Age owns its advantages and disadvantages. The pros and cons stare at us from the mirror every morning. Age, for writers, tends to allow us to present ideas and experiences in a light we never noticed in our younger years. But there's an inherent issue with age - the realization there is far more to write about than time with which to do so.
I began noticing this phenomena a couple years ago, though I did not congeal the thoughts into anything tangible. I found I possessed a reticence to write. I do blog quite a bit, but writing long (a book) felt overwhelming. I realize this feeling to be common with new writers, but I've written over twenty manuscripts and I have nine published books!
Upon some internal investigation, I found I desire to write so many books, I cannot fathom how in the world to get it all done. The brain is a complex organ. Mine went into shut-down mode. Isaac Asimov once said, "If the doctor told me I only had 6 minutes to live, I'd write faster!" This comes from quite the prolific author and he still did not wrap up the "Foundation" novels as he'd planned before his death.
I've understood and taught for years the importance of blocks of time dedicated to effective writing. Writers own a penchant for inviting life into their writing zones. Chores, distractions, laziness, all funnel into the allotments of time where we could be successful if we'd only sit down and put words to the screen.
Writing becomes a decision. Yes, in the throes of a novel in heat, we chomp at the bit. When we are not quite so emotionally involved, we slam into dead spaces. Times when we know we should be writing, times we feel we should be writing, and times we actually run from writing. After all, writing is our passion, correct?
Discipline and creativity do not get along well. The more you discipline yourself, the more your creativity balks or flees. At least this has been my experience. Yes, I do write through it all. I put my hand to the keystone and get something out, but I lack that conviction of passion that I'm writing what I truly desire to put out.
That's when, in my experience, writing a book becomes a decision. Especially when you're first getting it rolling. The time is 5:00am and I'm struggling to get up and write versus lie back and rest a while longer. Invariably, when I lie back, I'm trolling around Facebook or watching time-consuming videos of other peoples' lives. Not effective nor passionately involved use of time.
Getting to the Keyboard
Yes, decision time becomes your primary go-to moment when you actively step into yourself and push your body to the desk, table, or other writing location. This stands as the writer's most powerful moment - that instant you propel yourself into your writing.
Forget the fancy prose or the brilliant ideas, your writing experience gets won or lost in that shortest of nanoseconds when you overcome all other life encumbrances and you begin to write. Your battle warfare trenches exist in the twilight, nearly imperceptible eddies of time. You wage your inner wars, you make your best arguments, and you overcome your lagging confidence levels all in an instant.
Once you get to the keyboard, a myriad of possibilities await you. Subjects for another time, of course. Without this initial decision and arrival at your keyboard, you remain a listless ship afloat on a foreign sea. Your keyboard is your sanctuary. Your grail. Your happy place. I suggest you defend your time there with all vigor.
When you get to the point you pound the keys with enthusiasm and more than veiled hope, you would do well to address the monkey in your mind a bit. That voice which gnaws at your logical side, whispering, screaming, demanding, yelling that you will never get it all written! You will never be up to the task of dumping your brain, heart, and soul into all the subjects you wish to pursue.
Some sort of compromise must be met. Some surrender must happen. After all, the monkey is correct - you will run out of time. Your sands of time will drop in ever increasing speeds as you age. What once held great importance now may lie lifeless and dull as it ever was in the recesses of your mind.
Here is where you may seize the day! Here is where you have a shot at all the meat stored up in a lifetime of experience collecting. Here is where your dreams-into-reality moments live and breathe! Within your hourglass. Within your time constraints springs motivation. Desire. Passion. A drive to get it all out, impossible as this may be, and into the world.
I don't know. Maybe I'm just a demented writer lost in his own little hell of possessing nowhere near the time and far more to write avalanching every day into my overloaded brain. My experience tells me there are others out there who feel this pressure.
My solution is to write like a madman possessed, both acknowledging the hourglass and writing feverishly as though it does not exist. A game of pretend. A game of me believing I will not get to write all I wish as my life will expire, but I run like a lemming into the abyss anyway.
What Do You Think?
Do You Feel the Writing Hourglass Pressure?
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