Note: My first draft of this post came out too generic, so I’ve revised it to speak directly to the writer I was ten years ago. Please substitute the specifics of your life as necessary.
You have a study with your own desk. You have mornings off to write. You’ve got no kids. You are trying (and failing) to make headway on your second book. And you’re asking yourself this question:
What is wrong with me that I can’t write under these conditions?
Okay, maybe not in so many words, but the subtext is there.
“What can I do to get more inspired? This draft feels like a lot of work.”
“Why can’t I concentrate? I need to stop getting distracted by the Internet.”
“How can I be more productive? I’ve been at this for months and I’ve only got one chapter.”
You’ve focused down on the creative process so tightly that you won’t let yourself notice anything outside of your manuscript and your writing time.
The answer is simple. There is nothing wrong with you.
suck are not conducive to creativity.
You’re trying to do complex, demanding work in the artistic equivalent of the salt mines. Your spirit is weary, your imagination is parched, and your intuition is blinded.
Of course you’re uninspired. You work two jobs ~ writing tech manuals is dull and managing a university residence is high-pressure. You’re on duty all the time.
Of course you’re distracted. You don’t get enough sleep and you’re taking everyone else’s problems too personally.
Of course you’re unproductive. You barely have the vitality required to watch TV, let alone write an epic novel with four point-of-view characters and intersecting story lines.
I’m here to give you permission to get those blinders off. Take a look around.
Why are you asking yourself to write when you’re tired and stressed? Why are you judging yourself as a writer when you’re not giving yourself the resources you need to write?
The problem is not working hard, or being busy, or wearing many hats. People write books under all kinds of challenging circumstances.
The problem is working hard on the wrong things, being busy with the wrong stuff, and wearing other people’s hats.
You don’t need to fix your creative process. Just give it a chance to blossom and you’ll be astonished.
Tell me, fellow artists, what questions are you asking about your struggles with the creative process? And what are you not seeing beyond your studio?