Another busy week, hence relatively little bloggo de blog from me. Mostly work (the actual moneyed kind), and keeping my head down and trying to move as fast as possible through the last chapters of Unmortal's first draft. I'm quite close to the end, but I'm trying not to rush it and thus defer things best written down the first time to future drafts. Hard not to get excited, though!
Among the disciplines I had to develop for myself when learning to write was to not rush through anything, to not succumb to the urge to just shove stuff off my desk and be done with it.
One of the net effects of such behavior was to teach myself that this stuff was a chore and not a vocation -- that the goal of the whole thing was not to eventually shove it off the desk and be done with it. The whole point of picking that project over most any other project was because I'd decided that was indeed something I wanted to spend the next year-and-change of my life sitting down to work on literally every day. Any mindset that got in the way of that needed to be pushed back on.
From all I've gathered, from both myself and others, one of the greatest long-term challenges of all creative work is to keep it from turning into just another kind of self-imposed drudgery -- something you start with spirit, but before long are just itching to close the door on as quickly as you can. What's that thing many bands say when they break up? "It just wasn't fun anymore"? Same thing here.
Treating this work (eew, I used the W-word!) like work is best when it's about diligence and building habits. In other words, when it's about one's consistency of approach towards the whole, and not trying to make yourself think about the work as a job, something you do because it's bad not to. On days when I've written nothing, I feel bad, but that gives me incentive to just open up Word and type one sentence and see where that leads me. And nine times out of ten I get so caught up in the play between one sentence and the next that by the time I've finished typing that one sentence, I'm not thinking about how I feel about the whole affair anymore. I'm just in it.
These feelings also play into my sentiments and motivations about why I do this as an entirely indie affair. I don't do this because I'm interested in money or attention, but simply because there's some things in my mind that I think deserve to exist, and I want to bring them into existence in a way that's not hidebound by being tied into my need to make a living from it. Or even to make some money from it, or to satisfy a contractual obligation to someone else. The thing is its own justification.
Back when I wrapped Welcome To The Fold, I made an attempt to package it and get it to the attention of a number of different editors and agents. Not one wrote back in a timely fashion. (Again, the DIY ethos: why wait for someone else to say yes?) I gave up and put it out there myself. It's there for those who want it. And, most importantly, it's been created and put out there on terms that I wouldn't regret. I run this race, and I always keep running through the tape, but at my pace.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind