Say one thing, do another. Or, rather, don’t do anything.
Every few weeks or so, I announce to my writer/artist/coworkers, that I have started another exciting project. I excitedly tell them the particulars, as they praise my ideas and creativity. At the time, I may even intend to actually do the project. But I don’t. Sure, I some times start it, plan it, outline it, read up on the idea, take notes, even begin to write it. But then I stop at some point, fairly early on. I let it sit, and I think of it every day, and of how I’m not doing anything towards its completion. My coworker, the graphic novelist, asks how it’s going. Some times I’m honest and tell him it’s stalled. Some times I say it’s coming along, oh so slowly.
But I know it’s DOA.
Now, this morning, it has started again. I wrote for awhile, picking up on a topic I’d been knocking around in my notebooks for awhile. I call it my “feminist manifesto,” but it’s really more of a musing on my self as a woman.
I’m all over the place. I feel the pressure lifted a bit since getting some words written, but, now, I’m on this newer topic, and not working on the story I’ve been writing about a time traveling little girl in San Francisco.
I constantly think of new stories and outline it, plot character arcs, and know the whole thing. Then, after the above-described writing stalling routine, I’m back where I started. Then, along comes another idea, and the whole process starts again.
Why do I make myself feel like I’m failing, when I am obviously able to keep writing, but just not what I
want feel I should be writing?
Maybe it’s this: I know I should be writing my truths, and instead I avoid it by plotting fantastic voyages, but I never complete my trips to the end destination, i.e. The End.
Sure, that’s it. And I still feel the failure of not finishing what I’ve started, ad nauseum. My best work has always been personal reporting, essay writing, opinion pieces. I wrote press releases in high school for a public relations firm, and articles for the high school and community college papers. These were where I learned to really write. I wrote fiction and poetry at home, in my notebooks.
I’ve always felt like an incomplete fiction writer, when I’ve had the writing going other places. I’ve let myself stall in the circle of idea-start-stop-failing motivation = no progress.
My efforts are hampered along the way by depression, procrastination, and severe anxiety. I now take anti anxiety/depression medication. It is wonderful not to be constantly anxious, worried, and fearful of the unfixable things in life. The irony is that the medication makes me sleep. A lot. But I need to not be depressed and anxious. The naps and sleepiness can be avoided on the days I go to work, it’s my days off, when I feel this drive to be writing, and making, and doing, that get backed up when my eyes get blurry and the cat and I settle in for a good two hour nap.
I just woke up from one of these naps, and here I am writing. For today at least, that is.