Geetanjali Mukherjee

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Writing Through It All

I am working on a book project right now that is really close to me, and something I have been working on and off on for years, even decades. Perhaps because its so important to me, I have been having a miserable time of it lately. I have been working on it so long, I just want it to be done. I have other projects and plans in the pipeline, things I have moved to make room for this. I also feel I have a lot of credibility riding on this. All ingredients for fast flowing writing - not.

I'm working on my nth draft of the book, and although it does keep getting better, each time I begin to feel more discouraged. Things were going swimmingly a few days ago, but suddenly every minute I spend on this feels like a few hours. I am typing up some notes I wrote by hand into Scrivener,
and I am hating it - mainly because the book feels like crap to me. Its almost like I'm wading through a thick river of mud, with weighted boots, and each step is getting harder and harder. I'm feeling so guilty because I know there are so many other things I need to, I really need to make faster progress, etc.
Last night, I started to write down some notes for another project I have been toying with, thinking the distraction would do me good, maybe make it easier to get back to this book. I went to bed feeling pleased with the progress I made, as I fleshed out the structure for that book. I had told myself that I'm not writing it now, but if I don’t write it now, it probably won't ever get written. And if I'm not going to ever write it, what's the harm in just doing it anyway, good or bad? That let me go for it, and I felt like the words were flowing.

Back to my main project today, and it's still not coming together, not flowing. Today the pump feels stuck, like the pipe is clogged and the words are falling out in a clump, thick, sluggish.
I guess I have to trust in my writing. Do what Sage Cohen said in one of her books - let someone else decide whether its any good. Let me just do the work. If this is truly the best I can do, than procrastinating is pointless. Waiting to be inspired is pointless. There is only one thing to do - write through it.  Some days are good, and the words flow like music, and other days, you wonder why you chose this vocation (even though it really feels like it chose you).

This is what Steven Pressfield means by going pro. You put the words down even when everything is falling apart in your personal life, and you are lying in bed with cramps and a hot water bottle, and when you are convinced that what you’re writing is the worst drivel ever to be produced. You write through all that, and then you deserve to call yourself a writer.
So for today, I am a writer, although I really don’t know how I will feel tomorrow. Or five minutes from now. But for now, I am writing. What about you?
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