When the Going Gets Tough

For the past week, working on my novel has brought a sensation similar to extensive dental work. My 500 word goal, once easy to surpass, has become difficult to come close to.

I stayed up late the other night, just trying to force a few words down, but it was such a struggle. I was exhausted after a hundred words or so. And then something occurred to me that hasn’t yet in the course of writing this novel:

Why don’t I just give up?

What scared me most about the question was not that I asked it, but that it made sense.

Things have gotten hard. Life has gotten busy. My room has become a mess.

I’ve let so many things distract me, fill my time, and take my energy that I have not given myself any space to be creative.

It’s draining.

I have filled my time with good things, things that need to be done. But am I making time to do the work I was called to do?

Probably not.

For me, what does this mean? It means I need to be more intentional about how I spend my time. Working part-time from home, I will have to have set hours for work and set hours for writing, and I can’t take from one to give to the other. I will have to set aside moments for house work while still guarding those moments for creativity.

I also need to stop suppressing creative urges just because they are not convenient. For whatever reason, I have stopped carrying around my beloved notebook and I’m seeing how my creativity is suffering because of it. I am not providing a way to capture my ideas. That’s not fair to my work or my sanity.

So no, I am not giving up. I have made it this far and have too many cheerleaders willing to help me along. I can’t ignore either of those things. This novel will get written, but I need to make that a possibility.

Some re-prioritizing is in order.

What about you? When it gets hard to complete something that you’re passionate about, how do you push onward? I’d love to hear so please comment!

xo,
          –Lex

I No Longer Believe in Writer’s Block: Part I

If you were to ask me a month ago what my biggest challenge with my novel was, I would have told you writer’s block.

Fast forward to now, I’d tell you that it’s me.

I’m lazy. And writing is hard!

For the past three months, I have balked from writing some hard chapters. It was easier to write a pithy blog post that didn’t mean much to me than to do the hard work of cultivating my fiction. That’s not writer’s block. That’s being a wuss.

So do I think you can get blocked while writing? Of course! but I think it’s more a creativity block that needs to be worked. In my experience, a novel is like a rubik’s cube. It needs to be worked at and arranged. It may not fit all together the first time through–that’s what revising is for. But there comes those moments where you get stuck and you need to strategize.

In fiction, you’re not only juggling words, but a plot–with multiple scenes and plot lines–and characters–lot’s of them with relationships and points-of-view and faults and conflicts–and symbolism and research. There’s a lot going on!

It’s easy to reach a creativity bump and just give up for a little bit. I am pushing myself to no longer put down the rubik’s cube, but to work with it, to think through the knots in a plot line or the issues with a character. It’s hard, but so worth the trouble.

xo,
            –Lex