My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Spread a Little Thin

That butter isn't spread "a little thin."
What is that? Like half a stick?
Personal Update...ish....thing.

It's Monday, so I'm trying to scrape together enough personal information to do some kind of personal update.

Because yet another reimagined list about how it might actually be a good idea to write if you want to be a writer is no problem, but telling you about my fucking day is some next level shit.

I mean I could tell you about yesterday when I couldn't find the remote control to the DVD player and spent the better part of an hour practicing the ranting and raging (yet brilliant) speech I was going to use when people got home; however, in order for you to understand why absolutely losing my shit over the fact that I had to watch West Wing reruns while I cleaned the house (instead of House M.D. reruns) isn't actually a definite sign that I needed to be hit with a Percocet tranquilizer dart and taken into a padded room, you would need all of the sordid contextual history of my feelings that sometimes I'm a roommate instead of family, the series of escalating remote control conversations, and probably knowledge of the Great Curtain Incident of Aught Nine.

Way too much back story for this entry.

Plus there would be the inevitable fallout as Unsupportive Girlfriend kicks open my door, takes about four sweeps of the room with a high powered flame thrower, and then tells me not to air our dirty laundry to "the whole fucking internet" as I run past her for the burn kit....while still on fire....screaming.

Unless I want to end up having a "conscious uncoupling," maybe it would be best to just blog about something else. Perhaps how I feel a little over extended.

It seems to be a common experience among writers to be spread just a bit too thin. Given that most of us have day jobs, families, and lives that aren't writing, our insistence on regular (and massive) chunks of time to write often comes at the expense of other aspects of our lives, and many writers struggle with the fact that if they want to take writing seriously, something else in their life is going to feel unattended to. We finish our novels and discover that not only have our cats gone feral and the water has been shut off, but there is a "Dear John" post it note stuck to our foreheads from our significant others--or rather our ex significant others. But even though "spread thin" is less a feeling I get from time to time and more a state of being for me, this time it has a different flavor.

In a way, it's a good thing.

I really mean that. I'm not just trying to do some "one door closes," "silver lining," "God's plan" stuff (that trust me you do NOT want to say when someone finds out they have been given crabs by their monogamous life partner).

All my life I have worked to write more. I never felt like I was actually sitting and writing enough so I always tried to stretch that capacity. Turn off World of Warcraft and do some writing. Quit queuing up one more Star Trek episode and do some writing. Put away the Playstation controller and do some writing.

Now, I'm sitting. I'm writing. I'm doing it every day. I'm doing it for hours and hours.

Too long actually.

It's interfering with some of my other obligations. I constantly feel spread too thin, and every day I feel like I'm doing triage on my deadlines and commitments--trying to figure out which ones are expendable. In the last couple of months, I've had this terrible sinking feeling, like I'm always falling further and further behind. I feel like I'm having a great and productive day if I don't go to bed feeling even further behind than when I woke up. I never catch up though; that just doesn't happen. I'm actually not even reading enough because I'm spending too much time writing.

Which is, of course, a gigantic no no for anyone serious about the quality of their writing.

For the first time in my life, I've reached a point where the answer isn't just "write more." I'm up to six, eight, sometimes ten hours a day, and there aren't more hours of writing to be had. I need to have sessions that are more productive and concentrated and not just longer. In fact, need to take some hours back for some of the other stuff like housework and reading (and fucking playing Skyrim so I can finish that damned write up).

For someone who's spent most of my life addicted to MMOs or in school or trying to work full time, this is a new kind of challenge for me. What do you do when you've stopped giving up frivolous things and you can't write anymore without cannibalizing something non-frivolous. I mean it's not hard to see how I could be writing with more efficiency during my sessions, but this is literally the first time in my life there hasn't been some obvious time sink that I could or should be giving more of to writing. Now that writing has it all, I have to focus on quality instead of quantity. Work smarter, not harder. Insert cliche here.


  1. Are you collecting work-related clich├ęs? "You have to take time to sharpen the saw."