Last week I made mention of what I've been calling the 'mother of all writer's block.' In short: between everything else I've been doing I haven't done a whole lot of writing.
It may not surprise you to learn that for a writer this is somewhat troubling.
What has been interesting, in that perverse sort of way, is that I'm not by any means at a loss for ideas. I have stuff that I want to write. Hell, I have stuff that I need to write (more about that later). But somehow I have been struggling like mad to motivate myself to actually, you know, write.
A more clinical approach to examining the causes might point to the possibility of my mental health potentially limiting my output. Don't worry - I'm not looking for sympathy or therapist recommendations (who can afford therapy anyway?). But given that there is no physical ailment preventing me from writing, no work obstacle getting in the way (I've been "off", such as my day job is, for nearly three weeks) all that remains is: it's all in my head.
In the making excuses department, surgical recovery, getting my head away from work and just generally decompressing has taken much longer this year than perhaps ever before. The past three years we have been traveling in the summer - significantly so, which has probably contributed to getting into vacation mode faster: by necessity I've had to put work behind and get to the airport.
Of course, this summer has a couple of significant deadlines. One of the things I have been promising myself is that a draft of W3.doc would be completed before I returned to the day job on August 18th. I think I have finally come to terms with the fact that that's not going to happen. By coming to terms, essentially that means that I am no longer going to pretend that I'm still anticipating getting it done on this timeline. And before you rush to judgement - or, more importantly, before I do - I have not yet established a new deadline. Given the potential impact failing to meet deadlines has on my written output, it's important not to set myself up for failure. I need to do some re-evaluating, planning and further outlining so I can set a deadline I know that I can meet.
Which isn't to say I'm okay with it. As I mentioned last week, my pace between books - Deadly Lessons to Last Dance, Last Dance to W3.doc - is definitely off. And as much as I've accepted I'm not going to meet my admittedly self-imposed deadline, that acceptance has not translated into, well, acceptance.
But while we're on the subject of deadlines - I'm up against another one.
At some point I mentioned that I'm working on a non-fiction project. This time, the deadline is real. Oh sure, I could blow it off and decide not to get it done. Except this time, I'm working with writing partners.
As yet, this is an almost entirely new experience (there was a sketch comedy series many years ago - that's a story for another time). I have yet to see how well writing in committee will go. So far, we've each been writing on our own sections so I can't really assess how well we write together. But our deadline is real: on August 11th we're supposed to meet to begin editing each other's work.
Having that deadline - a real deadline - with other people counting on me I think is going to be helpful. But I'm still finding it difficult and all the things that have been slowing down my written output aren't making it any easier to get the non-fiction, partner writing done either.
Hopefully my partners don't read this column.
Next week: I'm away but don't despair. I'm prepared.