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July 31, 2016

Eight of Pentacles

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 2:06 am

I have written more than 50,000 words this month — that’s a word count equivalent to a short novel or, at least, to the NaNoWriMo win condition — and I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing. I couldn’t even tell you where most of those words are right now. My notes say they are mostly blog posts I wrote for money, a couple of proto-essays on interpersonal power dynamics, daily journaling that I didn’t actually do daily, some highly narrative e-mails I never sent, a handful of short poems, a half-finished stab at some erotic fiction, and a few essay-length Facebook comments. So, okay. Now, I am lying in bed with a glass of wine and my laptop, trying on the one hand to drug my spinning mind into sleep-submission while clinging anxiously to the hope that, finally, at 1:30am I might suddenly be inspired to…do whatever it is that I feel like I have spent the entire day failing at.

Every time I write something, I want to give up.  I don’t feel this way about writing when I’m not writing. When I’m off working or walking or swimming or anywhere there’s no threat of paper I could actually put my words down on, writing is easy. I dreamily draft essays and outline memoirs and brew up stories in my head. But put me in front of a keyboard and all my carefully crafted sentence-crystals become word salad made with too much mayonnaise, sticky globs of syllables that won’t come loose. I am filled with language and it just gloms to the insides of my cavities like phlegm. Whenever I finally manage to forcibly eject it, it’s messy and gross and a strange color and it seems the only appropriate thing to do is wad it up and throw it away. Blech, word snot.

Once in a very great while, I manage to compose something I’m proud of — sometimes it happens on the first go; sometimes it’s after I’ve polished it for weeks, obsessing neurotically about punctuation; more often than not it’s some kind of letter, because that’s the thing I like to write most and am the best at, things that are meant for a single-person audience, that never really see the light of day outside one individual inbox. And then it’s back down the rabbithole of feeling like a fraud, wondering why I’m trying to force myself to do this pointless thing I’m terrible at, and wanting to give up.

And I am going to keep doing it. I am going to continue making myself ride the emotional rollercoaster. I’m going to do it in small doses, gradually increase the commitments I’ve made, try to find the right balance between internal drive and external structure, fight with myself. Because I need to learn what this process feels like, get so familiar with the parts that are hard and make me want to give up, teach all the strings of cells that hold my body, brain, and heart together that this is good pain — like muscle soreness when you’re getting stronger, or the howling shaking sobs that bring you up from a deep depression. That feeling like I’m hopelessly bad and want to quit means I’m writing, and not just thinking or daydreaming about writing.

I’m going to have to get really good at coping with feeling like I’m really bad, because if a 300 word blog post or 1,200 word essay is this much of a psychoemotional struggle, it’s going to get fucking rough when I try to write a book.

ETA: Or maybe I should just give up.

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July 18, 2016

Resuscitation

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 1:35 am

re-inhabit your house

re-inhabit your body

ask for help from mysterious sources

ask for art

put away the silverware, pray

begin by writing a third draft in your head

turn the fan in a slightly different direction

try to ignore those noises

sweep the floor

wash your face

tell yourself it’s only mice

come to no conclusions

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