Recap: Writing Environment Woes

I spent an inordinate amount of time this past week staring at a computer screen, being distracted, and ultimately failing as a writer in a perfectly idyllic writing environment. Now that I’ve returned to the “real world,” I’m trying to avoid the old cycle of “I’ll write when I get time.” And then I never “get” time. As if I’m looking for a gift from heaven, or a lucky break.

I get lots of lucky breaks. And I take them to study up on camping, think about writing, NOT read a book, and rot my brain on another dozen or so political “news” blogs about what some someone said about someone else.

I’m not married. I have no kids. I am the owner of my space. Yet I can’t figure out how to write in the time I have.

I didn’t retreat solo last week; my girlfriend accompanied me. As a teacher, she spends a lot of time researching, studying, creating, and grading. She put the retreat to good use. Around Wednesday night, I caught myself complaining as if I had something to say about my “lot” in writing life.

She threw a book at me, and told me to read the first two chapters. I read them, and they essentially said what I needed to hear: Chapter 1, Write!; Chapter 2, Here are the most used excuses for people who don’t write, and how dumb they sound on paper, so Write!

It hurt my pride, which is small in the first place. It takes a lot to hurt my pride. So I thought about it, and hit the writing bug from another angle: worldbuilding, background work, and a bunch of backstory. Now I have a stronger platform from which to jump into the abyss that is my writing happiness. Elusive, elusive happiness.

So now the retreat is over, the gf is busy elsewhere, and I’m staring down the barrel of a regular life with lots of time to write, if I make time. So I decided to take a few steps back and look at the situation as it’s unfolding. I still haven’t made time, I still haven’t grown the brass to even sit down. Why? Bad habits? Most likely.

After spending a little time deconstructing, I also recognized I liked the idea of writing while doing other things. Work, play, whatever, I often think, “I wish I could write right now,” while doing other things. It has become something other than writing. It is more a state of mind, or a state of being, that “isn’t here.”

I don’t like that idea, therefore I must change it. One keystroke at a time. I must sit and write and fumble and cuss and lose minutes and hours on little output, so I can rewire. So it’s no longer an “over there” thing to wish for, but a “here I am” place to write.

Again, I wish to build off the previous post. Write. That’s it. I can’t think about it, long for it, want it, try and perfect my surroundings for it, my research, whatever.

This is a powerfully frustrating thing. I used to blame my job. I used to blame my desk, my lack of dreaming, my lack of time. And that might have been the problem, in small ways. But the fact that I haven’t even tried to write, seriously, in over a year and a half is almost unconscionable. I can’t stare at the room where I could write and say, “That room is too cold to write in today.”

Lame. Time to fix it. I’m done being a little bitch.

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