Call me Happy; the Words Flow Once Again

I’m sitting here in one of my favorite coffee houses, Palio, feeling relieved and happy. After weeks of slamming myself against the hump that is the end of my novel, I finally wrote five new pages.

I don’t believe in writer’s block. Yet I do get stymied sometimes. Seems like I spent most of April on a rollercoaster: Great idea! No, that sucks…A better¬†idea! No, that sucks also…Talk about frustration.

I gave up the goat in May and completed other work on the manuscript and story, including lots of brainstorming (previously mentioned). This was probably good and necessary work, but when it comes to first drafts, I tend to discount effort that doesn’t produce shiny, new words on fresh new pages. I end up thinking to myself: What have I been doing with my time? And then feeling kind of crappy.

This week a couple of friends and I talked about the creative process. The key theme was “time.” As in: Creation has its own timeline. Ideas need a nurturing hand rather than my usual impatient whipcord.

What I wonder is: How much of my time away from newly written pages was legitimate (“filling the cup,” as the saying goes) and how much was excuse-making? What’s the difference between nurturance and procrastination anyhow? (And how can you tell the difference!?)

I sometimes wonder if I’m the only writer who faces this inner conflict. I’m sure I’m not, but sometimes it sure feels like it! What’s your take?


4 comments on “Call me Happy; the Words Flow Once Again

  • Good question. I wonder about this too. Destructive procrastinating feels a bit sickening to me, kind of like watching several hours of “Dancing with the Stars.” Good procrastinating usually feels healthy and fun and the thing I’m stuck on is allowed to freely drift in and out of my brain instead of being drummed out to the sounds of “Nyah, nyah, nyah…I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you.”

  • That “nyah, nyah, nyah” is exactly how it feels sometimes!

    Meanwhile, a barista friend opened a new little cafe on 11th and Harrison (he’s a coffee roaster). We ought to meet there sometime for a latte and a good whine…

  • I love these photos of your cafe!

    Let’s see — procrastination. I have so little time to write — measured in actual hours I get to sit in that chair and type up new stuff or revisions — that I tend to see all the other time when I’m doing things that prevent me from writing, things like raising kids (which means driving them places), or keeping our house together or doing my lawyer work as procrastinating time. Really, it’s not procrastinating, it’s standing at the sink and thinking, what about that great title for the novel you didn’t write twenty years ago, because it was really just a great title? Now could THAT be a short story? And then at work, while I’m working on some project I write down six sentences about the story. So, I think procrastinating/down time is good time — it’s different from sit-down-and-write time and necessary to dream things up.

    It sounds like that’s what you were doing.

    And now I have to go procrastinate some more.

  • See, I’m impressed with your procrastination (which really isn’t). I call writing down six sentences about your story while in the midst of a hectic workday “self-disclipline”!


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