You have probably experienced the famous AHA moments in your life. Recently, I had one of these when I realized that writing is just a game, and it happened to me while I was observing my eighteen months old daughter playing with her toy blocks.
What was the problem in the first place?
Like the most of you, I live a very busy life and on a daily basis I juggle my time between family, work (which pays the bills) and another work (which I actually enjoy doing and which I want to turn into a real career, but let‘s just call it – writing). All three, my family, my job, and writing require my full attention and it is a constant battle between them to win me over. Because of that, whenever I set a block of time for writing, I have trouble focusing on the actual writing, and I rather focus on the time I‘ve got left, and the word count. That thinking puts me in a fight or flight state of being and as a product I‘ve been failing to finish any major project for more than four years.
Writing isn‘t something one should do while being in a survival mode. Quite the opposite, writing is something that requires full attention and a creative state of mind.
Have I tried solving it?
For the past couple of months, I have been breaking my head on the wall to figure out what had happened and what have I been doing wrong all this time. I did my outline; I did my research; I‘ve been getting up early in the morning to write; I hit the daily word count; but every nine months or so, I had to throw everything away and start all over because I either get to the point where I don‘t know what the hell is going on in the story, or I just realize that it is crap and that there is no point in finishing it.
I’ve almost quit writing
I‘ve read Bird by Bird (which I think is an amazing book) and I know that I should finish my crappy draft and then fix it, but I couldn‘t see the point in finishing something which I know that‘s going to be absolute shit. I didn’t know what was wrong. I even considered quitting; I tried to write screenplays (they seemed easier, but it was a delusional thought); I tried giving my crappy draft to another pair of eyes; I tried breaking it down and putting it back together, but after everything I‘ve tried I found out that perhaps the easiest way to do it would be to start all over.
The Epiphany – Writing is just a game
One day, I was watching my daughter playing with her magnetic toy blocks; putting them together one by one; analyzing its shape, texture, color, turning them over in her little hands; replacing them; without any pressure, without being aware of time and without any idea of finishing something. It was a pure delight and it punched me in the head like a train.
For some reason, I have been constantly failing to see the bigger picture for all these years, but that that I realized that writing should be a game; a childlike word assembly game which is played without any pressure of winning it. The writers play with words, until they get bored, leave them and come to them another day.
After realizing this, I honestly believe that my writing should be much easier as long as a remember what I’ve learned that day.
What was your recent AHA moment and what are your thoughts on this topic? Please leave your answer in the comments below.