To Edit or To Cry: That Is The Question

Writer’s Block. That pesky thing that happens when you’re trying to make it as a “real” writer. Oh, the joys and woes of writing. And editing, because let’s face it, realistically speaking, all writing is rewriting. The guy who said that had it right.

I’m on chapter four of my current novel and it is frustrating me to no end. I have two other novels I need to be editing/rewriting and I haven’t gotten to do any of them because I’m stuck on this one evil chapter. I think–I may–I REALLY hope, I had a breakthrough but the thing about a breakthrough is that you actually have to rewrite the damn chapter to figure out if it even works.

For me, writer’s block only ever affects me when A) I’m in a really bad place in life, for example two summers ago when I was hospital bound and completely alone, or B) when depression is past the point of severe, or C) Both of the above. Usually, though, those two things come hand in hand. Life, due to pain and lack of independence, as become stagnant which is not a good thing for me. I spend too much time reminiscing, too much time on my own, and too much time wishing things were different. The reality is, I’m far too caught up in the problems of my own life, and I’m too far away to really help anyone else. Which is a problem for me. I need to be helping people but most of all I need out of my own head. My theory is that all those stories you hear about writers going crazy are based in reality–it is what happens if they’re left alone too long.

Okay, maybe that isn’t exactly right but it does have some truth to it. Being alone and isolated isn’t a good thing. It may seem good to someone who doesn’t have any time  to write but to someone in this situation it is anything but pleasant. No one, unless you’ve gone through something similar (I’ve been in this relative surgery-chronic-pain-illness purgatory for years) , can understand this. And it is also quite possible they, unless they too have been through something traumatic, will not, can not understand what it is like.

In the last little while I’ve had to give up a lot–more than even my closest friends know, and it hasn’t been easy. I’ve been teetering on the edge of the hopeless darkness for some time now–but the last few weeks have been worse, because on top of everything else I’ve been trying to deal with, I got a very nasty virus which knocked me on my ass.

But that isn’t to say good things haven’t happened. I’ve been put on a new medication (I hate it more than words can describe but it has actually been helping). I’ve even been getting actual sleep–which is a huge improvement from waking up every half an hour. The medicine has given me some strangely vivid dreams–but overall they’ve been pleasant enough, though ultimately very strange.

I’ve been accepted into all the schools I applied too and even though I was dying to go to the big school up North (hello, trees!), I made the even better choice to stay a bit closer to home which means I’ve been promised lots of help with things. So, I’m going to be an Honors English Student in September. It makes me nervous and excited and terrified and elated and even more excited.

I imagine now that you get the picture–life has been both overwhelming and underwhelming lately, and in some ways, both have left me with writer’s block. Though I think the biggest part of that problem is that I’ve been skipping my weekly writer’s club meetings since Joey died back in October and I also have been having a hard time getting really into a story. All of them just seem to fall flat right before me–which I attribute not to the lack of a good plot, and more towards my inability to actually concentrate. It’s hard to concentrate on anything when all you see everyday is the same walls. It is very possible I am going stir-crazy. But, on the bright side, I got to go to my favorite city and watch another awesome poetry reading. I even ran into some of my buddies from my writing club–which is really just the sign I needed to get myself back there. But seriously, editing is so hard–I’d even argue it’s harder than the actual writing part. The first draft was easy peasy compared to this damn editing. It is soul-sucking. I’m not even joking.

And writer’s block sucks. But, I don’t have the luxury of staying stuck. Which means I have to get to work. So if you have any tips or tricks on how to get ‘Unstuck’ let me know. For now, I’m think I’m going to go back to reading.

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