During the period of one year, I managed to wake up each morning at 4:30 and write. This is the only time when nobody is disrupting me (except cats and bladder). Even though this time is reserved for writing I don’t actually write always.
Sometimes I just sit there and do nothing. Stare at the empty screen or read through the things I have written before hoping to pick up where I’ve left off. That process is painful but that process is best described as the final push in a series of exercise. You know when bodybuilders need to give one more push which will shape that muscle more than all the pushes together; that’s exactly what a writer should do. Push harder.
This morning was particularly painful for me. I opened my eyes and just laid there in my bed for more than twenty minutes which felt like much less, and I was shocked when I checked the clock after getting out of the bed.
The days are getting shorter and now it’s dark at this part of the world; it’s really dark and it’s getting cold too but that is just one of the reasons I had difficulties getting up. The real reason is Resistance.
Namely, I’ve been stuck with my second novel for a long time and each time I have difficulties I tend to change the approach or even abandon the project, and that is a terrible mistake. It is very important to write even if it hurts like hell.
To get a clearer picture of what I was going through I will share my entire internal conference.
“Why don’t you write a screenplay instead? It’s much easier because you don’t need to bother with character’s internal life and there are no descriptions. Dialogues are easy. You just write what people say.”
“Maybe I should read one more book on reading before I go on.”
“You agreed that you had enough of it, at least until you finish this project.”
“OK, you’re right.”
“Let’s see another YouTube video on writing.”
Watching the trailer for Margaret Atwood’s Masterclass.
“The wastepaper basket is your friend. It was invented for you by God,” Margaret said.
“Maybe I should buy her class.”
“You can’t afford that now and you said no more reading on writing that also means masterclasses.”
“Did you really get up for this?”
“I see your point there, but today I don’t feel like writing. My eyes hurt. I could barely wake up. I need another coffee. I’ll just lay down here.”
“As you wish. But, remember that you are going to feel miserable for the rest of the day because you spent the whole morning watching videos.”
“Let’s work on our outline a little bit more. It’s not detailed enough and that’s the reason why you can’t continue.”
“But you’ve been outlining for three months and you’ve said that you had it enough and that you want to do an actual writing.”
“Yes, I said that but what if I was wrong?”
“Let’s read what you’ve written before.”
“Gee, it sucks.”
“You’re never gonna make it.”
“Maybe I should do something else.”
“Why do I even bother getting up each morning?”
“It’s a complete waste of time and energy.”
“Why can’t I be normal like other people?”
“Let’s calm down.”
“Wait, you know you can’t live without writing and that the only way you can feel good about yourself is through writing.”
“That’s not true.”
“You know it is.”
“Maybe I should write something else.”
“Like, finish the novel you’ve started years ago.”
“But that one didn’t work.”
“It was great, you just need to finish it.”
“Do you really want to abandon this project and start outlining an entirely new one? The chances are that you are going to abandon the new one as soon as you hit the first wall.”
“What if I won’t? What if I’m wasting my time with this one? What if I need to invest this time in something that I actually enjoy doing?”
“But, I thought you actually like this project?
“Well, it was a mistake.”
“You know what should you do?”
“People, I think we are dealing with the fear.”
“Can someone spot it?”
“Son of a …”
“Get him down.”
“No! Don’t touch him!”
“But, that’s our chance!”
“No, let’s just see what will he do.”
“But if don’t fight him he does nothing.”
“Let’s see what’s he going to do.”
“I’ve told you. Nothing.”
“You mean we’ve been panicking here for no reason.”
“Oh god. What did that lady say about the wastebasket?”
“It’s our friend.”
“Let’s put everything we’ve done so far in the wastebasket and start all over again.”
“Man, this feels good!”
“Look, we are writing!”
“Yes, that was one big piece of crap!”
“Now, it’s where it belongs!”
“But, what if we’ve trashed something worthy!”
“Don’t be silly!”
“It doesn’t matter, it feels great.”
“Yes, congratulations. 900 words. Great job.”
“Now, let’s wake up the girls. It’s too late. They should have breakfast.
If you’re still with us. This is basically what I go through very often. I don’t always delete everything but I feel this was an important lesson for me.
If I gave up and didn’t write anything today, I would definitely feel horrible, but the end result is that I endured the inner battle and wrote something today.
Tomorrow is the new day and the new battle.
See you at the battlefield.