Ironic. I was thinking that I really don't feel like writing anything, and figured I'd just take a look at my schedule for my planned posts on writing (if I could find it). And there it was: topic #4, dealing with the doldrums. Thanks to the switch to Daylight Savings Time, it couldn't be more appropriate. Today is, in my opinion, the worst Monday of the year. A day when a little shift in the clock messes with my whole brain and ability to get out of bed, let alone accomplish anything once I'm up.
So when I say "doldrums," I'm not talking about writer's block. To be honest, I've never really had that. Only the blahs. No wind in my sails, no energy to pour onto the page. My guess is that for most of us, that's the most deadly and insidious enemy of our writing. Not writer's block, the paralyzing inability to fill the page, leaving us to sit for hours staring at a blank paper (or screen). Rather, it's the paralyzing inability to get up from the breakfast table, clear away the detritus of getting three guys off to school and work, and go turn on the computer.
And yet, here I am. How did I do it? Well, for one thing, I'm here at the blog, not the novel. Definitely not the novel that's in the middle of a rather depressing round of edits/revision. And, to be honest, I sort of slithered into it. I went from turning on the computer and looking at the weather forecast to reading a few blogs to clicking on my own blog and figuring I could at least get a little done there. That's not so hard, right?
Well, maybe. That sunny room down the hall with a soft bed is still calling. Messing with my circadian rhythms is a cruel trick.
But sleep-deprivation isn't the only reason I want to dodge work on any given day, even if it's the cause today. We all get there sometimes. Maybe the story isn't going well. Maybe we feel inadequate as a wife/parent/employee and think we should ditch writing, just today, and clean house/play with the kids/go in early to work. And I say: don't do it. If this is your scheduled writing time, keep at it. Sit there in front of the computer/notebook, and be a writer. I once read that that if you want to develop a habit, it requires doing the thing 26 (or maybe 30. . . can't remember) times in a row. So we'll say a month of sitting down at 9 a.m. without fail and acting like a writer, and then you'll do it automatically, the way you pick the kids up at 3:04 p.m. after school or go to the gym for an hour after work every day. That's the hope, anyway.
And if you sit there and have nothing to say, or no energy to say it? Do it anyway. Find a writing prompt and play around. Write your blog. I start each day's writing by typing up what I wrote the previous day, and that can be a marvelous jump-starter.
I also count time spent making a cup of coffee as part of my writing time. After all, some things you just have to do. And caffeine stimulates the brain, right?
Oh, and that nap? Yeah, I took it.