There’s an early episode of Mad Men where Peggy is trying to sell a weight loss stimulant that pretty much doubles as a vibrator and she’s struggling creatively. Don, in a moment of genius mentorship tell her, “Just think about it deeply, then forget it…then an idea will jump up in your face.”
As far as my current struggles go, I have been thinking about them to the point of obsession and it’s hard to forget about them. No ideas have come to me as a result. I’ve tried loads of things such as re-outlining (painstaking), talking about it to my friends (who make me speak in vague terms because they don’t want the book spoiled), talking to myself about it (I’m losing my mind), cutting myself off from social media (difficult), and cutting my self of from real life social interaction (also difficult and slightly rude).
So now I’m at the part of the program where I put my current WiP (work in progress) aside and write something else. This might be the only way to get me to stop thinking about it. I’m annoyed at myself for slowing down the process even more. I fluctuate between thinking I’m a worthless writer or a total idiot (writers are deeply insecure and I’ve been assured I’m not the only one who feels this way). I look at my goals for 2014 and I cringe because I was so confident in the book coming out this year and now it might not. I’ll have to put my foot in my mouth.
My friend Gina and I had a running joke after we graduated from college called “Post-Grad Problems.” They included things such as “talking about health insurance with friends” and “checking if a man is wearing a wedding ring”. Another one of the things I could tack to the list is “doing things that suck now, but are better in the long run.”
Making no progress and feeling discouraged sucks, but perhaps taking a sabbatical from the A story and working on another will put me back into happy go-lucky writer mode instead of the verbal pity party I’ve been throwing myself over the past couple of weeks.
Apparently, JK Rowling wrote other stories while working on Harry Potter when she needed a break. John Green got halfway though a novel before he ditched it and wrote ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ and it took Chad Harbach five years to finish “The Art of Fielding.” See, even the professionals do it. I remind myself of this over and over again when I start to worry.
It’s time to stop worrying and start writing. I’m out.