing Thank You For Ten and I think I’ve chosen the order in which I want the stories in that collection to appear. I have my account at Smashwords and I’ve been talking to some people about the process.

So I have achieved a lot already in 2014 in regards to my words. It just hasn’t been related to creating new stories.

Perhaps the material I chose to start the year with is not the most inspiring to me right now. It’s possible. Perhaps I’m still a bit burned out on creating new fiction after the sprint of Nanowrimo and finishing an entire novel in that for the first time ever. I’d hope it wasn’t that, though. I don’t think it is, but I can’t dismiss the possibility. Then there’s the fact editing and outlining in and of themselves take up a certain amount of creative energy. And since I only have so much of that energy at any given time, I may find myself running low when it comes writing rough drafts of new material. Maybe I’m lazy? Though again, given all of the other work I have done regarding my work, I dismiss that suggestion quickly.

I’ve even considered the possibility that the atrocious winter we’ve experienced on the East Coast of the United States this year has contributed. I have never liked winter, and I haven’t been able to get outside much, without freezing my face off or dodging mud, ice and snow. I haven’t been able to walk as much as I normally would in somewhat better weather. There is a certain quasi-oppression that goes with bad winters. It could be that my creativity is limited to what is already in front of me, or at least to broader ideas and concepts as opposed to precise writing.

But if I think about it too much, it will only make it worse, right? A writer must write, yes, but I have never been one of those “butt in chair every day” types. I don’t respond well to whips, even if I am my own task master.

Then there is the possibility that I am in fact writing. I was thinking earlier today that I should probably stop making a distinction where none exists. I may not be producing new rough drafts of material at the moment as often as I would like, but I am producing writing. The process of good writing is about rough drafts and getting it done, of course. But it’s also about considering how the piece can be improved, marking said improvements and of course actually making the changes. Writing is about staying with one idea for a while, exploring it, asking it questions, seeing if it has the chops to make it as an actual piece. Writing is about setting the stage, (at least for me) and considering the plans. Changing plans if needed. It’s about asking one’s self the difficult creative questions before work begins on a project to which one is committed. And it’s about getting the answers to those questions. In those senses, I have been quite productive with my writing thus far in 2014.

And of course it will even out. It always does. If the short stories I started with don’t click, I can set them aside and work on something that does. That ball will roll again, and in the mean time I keep editing and polishing that which I already have available to me. It’s all getting to the same place in the end, isn’t it?

If you’re in the same situation, let’s try not to be too hard on ourselves. If we can’t write, we can edit. If we can’t edit, we can outline. If we can’t outline we can brainstorm, and if we can’t even do that, we can always read the work of others until our own writing gears are moving once again. Or go to a museum, or listen to music or watch a movie…

How sluggish or productive has your writing of new material been lately? Does it worry you?



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