Avoidance (Or, wanting to swallow the elephant whole)By
So, ever since deciding to pick up my metaphorical pen again, and return to doing some fiction writing, I’ve been finding myriad ways to avoid the actual writing part. In fact, at this moment. I’m avoiding my fiction writing by writing this post on the subject of avoidance.
Kinda meta, huh?
The hardest thing I ever did in my writing career was give it up for a few years. Not the giving up part, I guess. That part was pretty easy since it just sorta happened and it was months before I even realized it had happened. Then I went through several rounds of trying to keep it going, restarting, and then finally justifying a dozen different ways as to why I no longer had the time. Sure, I had picked up a creative job and it was paying the bills. And alternately my kids were becoming more and more demanding, especially the one with pretty serious aspirations and who made my work ethic (the good one I used to have) look pale and pathetic by comparison to his efforts. Still, I look back and amaze myself at how I not only let it slip away, but gave it a firm boot in the ass on the way out the door.
But it was hard. Hard on my emotional state. My mental state. And as I look at two-plus years of saying I wanted to get back up and running, and my recent stalled efforts, I begin to think about the elephant.
Not an elephant-in-the-room elephant. I’ve got a few of those lumbering around in my past, and my present, too. Those guys aren’t so much of a problem (currently). They can actually be fairly quiet and easy enough to live with most of the time. Elephant-in-the-room elephants never take the last beer and always lower the seat lid afterwards, so all in all they aren’t terrible roommates.
No. This is the need-to-eat type of elephant. A one-bite-at-a-time pachyderm. The trouble with this kind of elephant is that they are kinda dusty dry and tough as leather, and they tend to look at me rather reproachfully as I think about where I want to take that first bite. I’ve often had trouble with parceling out large problems into smaller, workable problems. Give me a Gordian knot and I’m looking for a sharp blade. I solve the Rubik’s Cube by taking the damn thing apart and reassembling it, then left it on my shelf for a year ro so before I threw the obnoxious thing away.
But the elephant won’t go. I love writing. I’ve loved and hated and loved again every novel I’ve ever written (in that order). I enjoy being creative, and entertaining people. I like bringing new characters and worlds to life. And in good Loren-fashion, I’ve been trying to swallow the elephant in one gulp so I don’t have to watch it watching me try to devour it. That just ain’t working. Not even with the world’s best candy coating.
I’ve had friends tell me not to stress so much about it. Some have reminded me of my own advice to writers in the past, that momentum works in both directions. It takes time. It takes effort.
I’m getting there. Step by step. Thought by thought. Word by excruciatingly-slow-word. I’m still tied to a job that sucks down a large part of my week, dealing with family, and all the usual jazz. But I’m finding time. Time to make the effort, even if tonight it is just sitting down to pound out my frustrations on the keyboard, so I can look back on them after I hit “update” and (hopefully) feel that–even if I haven’t started eating with gusto–I’ve at least managed to shrink that gray, floppy-eared bastard into something that will at least fit into my dining room.
Knowing that I’m just maybe starting to develop my appreciation for the taste of elephant again.