Always open for business
I feel like I’ve hit a wall. Not creatively. That doesn’t really happen to me. As I say repeatedly, I do most of my writing away from this keyboard. In fact, I have spent the last two days “writing” the next story for my Altonstreet & Philpatrick series. These stories are in line to be novelized in a couple years, after my coming of age novel, Ironjaws. And even after Back outta the World, my metaphysical road novel. That’s the plan anyway. This is all part of my glorious 5 year plan, which I just posted. A good deal of the 5 year plan content has been written. But not all of it. I take comfort in knowing that what I will need is already there. I know where to find it. Not in the pen or in the keyboard or in the advice of others. It will be there when I need it. It’s there, waiting for me in my mind, which is free and never closed.
That being said, I had a temporary derailment. A crisis of confidence over whether to keep all this going. This. What I am doing now. Getting up at quarter till 5, turning on the radio to classical station on low volume and writing. Why am I doing this? To what end? For approval? For sales of Tripio? Is it a hobby? Is my writing the equivalent of art on the walls of a hospital or local coffee house? I suppose all these questions were triggered by me finishing Back outta the World. A day or two of quiet, personal celebration followed. I then began to search for an editor. Three responses and three strikes. All strikes due to reasons as random as the separate paths of falling leaves.
I feel like I should clarify that I do not feel as if the Pandemic is primarily responsible for the stasis. In fact, I believe I am doing a damn good job of living through it, giving it the time and attention it requires but not attaching extra worry and mental energy to it. To go further, I believe I have directed that mental energy that could be anxiety and worry to better places.
That being said, I was told in the search for editors that “I can’t write fiction”. Fair enough. But In that opinion, comment, analysis I found the reason I go on writing. I write because I have to. I simply have to write. Oh, don’t hear it as anything grand, like I was born to write or the like. I ain’t’ that pretentious. In writing I have simply discovered a great way to use the time given me time between 5-7 am. I cannot sleep in. In these early morning hours, I have tried hating myself, my past and my future. I have tried crouching in the shower clutching a mug of coffee and praying that a new man would step out of the shower when that mug is done. I don’t like that quite as much.
I write because it is part of something bigger. It is part of my mind exercise routine I’ve been doing nearly every morning for years now I write also because I care about what I am writing about. It is now a constant in my life. I value my writing and it, in turn, keeps my mind, body and soul going in positive, productive directions. And most importantly, I can feel it when I write, and when I don’t. I do not mean reading what I just wrote and liking or disliking it.
To clarity, writing keeps my mind on the present. As we all know, past and future can distract, derail and possibly stop us. If we let it. And, is it ever easy to not let it. The focused intention on what we are doing when we write forces us to keep our mind in a productive, positive place, almost by default. What you are writing doesn’t matter much here, and it shouldn’t. You are simply taking your mind out for some cardio or resistance training. You will notice that the mind will repay you for it, just as the body does when it is exercised. You simply feel better all day.
Neither you nor I can control other people’s opinions. I can only control that I care about what I am writing. Which in the end, is the only writing worth doing.
“May I help who’s next?”