Have you ever started out in one direction or doing one thing and ended up somewhere doing something you never intended? You know, you meant to go to a favorite restaurant or something and ended up someplace else for some reason? Or maybe you started a project with one outcome in mind but something else emerged unexpectedly along the way.
When I built furniture, I did a lot of planning in my head. I wrote down dimension and measurements, to be sure, but the vision of the piece I was building and the construction methods to assemble it often came on the fly. Sometimes it turned out just like I saw it in my head, and other times it didn’t. Sometimes those on-the-fly changes worked in my favor, and sometimes they made a lot of firewood. And I didn’t have a fireplace.
When I write, I’ve found it beneficial not to do this. I have a scene or an exchange in my head. Sometimes it’s an idea for a novel, but more often than not, that grows out of a single vision, a single snippet of thought or vision in my mind which blossoms into more. That’s not enough to write an entire novel around, and sometimes it’s not enough to write a short piece around either, and so I end up spending a lot of time letting the idea percolate. If it blooms into something more, I’ve got something more, but a lot of times, I have a disjointed set of scenes and characters which don’t add up to much of anything.
The urge to write something substantial is banging on my head right now. As I’ve noted before here, nothing stimulates my creativity like having something more important to do than indulge it. When I didn’t have a Slurp to occupy my time, I was as idea-dry as the Sahara is water-dry. And the ideas I’d written down when they came to me didn’t motivate me enough to write. But now, I feel the thumping in my head which wants me to sit down, finish the tiny bits of structural planning I have to do, and write them. At least ONE of them. And yet, I have to write the non-fic. And I’ve been missing motivation there too.
So I have a daunting project and little motivation to do it. But until I get it done I can’t really embark on a big personal (read: non-paying) project either. So I’m in a creative Catch-22 and can’t do anything to budge myself either way. Oh, it’s not a permanent condition by any stretch, but it’s an annoying one. Aggravating. And I can’t figure out where my “want-to” has gone.
How often do you have to tap your self-discipline to force yourself to do something you’ve planned to do but haven’t “gotten around to”? Does procrastination overtake you or do you just slip into inertia? Or maybe you’re a dynamo, with more energy than the Energizer Bunny on meth. If so, what sorts of things do you do to focus that energy and … aw, forget it. If that’s you, we can’t relate to each other.
Sound off, fellow back-sliders! Let me know how you deal with it and what doesn’t work, too.