Aug 4, 2013

Writer's Block

Now this is the story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down...

OK, not really, but you've got that theme song stuck in your head right now, don't you? You're welcome.

This actually is the story (or maybe just a quick post) of how one of the things I love the most has taken a backseat to life. And believe me, I'm fully aware that no one reading this has ever asked themselves, "What the hell has happened to Tracy's writing? Did she ever finish that last novel?" In a nutshell those answers are nothing and no. So if someone asks me how many novels I've written (and for the record no one has ever asked me that question), I get the pleasure of giving the stupid answer of "three and a half." Gah! That half really screws with me.

For as long as I can remember, writing was how I dealt with the thoughts swirling through my brain every second of every day. It was how I worked through my emotions. It was how I got to escape from reality - whether it was boring or just too overwhelming. But now? I can't write. Part of the issue is that I don't have time. I swear, if a single person tells me that in order to be a successful writer I need to make the time to write, I will have to kick you in the shins. Seriously, come a little closer.

There are 24 hours in a day. I work eight of those. If I'm lucky, I sleep six. When I have Griffin, I'm cooking, bathing, entertaining, reading, monitoring, building Legos, and snuggling. Somewhere in there I'm supposed to be cleaning and doing laundry. I spend time on the phone with debt collectors, negotiating payment plans and promising them that they will get paid. Someday. I deal with banks and credit card companies and even Medicaid. I fill out paperwork on what seems like a daily basis. And then there's the little matter of getting my house ready to sell and finding another place to live.

Oh...and I worry. A lot.

In the beginning I tried to write. I tried to schedule it in, but grew frustrated when the words wouldn't come. My mind wandered to the stack of bills on my desk or the list of phone calls I needed to make the next morning. In the last few months I've decided to put my writing on hold until life settled down. Considering how long I've been in this mess, I have no idea when I will start again. But I will, and that's what matters to me. The ideas are there. In fact, I still walk around with my notebook in my purse, jotting down plot ideas, character traits, or bits and pieces of awkward conversations I've overheard.

Letting go of that pressure is one of the best things I could have done.

I will write again. And when I do...look out because I've lived through more in the last 18 months than many people do in a lifetime.


Elizabeth Catalano said...

Keep at it. Just found your blog today. You have a smooth style and an authentic voice. I also keep a notebook where I jot thoughts down hoping someday to spin them into gold. Haven't tried NaNoMo but have thought about it. Kudos to you for doing it with a little one. What do you write?

tracyellen said...

I write mainstream fiction...I think I've seem the term "upmarket" thrown around lately. I guess I'd I'd put myself in that category.

What about you? What do you write? NaNo is a blast, but I could never have done it without having someone help watch my son when I write. That and writing during my lunch breaks at work :-)

Elizabeth Catalano said...

I write literary fiction, at least that's the goal. Yes, writing during lunch breaks, or on the subway if you can get a seat (I live in NYC).

tracyellen said...

I imagine the subway would offer up lots of great ideas for characters. If you ever decide to do NaNo, let me know. It's always good to have someone else tell you that your word count is woefully behind...