Welcome to Monday Musings, where I ponder some aspect of writing that has popped into my head over the last week or so. I’ve had to put my own writing on the backburner the past couple of weeks in favour of much less pleasurable things like job applications. I wanted to talk about how that feels, because there is an almost palpable feeling I get when I don’t write for a while.
There’s that quote that I’m not even sure is attributed to anyone specific: “I write because I can’t not write.”
This is true of me. I’ve just always been writing. But there are times when I’m prevented. The week before last, I was editing my mother’s local history book prior to her visiting to go through it with me and clarify parts I wasn’t sure about. This week, I was writing job applications. And of course, there are other times when the words just aren’t coming. When I’m stuck on a scene or my WIP feels stale or I just have no inspiration.
It can be all right for a short while. But if it goes on for more than a few days, I honestly start to get this gnawing feeling in my stomach. My fingers get twitchy. I get bad-tempered, too, though whether that’s just because of the lack of writing and not an entirely separate personality flaw is an issue for another day.
The other issue is that psychologically I fall into a viscious cycle. Not so much one of self-doubt, as I know I am a capable writer. But I do get into spirals abouut the worth of the current idea. And I can’t take up new ideas, either, to try to get a quick creative rush. Rather than just taking a prompt and running with it, I stare at it for ages. While I’m usually a pantser, when I’m in these sorts of funks, I stare at a prompt trying to figure out the entire story before I put a single word down. I don’t know why.
When the issue is that I’m stuck on a scene or it feels stale, I usually find that skipping the scene and going to a spot in the WIP where I know what needs writing is the solution. But for some reason, it takes me ages to remember this. Every. Time.
When it’s a situtation like my current one, I will have to ease myself back in slowly, work out where I was up to, try to remember what I was planning before I was forced to ignore my WIP for a while. This coming week, I probably won’t make that much progress, but after that, I should find my groove again.
This is why I try to make writing a priority during busy periods, such as when I’m trying to get uni work finished. It keeps me sane in more than one way. First, it’s a break from the stress of research and essay-writing, and secondly, I don’t end up with this gnawing I-should-be-writing feeling on top of all of that.
Does not writing affect you this way? What do you do to manage it when it can’t be helped?