When I am here, I feel I should be there
or anywhere else really
To be here is to sit on a pile of ants
ants like, jobs to do,
ants like, emails to return
ants like, what’s for dinner?
ants like, water the plants
So the only answer to the antics of the ants
is to leave the nest
*Does this make sense? Anyone else have writers guilt rather than writers block?
Steven Pressfield writes about resistance in his excellent book “War of Art.” I wrote a post about my own resistance at times
I also wrote in another post of the invisible to-do list that our house can become, plants that yell at us to water them, floors that need to be cleaned, washing put away, and then the office, which is full of emails and accounts that should be reconciled and all the other tasks that fill up our day.
If we weren’t taking this small block out just for ourselves to write, create art or whatever it is that you really want to do but can’t because of the significant and very real obstacle of mental resistance that seems to be, for me at least, related to guilt for not doing the other things that I should (there is that word again) be doing. (No shoulds in 2023!)
This shouldness was exacerbated because my husband has been in the office all week. He has been working away at putting numbers together for quotes. Occasionally he calls me in to help him with something, but mostly I could be writing perfectly peacefully. Except I can’t. Because I feel like he is thinking I should be doing something else. Which he isn’t.
Yes, I am that barmy.
So now I had two sets of should. Mine and his imagined ones.
“I don’t think that at all, I love the fact you are writing, you just have to change your mind and get over it,” he said when I told him.
Which was perfectly sane in theory and of course I should be able to do that.
But when writing fiction, I have to submerge myself in the story. It is like going underwater. And to do so successfully, I have to write my journal, then tinker with my blog post, read back over the story from the day before, and slowly descend into the world of my characters. Once I’m there, thousands of words roll easily. I take breaks every hour, or when I get a bit stuck, I can do things in between, like check the emails or whatever and then go back to it. But if I don’t get to submerge that first time and crack apart the portal between worlds – I need help getting into the headspace, even for blog writing, which is why I usually write my blog post early in the morning before all the to-do things wake up and start talking at me.
Anyway, driving into town this afternoon, on yet another errand, I came up with the solution.
I used to think that people who went to coffee shops to write were mad. How could it be easier to concentrate in a coffee shop than at home?
Now I get it.
No guilt at a coffee shop, no tasks screaming at you to be done.
You could knock out a good couple of hours of writing and then go home and attend to all the noisy things.
I’m not a coffee shop person, more of a library person. When it is as hot and windy as it has been outside, the park is no place to write, I would melt or blow away, the library however, particularly our town library which is as quiet as a church – would be perfect.
So that’s my thing today – off to the library to try and get something done on my writing. And yes, I usually do my blog posts very early with no distractions, but the last few days have been very early starts and then doing things for other people so I have fallen out of any sort of routine. Which is also damaging to practicing the craft.
I will see how this “writing in other places” goes. I just thought I would share if someone is facing a similar problem with clearing space in their head to write.
Thought I would also add this lovely passage that I think applies to anyone who is doing what they are supposed to be doing, whether that be the bricklayer, the builder, the writer, the poet, the artist or the dancer etc
“Then a Ploughman said, Speak to us of Work. And he answered by saying: “you work so that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth, For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life’s procession, that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.
When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turn to music. Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all sings together in unison.
Always you have been told that work is a curse, and labour a misfortune. But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born, and in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life.”Kalil Gibran – The Prophet
Beautiful, and exactly how I feel when I write.
Have a lovely day; I hope you find some time to do the thing that makes you smile inside.