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Monday, July 22, 2013

Icebergs and Demons

I have not been very persistent lately, but I've had a lot of good reasons not to be.  Sort of.  The real reason is that I've just been discouraged and unmotivated.  My plans to be up an extra hour early so I can have some writing time are thwarted each morning by a haze of sleepiness and a demon that whispers to me, 'What's the point?'

My dad likes to tell me that William Somerset Maugham used to get up at four o'clock every morning to write.  I would like to have that discipline, although maybe not get up quite so early.  People often say that I am disciplined.  Somehow I've managed to commit to enough writing time in order to finish a few books.  Lately, though, I've really felt the truth in what they say about writing being a lonely pastime.  I do feel isolated, like I'm on my own little iceberg, floating aimlessly through frigid waters.  I'm guessing I'm not the only one who feels this way.  If I could just catch a glimpse of someone else navigating their own iceberg, and we could reach our hands out so that our fingers would brush as we passed each other, that would be nice.

This weekend I went to Peet's with a friend who is also a writer.  When we first began to connect about a year ago, I remember being excited to learn that, in addition to being a fun and caring person, she liked to write.  I talked to her about struggling to motivate myself, and she had some helpful suggestions.  When feeling resistance around her own writing time, she tries doing an exercise out of a book instead of working on a personal project, or analyzing someone else's writing, or reading about writing.  That way, at least she has done something writerly with her hour.  I had always felt that if I wasn't using the time to move forward with my current project, it didn't count.  My friend's way of thinking is much better.

My friend's advice was just what I needed, but there was something else I wanted to try.  I asked her if we could be writing buddies.  She said yes, and we agreed on a time when we would call each other each day to check in.  Over the rest of the weekend I planned out how I would manage my time on Monday morning, and what I would work on this week.  For today, at least, it worked!  I'm sure the What-does-it-matter demon is still lurking in my subconscious, but now I have more tools to fight it.  I also have the comfort of someone else riding alongside my iceberg with me.