One lonely wine bottle. Used to be I’d host a writers’ group and send four or five bottles to the recycle. The group is dying out.
We’ve faced this before. Life gets in the way and people end up doing other things. We have two members moving to Boston and several with other work or personal commitments. The thing seems to go in ebbs and flows. The flow, last time, happened when I took a couple of classes at UCLA Extension and invited fellow students to join. This time, I’m not planning to take any classes.
My other group is thriving. I can’t help but compare, and wonder, what makes a writing group tick? Why are some people so committed, and others not? And inevitably, what can I do to spark that commitment, or how do I find other people who already have it?
The key to this, I think, is allowing myself the time I need. Work on other things, perhaps. It’s hard to dissuade the nagging feeling that I should be able to speed up the process.
I’ve been reading some inspiring articles. Useful during this slump I’m in. Remember: failure is a pathway to success, doubt is a tool. Be the artist that I am.
Recently I’ve been struggling to put in more than a hour a day of fiction writing. Sure, there are things like life getting in the way. All that stuff that just takes time to do. Everything takes time. There are relationships to maintain, other projects I want to work on. I’ve also started a new personal growth and development program that is seven months long, not to mention a 10+ hour commitment each week. It took some adjusting to get back into the swing of things after traveling, too.
But none of that really has anything to do with writing or not. I know I can work my schedule out. So what is it?
About a week and a half ago, I met with one of my readers. He is an actor, a screenwriter, studied literature in college. He knows something about story. See Julian Conrad’s blog here.
He gave me an incredible critique. I’m grateful for his feedback – he is the only one from my last round of readers who took the time to sit down with me and go through his comments. Yet, since the critique I’ve been stopped. I haven’t been revising.
Why? I’m processing. Solutions are being generated, I can feel it. And sometimes, it takes time. Is there a way to speed this process? When I wrote papers in college, usually I didn’t want to, and I had to force myself to just sit down and slog through. When I was finished at least I had something to work with. Creativity isn’t like that.
There are ways to generate creativity, but I don’t think this is one of those times. Sometimes you have to let the ideas roil around, so when you sit down to revise, something comes out.
I wouldn’t call it a block. Merely a bump.
An incredibly delicious birthday cheesecake from my mom
gorgeous birthday tulips from my boyfriend
Another year passed. I am still working on my novel with no near end in sight. My mentor asked me today if I am experiencing frustration with the fact that this is taking longer than I thought it would. Yes, yes I am. This, he tells me, is normal.
I am also experiencing frustration over not writing for a month while traveling. This, my mentor tells me to simply give up. It’s done. “That dog won’t hunt.” There’s no use beating myself up about it.
So, here we are, another year gone and yet – very much closer to being a successful writer. Almost halfway through the third draft. Now I am back to the daily struggle of scheduling, of writing. The first time I sat down and worked on my novel for an hour since my travels – oh, that felt good.
All of my birthday celebrations, in NY and in LA, were amazing. And, regardless of frustration, I am so happy to be writing again.