I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump that last six months or so. I’d like blame it on a grueling work and school schedule, but that would be a lie. The truth is, I haven’t been applying myself, and I’ve allowed self-doubt to wiggle its way into my subconscious.
In an effort to rectify this bad habit and regain some much-needed confidence, I sat down at my computer this weekend, pulled out my binder labeled Retribution, and opened the Word file of the same name. I scrolled through page after page of text until I found the spot where I last left my main character dangling off of the side of a yacht anchored in the middle of the Danube. I reread the preceding paragraphs, noted the word count.
I was ready to write. It was going to be brilliant. I knew it. I could feel it. Creativity surged through my veins, setting my soul on fire.
But first, I needed to know how to say “I am going to kill you, you piece of shit” in Hungarian.
That’s where it began – and ended.
A productive afternoon of writing derailed by the time sucking abyss known as the internet. Sure, it started out innocent enough. I did go to my favorite online translation source. I did find a comparable and acceptable phrase. I even wrote it down. But that’s when I “accidently” clicked on the Facebook toolbar tab; then MSNBC; then OMG Katy Perry and Russell Brand are getting divorced?
Three hours later, my character was still dangling over the side of the yacht; still waiting for an opportunity to make good on a promise to kill the man who is responsible for her predicament. And I was no closer to get her down than I was when I started.
It was at this point that I realized I have a problem. I am too “plugged in”; too prone to distraction these days. I am by no stretch of the imagination the queen of procrastination, but it seems that if left to my own devices, I will choose pointless, brain cell killing pop culture uselessness over substantive creativity.
So what to do?
Of course, this is easier said than done, especially, in today’s society where we are programmed to need instant access to everything – emails, voice mails, status updates, news, the Kardashians. We are a bunch of instant gratification junkies. As a writer, the internet is an invaluable research tool. It’s convenient, efficient, and quick. But I am finding that I have to draw a line in the sand. I need to make the conscious effort to avoid logging on and signing in. After all, I’d like to finish this damn novel before I am too old to type.
How am I going to accomplish this?
I am going start by disabling my wireless when I sit down to write.
I am going to learn to mark what I don’t know and move on.
I am going to learn to accept that a draft is just that – a draft.
Of course, none of these things will be easy for me, but then, nothing worth doing is ever easy. It will take some time to adjust, but I am confident that with a little practice, I will begin to see some real progress.
Now, excuse me. I have to go write my character off the side of a yacht. She’s been there since October and is starting to get a little belligerent.