When I started writing about twenty years ago, I had no room in my life for it, really, my day job took most of my time and energy, but I had the obsession, and for a long time obsession was enough. The obsession carried me past those slings and arrows thrown by the collection of internal voices that I came to call ‘the editorial committee,’ past crash-prone desk-tops and lost pages, past rewrites, past fear of rejection (or exposure) and all the rest of it. I got my pages out in spite of the very real fact that my circumstances were not conducive.
Things have changed.
I have ample space now, both figuratively and literally. My wife and I have been in our new house for a couple of months now and it no longer bears much resemblance to a campsite. Almost everything works (except me), we got cable, man, we got wifi, we got CostCo, we got the beach, we got Sanibel just across the bay, who’s got it better than us?
For the six months before that, what I had was chaos, as we packed up (or dumped) thirty some odd years worth of stuff in Jersey and schlepped the whole circus to Florida. Needless to say, I basically got nothing written. So when I finally sat down and looked at my work-in-progress, or rather work-of-no-progress, I was able to see one of my own writing projects with a measure of objectivity that I have never managed before. And you know what, it’s not horrible.
It’s a mess, but it’s not horrible.
Sometimes the advice you get about writing is exactly what you don’t need. Just write! Get your pages out! First drafts always suck, just get it down! Keep throwing stuff at that wall! But redoubling your efforts after you have lost sight of your objective is the definition of fanaticism, and fanatics make lousy writers. Ever tried to read Atlas Shrugged? Bleah.
I would not have chosen to shelve something I was working on for six months, but it might not have been the worst thing that could happen.
And check out my new writing space!
I have few excuses left.