pre-partum depression...?

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Anthony Ravenscroft
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pre-partum depression...?

Postby Anthony Ravenscroft » Thu Jul 13, 2006 3:01 pm

Lately, I've been trying to get back to last year's level of writing, particularly the output part.

In recent weeks, though, I've been finding that, as a piece rollicks toward completion, I begin to tense up. If I force myself to dig up the piece, then the fears that I'll bollix it melt away, & I find that re-reading what's come before will easily put me back in the swing.

It's not "writer's block". I know that one, & I laugh at it -- even when I'm blocked on one project, I'm jotting notes on others.

But lately it's been like running up the side of a mountain. I start off all wildly enthusiastic, & about the time I remember to pace myself the air's starting to get thin. Then the soft soil turns to sharp rock.

I recognise this in a few acquaintances, who also are trying to be writers -- except, to my knowledge, none of them has ever completed a piece. Despite all the outlined dekalogies, I'm not sure that the whole bunch has a finished short-short among them. Fragments, sure; snippets, uh-huh.

Years ago, I sighingly told one that I was worried about her, that she was linking completion with death. You know, as though we have only so many breaths or heartbeats or creatively written words within us, & when we use them up, we die.

Now... hell, I still feel driven to write. That fear of creative death did indeed pop up last year. I went & had a couple of excellent craft-brewed beers with a bunch of noisy louts, & wrote myself a long essay, where at more than one point I scrawled STOP WHINING -- YOU'VE GOT 20 MORE BOOKS TO WRITE BEFORE YOU CAN DIE. For the next weeks, whenever that page appeared, it made me chortle.

I'm up against an insubstantial foe. To paraphrase, this is bugging the living crap outta me, because I don't have anything to clearly fight against. Bleah.

A Wasted Mind
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Postby A Wasted Mind » Wed Aug 09, 2006 8:15 pm

Oh, I know this one all too well.

I've been working on a story for three months and I'm at the point where two or three good days of work would see it through. If I'd spent as much time working on it as I have worrying about the fact that it isn't finished I'd be halfway through my next story, which is already demanding some attention.

For some reason I'm finding all sorts of other things to do; I've cleaned my house in spite of a lifelong allergy to housework, I've ironed everything in my closet, I've gardened, I've played computer games -- I even took on a week of contract work I didn't need. And it has nothing to do with being blocked.

Maybe it's the fear that I'm writing crap (always a distinct possibility at the stage I'm at with writing), or maybe I'm just damned lazy.

Anthony Ravenscroft
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Postby Anthony Ravenscroft » Thu Aug 10, 2006 12:09 pm

Okay, drastic measures. I took a week to get ready, then left town. Flew into Minneapolis, drove to my hometown, attended my 30th highschool class reunion. Actually enjoyed myself, & got to tell a couple of folks how much they helped me keep my sanity back then, just from some forgotten little kindness. We toasted the dead & chatted until the wee hours.

Then I came down with walking pneumonia, but managed to make it back to Santa Fe. Have now recovered.

And there squats that damned story. It's like having a 30-year-old child living in your attic: you love it, you worry about it, you wonder if setting just a small fire will get it to move along.

I was shooting for 8,500 words. It wrote out at 15,000. Therefore, I have hacked, I have carved, I've butchered, & after three revisions... it's 12,000 words. Intended for a venue that "occasionally" takes tales that long though "most are considerably shorter."

On the up-side, I did indeed finish it. Huzzah.

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Chuck Messer
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Postby Chuck Messer » Fri Aug 11, 2006 11:24 pm

Hey, at least you finished it.

Chuck
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

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Hathor
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Postby Hathor » Sat Aug 12, 2006 12:31 pm

No kidding. It's not rolling around in your head like a cinder block in the dryer. Sometimes I PREFER writer's block than the undeveloped idea that wouldn't die...

A Wasted Mind
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Postby A Wasted Mind » Mon Aug 14, 2006 12:43 am

Good on 'ya for getting that finished.

I'm now raring to go with mine, except I have relatives visiting from out of town and I can't very well sneak off for several hours every day. I have, however, done a pencil and paper outline of the last few pages, so when I do sit down I should be able to finish pretty quickly and get going on the next one, which I think is a far better story.

shagin
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Postby shagin » Tue May 08, 2007 12:55 am

I haven't peeked at the forums for quite some time, but I immediately understood the horrors of "tensing up". I often refer to such fears as wondering if I can still get it up on paper, and once its up can I reach climax. Yeah, trite, I know, but it fits...

I finished another piece yesterday and was very careful to not fight my way through it. I didn't want to stilt the flow. Staying loose enough to write and make it worth reading can be a tough run, but we can't let the silence win. Keep on writing and don't let yourself get in the way.
Suspenders of Disbelief: For When the Harsh Weight of Reality Threatens to Drag the Trousers of Our Imagination Down to the Unforgiving Floor of Mundanity!


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