Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

Hi, everyone.  It's been a while since I've posted, but here we are.

Stuff has changed.  You might have seen the fallout from it recently-- we've had to reevaluate friendships and time management and how to live with ourselves.  I think we all hoped it would never come.  But, that's life.  You get knocked down, you get back up.

Let's start again.  Howdy.  I'm Cap, here to tell you about how to get back into a rhythm you might have lost.

Writing is a lifestyle.  Anyone can be a writer, but if you want to improve in the craft, you need to set aside time for it, again and again.  That can be hard.  In different stages of life, you might be asked to use that time for other things.  You might not be able to compromise.  Sometimes, you have to realize that your former dream-- writing, publishing, whatever-- needs to take a backseat.

That's going to hurt.  A lot.

But sometimes you realize that although writing is hard right now, it isn't impossible.  It's still a dream you want to achieve.  Even though you can't set aside the time you wish you could, you can still work toward that goal.

So how to deal with that?  When your writing routine, which worked for such a long time, gets interrupted-- how do you bounce back and keep working?  How do you get back into that flow you had before?

Let me tell you a story.

A couple years ago, I enjoyed the wonderful status of Very Few Responsibilities ™.  I was in-between missions, I had solid three months of paid vacation from SHIELD saved up (this was before the whole Hydra snafu), and I was raring to write.  Let me tell you, I wrote fast.  I wrote this 65k baby in something like 13 days.  My fingers were flying.  I had a week where I wrote at least 8k per day, building up to 16k one time— a full quarter of the book, in one day.  I can't say the book was that great, but I really ripped through it.

Fast-forward to this year, when I started a novel back in February and ended it in May.  That might have been the longest I've ever taken to write a complete book.  It was hard.  It felt like pulling teeth.  A million things were happening all at once, I was stressed out, I couldn't concentrate on anything, but I finished it.

But through that entire novel, I was thinking about how easy the 65k one had been.  Thirteen days.  Thirteen.  Why couldn't I write that fast all the time?  If ever I needed to blow through a novel, this was it.  I had no time for anything.

Looking back on that time of my life, I realized that I had lived a different life back then.  I couldn't have dreamed of the stresses I now faced.  I had become a different person in those years, and I couldn't just close my eyes and return to my old life.

Well, same thing happened when I was frozen for all those decades.  I had to rediscover how to live the life I wanted to live, without my friends, with different stresses.  I had bounced back then.  I could bounce back now, with writing.

It was difficult, but I pushed myself through.  I wrote one or two thousand words a day, sometimes only a couple hundred.  I started reading more regularly.  I got in touch with old friends.  I still didn't have the time I wished I had, but at least I was moving forward.

Now I'm working on editing an old novel.  I'm not moving very quickly on that either, but I'm moving forward, and that's what's important.  I'm still trying to figure out a good system I can use for this next season of life, but that's okay.  Life is growth.  I couldn't stand anything less.

If you find yourself in this position, stuck and wondering if you'll ever find the time to get back to your dreams, just remember these two things.

If you think it's worth it, it's worth it.  It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, especially with something like this.  If you think it's worth it but your surroundings look down on it, that's their problem, not yours.  Make time for it.  Prove that you're willing to work hard for what you want.

Any progress is better than no progress.  Move forward.  Don't sit in one place, or backslide.  move forward.  If you can keep moving forward, you'll begin to learn how this new lifestyle fits with your lifelong dream.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you how to live.  I can't tell you what works for you.  But I know this: if you write, you're a writer.  If that means five words or five thousand, it doesn't matter.  You're still a writer.  You're still pursuing that goal.  And even though you might have changed, the value and the joys of writing have not.

Go write, my friends.  Pick yourself up.  Get yourself going.  Don't weep over the rhythm you might have lost-- find a new one and make it work.  Good luck.

~Captain America

1 comment:

  1. I really needed this right now. I went through a similar thing earlier this year. Thanks for the advice, Cap. ^ ^