ROW80

August 15 Check-in Dreams and Lassitude

I ended my Sunday check-in stating that I would not fall into the doldrums.  Hmm, I miscast the future.  I have not fallen into the abyss, but into a sort of unease.  I am feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and in response, lazy. This week I have found that as much as I have organized, four out of five things that are sought have not yet been found.  It feels less like Christmas to approach the boxes in the garage, but a rerun of the horror story that informed the last days of packing. Also, I have been writing job stuff all day long everyday this week, and I don’t seem as able to change gears in the wee hours.

Mind, I do not hate my day job.  Everyone has been supportive, and very nice.  I’m good at it, and am recognized as such.  I still find myself wishing for mental health days where I could indulge in a Firefly marathon, but I know that if I stayed home, I would spend the day cleaning and organizing.  Bleah!  I’d rather go to work!

Earlier today, a few lyrics hit me, surprising me that I hadn’t truly heard them before.  I do listen to music at work; I can write work stuff pretty easily with it going.  My sons make massive fun of the stuff I listen to–Enya, Loreena McKennitt, and somewhat  medieval-sounding groups like Mediaeval Baebes.  So sue me.  🙂

Two of the lyrics in Enya’s Dreams are More Precious decided to slap me across the face, in contrast to the hundred times they floated across my brain.  The first is “Out of the darkness comes a light.”  In a more cynical mood, I might have thought, “Yeah, that’s the light of the locomotive bearing down on me.”  But I didn’t go there this time.  It struck me as the glimmer of dawn, of an understanding of myself and where I wanted to be. Soon after followed the second line, “Dreams are more precious than gold,” making me think about my dreams in contrast to necessity: food, shelter, college tuition, and the ability to keep creditors from lining up on my porch.

Matt Hofferth wrote a post about a patronage system, which intrigued me.  Okay, major nerd alert for the rest of this paragraph. In the Middle Ages, patronage for both pictorial and literary arts were very common.  I think they were onto something.  One of my colleagues used to argue that one had to write what the patron wanted, but I always argued it was the same as having to write technical articles to pay one’s bills, and perhaps writing an ode to some fellow’s wife would be more entertaining.  Before I took my current job, I had plans to veer sharply off the path I had been on to pursue some job that would be a little closer to my dream.  But the saying that life is what happens while you are making other plans seems to be true for me.

I sometimes regret not taking that veer off the road, but perhaps I am not hungry enough yet.  I do know I am much closer than I used to be.  I didn’t hesitate to send the log line out for vetting; I will send out the character of the antagonist without a backward glance as well.  But I still fritter away time and have to drag myself to the computer in the morning.  What am I missing?  I remember the days when I had to write, when the surface tension of my skin couldn’t keep it all in.  I want those days back.  Maybe I am impatient, and want to be where I will be in six months, without having to undergo the pain of transformation.

It has been slow the past few days.  I can feel the novel behind my eyeballs, the way one feels a fever sometimes.  However, I feel tired and listless, as though it is too much effort to pull it out of the breach into the air.  Any suggestions on how to discover again that feeling of needing to plunge into the story in order to breathe fully would be greatly appreciated. I know it is a phase, but it is an extremely annoying phase!

Please give your support and encouragement to the other ROWers who can be found here.

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12 thoughts on “August 15 Check-in Dreams and Lassitude”

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Laura. I think I may try to change where I write, since chaos has begun to reign where I used to write, and it is distracting. Your suggestion to get outside and just stop and listen is a very good one. I will do that tomorrow!

      Have a lovely rest of the week.
      Elizabeth x

  1. I also listen to Enya at work. Definitely nothing wrong with that! I’ve been in a similar funk lately, though things are starting to pick up again. I hope things pick up again for you soon!

    1. Emily, I’ve been surprised at how many people seem to be in the same kind of funk. Maybe it’s the cycle of the seasons, or the Round. I have no worries with Enya, but my sons, who are 20 and 19, kid me mercilessly, lol.

      Thank you for stopping by; I hope your funk is over soon, as well!

  2. When I start getting into a funk with my writing, I switch it up and try to get as much written down before I go to work instead of after. I’m not a morning person at all, so my overall energy levels are probably lower. On the flip side of that, I don’t have anything else on my mind. I wake up with a fresh start and dive immediately into my creative work. When I move into the rest of the day, I can do so with the confidence of knowing that I already accomplished something I really value.

    1. Michael, thanks for the suggestion. For a long time, I was getting up and writing first thing, but lately, I have been staying up later and getting up later. I need to revert to the mornings. Like you, I’m not that much of a morning person, but I am far better then than after the day job. Your point about having accomplished something of value is a very good one–something I need to post on my mirror, I think!

  3. Ah, my friend, you have accurately summed up my mood for the past couple of months so well. I’ve also been wishing for “the days when I had to write, when the surface tension of my skin couldn’t keep it all in” and wondering exactly when all that slipped away from me. But I think it is still there, and maybe it just takes a little “shake-up” to draw it back out again — a new place to write, like Laura suggested above, or maybe a very small shiny project to spark things up once again. Lately I have been trying to overcome my “stuckness” by writing backwards — started at the end of the novel, and trying to work my way back. That’s helped a bit, because it makes the work of *getting there* seem a little bit more manageable, and a little less scary.

    Have a lovely rest of the week!

    1. I’m sorry to hear you are in the same place, Lena. I think the academic work can be draining, although at its best, it fuels the creativity. I think it will come back to that; the muse is just bucking for a vacation, but I know the novel is there waiting. I know the same is true for you.

      Your suggestion to write the end is an interesting tactic; I sometimes write non-linearly (there’s a neologism for you!), in order to spark the muse, and I think it may be time to do that again.

      It is so hard to manage the academic work/research/writing with the creative–best of luck to us both traversing those rapids! Thanks for the encouragement and sympathy, my friend! Have a wonderful rest of the week!

  4. Like so many it seems, I’ve been feeling the same. And it’s not great to hear you feel this way, but I do appreciate how eloquently your disecribed it, and I do appreciate you for sharing it. It helps me to know its a common emotion in writers, to lose there passion/grit/desire at times. I’m awaiting beta readers for my fist MS – the 1st time its’ been read by anyone but me – I need to get moving on the second MS (which is in the form of a very bad 1st draft left over from last yrs NaNo) and outline the thrid for this yrs NaNo. But I have not got the enegy or the desire. I’m procrastinating, coasting, treading water. And the guilt for doings so weighs heavily on top of the lack of oomph within me. It’s not great and I have no answer. Other than to say, it will pass and it will right itself. Change the scenery, your writing medium, read something out of your comfoty zone. See if any of that works. Best of luck. X

    1. Oh, Shah, I’m sorry to hear that you are rowing through the doldrums as well. I do think that part of it is starting a new project, whether one has a “very bad” draft or a blank screen.

      Don’t sell yourself short; it’s great that you’ve released your MS to betas–that is a big step. No wonder you are feeling a bit of angst, but try not to feel guilty. One sometimes needs to let the well fill up again. I will try your suggestions–they are much appreciated, and I hope they work for you as well. x

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