Writer’s Rage: The Trouble with Staying in “The Zone”

Should I make some sort of witty title for these? If it were Wednesday, it could be Writing Wednesday. Eh.

I’ve taken to calling those moments of super intense inspiration and desire to write “Writer’s Rage.” It comes at the more inopportune moments, mainly at work, where I can’t suddenly drop what I’m doing to jot down notes without 1) upsetting customers/my boss/my co-works and 2) looking like an absolute nutcase. I’m also not in love with explaining my neurotic actions. Also, people have a sick habit of stealing my pens.

It’s a common affliction. You wake up from the most amazing dream ever, scramble out of bed, and the moment you touch your notebook–BAM!–like it never existed. For the most part, I can remember my little snippets, or at least what triggered them. The problem is then the actual writing. There are tons of excuses: I just worked a 10 hour shift, I got up at 5 a.m. this morning and now it’s nearly 10 p.m., I ran my sister around all day on errands, etc. Usually the job/life stress gets in my way. I’ve managed to modify this; instead of my initial 1k a day, I’m shooting for 10k a month. At 1k a day, that means only 10 days of writing out of the month. Of course I can write more, but 10k a month factors in those weird late-night shifts, sick days, days I just don’t feel it/need for research, didn’t get a minute to myself. So forth.

And that’s just the serious writing. The little scraps of paper I have floating around are an entirely different story (sometimes literally). I’ve also got to learn to stop reading things on the internet about writing. I wig out in ways I’d never thought of before. It’s also detrimental to the whole story-writing thing.

The truth is, and I think we all experience at some point, is there are days when you just don’t write. I’m trying to break myself of using excuses, but there are days I just don’t have it. I’m stuck on a part, so I doodle and mess around and dance around my room and pin other ideas or bounce them off my usually willing friends. Usually something happens: a song comes on that sparks something, I magically figure out a plot point, I relax enough to let the creative thought back in. Maybe another character worms their way in.

For me, fighting it tooth and nail just doesn’t work.

Thanks to the ever-valuable advice of my friend Laura, I’ve started writing the more “exciting” scenes of the novel-beast, which tend to leave only the filler. I’m hoping by getting the things I really love out of my head, it’ll let me focus on building that connective tissue and crafting a well-rounded story.

Time to stop writing about writing and actually get some work done.


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