Writing against the odds

clock I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because perfection takes work and mental resources are at low tide.

A light blue sky emerged from the dawn with a white moon, hanging like a powdered donut above Siloam Springs. At 8 A.M. Late August, an occasional school bus drives by, traffic passes in increments. A dribble that eventually transforms into a river along Hwy 412.

The curb I sit on frames the parking lot of the restaurant where I’m employed. Next door is another, where they serve much of the same type of fast food, but promote it as being fresher and healthier.
The occasional bus has turned into a caravan absent children.

The restaurant gig is something I took to pay rent. I don’t kid myself into believing that one day my work will be noticed and I’ll never have to work customer service or worry about repeated burn injuries again. In all honesty, there are many decent writers in the world who never get noticed. There are many bad ones who do. I’m not sure which is more tragic.

The business of writing is a tough one—I’ve said this too many times to count—but the reality of this hits home when you use small blocks of time to get anything written. The thirty minutes before clock-in, a thirty minute lunch break. Then there are those days you’re so exhausted you can’t think, much less write. Or your pen runs out of ink while on break and you don’t have enough time to go find another.

Regardless of the odds, most writers continue to write. I do. Of course, I’ve also quit in frustration. I’ve told myself I’m done with this, but have always come back with equal frustration in not writing.

I think the most difficult part in all this is trying to find the time and energy to keep writing. I want to write at least a thousand words a day, but am falling a bit short of that. I write when I can and that means, even when I’m exhausted, my back aches, my feet burn and I would much rather crawl into bed for the much needed rest.

I’ve had a few of those days lately. When I didn’t write, because I just couldn’t push myself mentally any further, but this past week, has been better. I wrote a short story in two days and this blog post. My novel is waiting my attention, but I don’t (yet) have the stamina to tackle that job. I’ll have to harness a bit more mental acuity before I get back to that.

So, for those readers who find themselves in similar situations, how do you find the time and energy to continue? Is there a magic pill? Perhaps a particular exercise? Meditation?

Inquiring minds want to know…

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7 thoughts on “Writing against the odds

  1. You could try meditation, or a certain kind of routine in which you can get your mind in gear (or calm enough) to write. Perhaps, when returning home on those nights you are not exhausted, you grab a favorite beverage, take off your shoes, take a moment to unwind (hopefully you will not fall asleep) and think about writing or daydream a little, just enough to unwind your mind from that grind (unintentional poetry there) and then see what you write. Just pick up the pen and see what comes out. Perhaps, you’ll have to wait for a sustained amount of free time to tackle your novel, but you may be able to write something. Or perhaps a daily journal, wherein you could jot ideas or just write about your day or what you observed that day, and it is possible something like that could be its own story or turn into a story.

    Also, perhaps take it easy on yourself a bit. 🙂 Rather than the stress of not being able to write a thousand words that day, perhaps you write 100? Because, as you say, you are writer. What is important, is that you write.

  2. It’s certainly tough. I’ve been struggling with this for 40 years now! I like to tell myself that everyone works under some kind of pressure – internal, external or both. I also like to tell myself that this pressure can be useful, that it forces us to concentrate, to make the best of it. It’s limiting, but with limits come definition, Of course, that’s all bullshit, but on the other hand I always felt that if I had nothing but time I’d do nothing at all.

  3. Okay, but would you really? If we have all the time, don’t we tend to fill that time with other things?

    I fill mine with writing. I think you do too. If we were painters, or crafters, we would fill that time with those things, because that’s what we love to do, right?

  4. I think I needed to hear this. There are ways to get it done, I just need to relax about it. I think there are some of us who don’t know how to relax.

    Even when I’m trying to relax, I’m thinking about what comes next.

    I did exactly what you’re suggesting, I sat down before work with a notebook and pen and just let my mind wander. I ended up with a short story called Bubble Gum Bicycle Man. It’s not my usual fare, but it’s something. I think it turned out okay. 🙂
    Thank you Niko.

  5. Awesome! So cool to hear you wrote a new short story (not because I offered the idea, but that you were able to write something, which you had been missing).

    Will you be posting Bubble Gum Bicycle Man (the title alone sounds interesting) on your blog (or somewhere where it can be read)?

    And you are welcome. 🙂

  6. 🙂 A copy is in email to you.
    I’m actually going to begin looking for markets to send to. I think I need to look into places to sell short stories. I just have to begin researching markets.
    Enjoy the story Nik. Let me know…

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