Getting Stuck

JournalThis is not profound, but it’s something, which is more than I have been doing. What I haven’t been doing is writing. Let’s look at why.

1.  Germs

I have been sick, and it was mighty ugly, but I haven’t been sick the whole time. At most, being sick accounts for five days out of the twenty days since my last blog post. Even if I give myself a couple other days when I didn’t feel too hot, that still leaves a considerable majority of time available for writing.

Time taken from writing: 35%

2.  John’s birthday

Once you are our age, birthdays aren’t such a big event. In fact, it’s preferable to let them sneak by without a lot of fanfare. Still, since I claim to love him, it’s nice to do some special things for the guy. But that only accounts for a day. It’s not like I planned a huge party or anything. I made a tuna casserole and a Jell-O cake.

Time taken from writing: 5%

3. Spent a day getting furniture

My future writing area (I am calling it my nest) now has about every piece of furniture needed. Up next is remodeling the whole area (a major reconstruction project), which will steal away more writing time.

Time taken from writing: 5%

3. Various commitments

We all have them. For me, there was critique group, writing group, Penguins game, Totally 80s show, errands, car service for Ellie, Supervoid/Whores/Lo-Pan/T-tops show, Justin coming over, and exercise that accounts for–if I’m being generous–about two days.

Time taken from writing: 10%

The Grand Total: 55%

That leaves 45%, right? That’s a decent chunk of productive time to be had. So what I have I done with that time? Let’s take a look at the writing numbers from the past twenty days.

  • Novel progress: 0
  • Short stories started: 2
  • Short stories completed:  0
  • Blog posts attempted: 1
  • Blog posts done: 0
  • Personal journal entries: 17
  • Poems written: 1
  • Books read: 2

Well now… that doesn’t seem very productive, does it?

The truth of the matter is I spend a lot of time wasting time. I could fill up that other 45% with all kinds of excuses that appear perfectly valid. Hays Bald EagleWho doesn’t have to do laundry, spend time with family, feed their cats and dog, and watch The Walking Dead before it gets spoiled on Facebook? And everyone needs down time to get sucked into binge sessions on Netflix or to watch a bald eagle sit on some eggs, right?

Yeah, people who don’t get things done.

He that is good for excuses is seldom good for anything else.

-Benjamin Franklin

I’ve been told I’m too hard on myself, and that’s true to some degree. But I’ve craftily incorporated that excuse into my plan. When I start feeling bad (as I should) about doing no writing on my novel, the little voice in my head says, “Don’t be so hard on yourself.” I cover the feelings of guilt and shame with all the important and meaningful things I’ve done, ignoring the fact the TV has been on more than it’s been off the past three weeks.

Even if I don’t ignore my indulgences completely, I can say I’m getting ideas from watching TV or surfing the Internet. I can justify just about anything with getting ideas. Nobody needs that many damn ideas. As I said before, ideas are worthless if they just sit in my head to rot. Plus, I don’t need more ideas! I need to finish the ideas already in progress.

The good news is I have lots of potential projects to finish. The bad news is I’m a notorious non-finisher, and my novel is no different. As I draw closer to the end, it gets harder. I can spend another whole post psychoanalyzing why I do this, but I’ve done that before, and it clearly hasn’t helped. What helps is doing, working, putting the pen on the paper or the fingers on the keyboard. Time to start finishing some things.

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