I’ve just finished reading Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being A Wallflower” and the protagonist Charlie writes letters to an unnamed and unknown recipient. So I am going to follow suit. I like the anonymity. I am sorry I don’t know you by name. I don’t know if you will read this, but if you’re willing to listen to me ramble for a little bit that would be reward enough.
I am frustrated.
I am frustrated at the lack of momentum in getting work finished. I began writing in 2009 (six years ago), beginning with small achievable steps with the aim of having a novel produced by this time. To do that I started reading blogs on writing short stories, structure, voice, style. I started writing short stories from prompts to get me focused. I wrote a short piece of flash fiction almost every week for months, generating new ideas and pieces of work.
I was gaining momentum and the desire grew. New opportunities were offered: a collaborative Choose Your Own Adventure style project, invitations to submit to anthologies and giving me my first publication credits, an invite to write for a website. Awesome.
But where has it all come unstuck?
Almost 5 years ago I took long service leave from my teaching job for a term with the aim of writing a novel. I had a plan, a text book to help me with structure, an 11-page, 6K word outline.
I wasn’t ready. I only managed 26K and loose change.
Since then I’ve co-written an epistolary novel, edited it, polished it for publication and now it’s waiting for a synopsis almost two years after the first draft was done and a year after edits and rewrites were completed.
Like a hyperactive goldfish who can’t remember what his castle looks like I’ve flitted and flirted with other creative writings mediums: Post It Note poetry, blackout/erasure poetry, haiku, haibun, poetry.
Trying to find the last time I finished a short story and had it ready for publication sends me back a couple of years. There is a document (there are many documents) sitting open on my laptop of a short story that is waiting for me to finish it. It sits idly by, adding days and weeks and months while I sort out what I want to do with it. It’s a favourite toy, once played with every day now sitting on the shelf collecting dust waiting to be played with again.
Even here on my blog, all sorts of ambitious ideas have sprouted, were watered for a while but are now sticks in the soil, without sustenance. without root, without fruit.
The list list of projects started and waiting completion is long. And an embarrassment.
I have grand aims, grand ambitions, zero movement and life keeps kicking me in the groin. I am partly to blame for some of that happening. Other times it is completely out of my control.
Over the last few weeks I have seriously contemplated turning off the blog, putting the pen and notebooks away and shredding my work. Another example of lack of discipline, lack of commitment, lack of being able to do anything worthwhile.
Everything is a smegging mess at the moment.
One good thing, though, is I am reading again. Finding enjoyment and fulfilment in the written word.
The conflict between dream and reality is vicious. I wanted to be so much further ahead than where I am now.
How does one find discipline and commitment when it has never been an active part of my life? The answer, I know, is simple: take one day at a time.
I’d like to take a day, one day of a weekend sometime, and really nut out what I want to achieve. Do I want to write novels? Novellas? Short stories? Verse novels? Poetry? Some of these? One of these? A combination? Are these achievable? Are they compatible?
More importantly, HOW I am going to achieve it? 2016 needs to be a year of GSD: Getting Stuff Done. I need to nut it out for daily, weekly, monthly goals in order to make this happen.
Thank you reader for allowing me to vent a little, sort myself out and get my head into a clearer vision of a way forward.
I’ll keep you updated on my progress.