I’m once more in the throes of packing up a house – feels like I’ve done nothing but move or think about moving for the last five years. However, it’s good for decluttering and certainly makes you think more deeply about the ridiculous attachment we can have to possessions.
In the process I’ve had to gather all my writing things together. I have a big old Indian cupboard were I found printed tips for good essay writing and poetry terms; a few forgotten notebooks and a pile of writing magazines. In my Grandad’s old letter writing desk there were piles of my work printed out and interleaved with comments from lecturers and peers and my own scrawled notes on scraps of paper that make no sense to me now.
This mass of material has now been collated into piles. Turns out I have no less than seven projects each of which have taken some considerable time and effort. There’s an adult contemporary and an adult historical novel. A YA dystopia and a YA fantasy. Short stories for adults and also for children aged 6-9, and finally my nature memoir. If I suggest starting anything new to anyone who knows me please feel free to say “Nooooo”.
They’re now neatly packed in labelled boxes ready to go into storage – except the one that’s closest to finishing. That one is staying by my side until it’s complete and sent to a publisher before I go and retrieve the next one.
The most exciting thing is that I still love all these projects, both characters and plots. What has been lacking is courageous and joyful effort to get them fully complete and sent out into the world.
I have been practising joyful effort – something I picked up through my Dharma study. So I have 3 issues with laziness:
- Blatant – “I just can’t be bothered.” (Creates self-loathing)
- Procrastination – “I would write that challenging section but I have to clean the toilet.” (Lying to myself)
- Fear – “I’m not good enough to write anything decent.” (Negativity breeds)
I’m very good at initial enthusiasm. What I’m learning to cultivate is sustained enthusiasm and delighting in my slow progress. Summoning some focused energy for just 20 minutes and writing with a happy smile usually turns into a few hours of productive creativity. The benefits of which are profound to the completion of stages in a novel and personal contentment.
I’d love to hear about your struggles with being ‘lazy’ over writing and how you forge good practice…