The Irony of Defeat

August 21, 2011
Erik Johnson

Regardless of the dubious use of ‘irony’*, I find it funny that I write about motivation in the last blog entry and then the very next week finds several days in a row where I didn’t write anything.  I had been writing consistently for a couple of months, so what went wrong?

I have some very good reasons for not writing – it was never a case of ‘I don’t wanna.’ I’m taking a new day job and we’re in the process of packing and moving. On top of that, my current job is in education and last week was new student orientation. So my Real Life has been keeping me very busy. So busy that I actually forgot to write one day. Just poof, woke up the next morning and had a “Aw damn” moment.

This is a learning lesson, however, and I’ll take it as such. First, never mind karma, hubris is a bitch. Here I am writing about motivation and writing every day, and then BAM in the writing solar plexus. Life intrudes. I can’t even imagine how people with kids do it. It’s easy to write every day and set yourself goals when you have time to do so. The real trick is carving out time and energy, even when you don’t have time and energy. Note to self: work on that.

Second lesson is from the book of working myself into a corner. I decided to write a story that’s been running through my head for while and when I started it, I realized that my basic premise is a little sketchy and needs some shoring up. Add in a character who I suddenly realized would be absolutely psychotic if I wrote him the way I originally intended. I toned him down a lot, which is what lead to holes in my premise. I can fix it in revision, but once I started writing myself off the diving board, I realized my rule of not working on more than one thing at a time left me no leeway to set something aside and let it percolate in the back of my head when it needs to. I’m thinking hard now about how to work this situation within the rules I set down. How can I write every day on something that needs a break? I’m not exactly sure. If you have thoughts, please let me know.

And the last thing that became apparent is that I need to set aside a consistent time to write. I’m contemplating in the morning, since that seems to be when a lot of ideas come to me anyway.  Or perhaps at lunch. Whatever I decide, I need to stick to it. That should help ride out the Life Happens periods.

So, the attic and the smell of tape and cardboard call me. Let’s see if I can find more forgotten story ideas up there.


(*as to the post title, the callback to the Wide World of Sports stuck in my head and wouldn’t go away.)