Revisions to Surreality are proceeding normally, but since a lot of the material is off with my editor at the moment I find myself looking for other ways to keep my writing mind engaged, to find small projects to work on so I can be productive, but not distracted from the current book either. With me there is a real danger in taking on new projects in that I ignore or put away the old ones (which I assure is not happening with this book, it is too close to finished to not get it done).
I tried working on some fiction short stories for a while, both with writing prompts and my own longer project. Sometimes this went well, but often the writing was making me tired and I didn’t feel as in it as I had when I worked on Surreality. I still love writing fiction, I’m just not quite in the headspace for it right now.
I’ve been doing technical writing for work for the last month and a half and though I am enjoying the novelty of being paid to write, I’m finding it difficult to switch mental gears at night or in the morning. And truthfully I’m putting out more output per day than even I’m used to (8 hour workdays will do that to you), so it can feel tiring just to put any of my own words on the page.
For a while I tried the whole “relaxing” thing, basically playing games, watching TV shows I hadn’t made time for and reading a little more, feeling that the blogging and the technical writing were keeping up the skill. I even took the time earlier this month to reorganize my office (which had become almost impossible to work in). Relaxing is fine, but if any of you have the writing bug like I do, it only works for so long. It starts to bother you that you haven’t created anything for yourself in a while. You feel stressed, you feel tired and antsy at the same time.
For me this cycle was broken just last week when a lucky browse through the Amazon book store found me a book on a topic near and dear to my heart. I devoured it in less than a week, and it inspired me to take another look at one of my passion non-fiction projects that has been in more of the hypothetical part of my brain (no not Fractals Vol. 2 though maybe someday).
I’ve been writing non-fiction all day for work, so my brain is in the perfect gear to write non-fiction at home. Sometimes as a writer you have to not fight against the tide of what your body or mind is telling you. If something feels tiring, if it feels like its not working, then you need to put it aside for a while, and find something that makes better use of how you are at the moment.
Now that I’ve decided to work on this project I feel energized, excited, and feeling more like my old writing self. And the books I get to buy as an excuse for research are kind of cool too. When I’ve got a little more to say about the project, I’ll share, but for now I’m tweaking the format and setting up a writing schedule.
Again, let me assure Surreality will be finished. My wife and I have put a lot of time into it so we’re getting it done. And that work feels good too, knowing that something is coming into its final form. This project complements rather than detracts from my current projects.
It’s hard to be a writing machine. At the end of the day I’m a person with moods and I’m the best writer I can be when I tune into those moods and make writing choices that are not based on stubbornness. If a story is meant to be written, then there will come a time when it is easy to write. The trick is knowing when that time is.