Some days are like diving backwards through the darkness into a black pool. Creating a space where shadows creep in feeding self-doubt in the mind. Writing can be a swinging pendulum where ups and downs cycle endlessly. Such is the complexity of holding onto a story for so long. Yet from the darkness the seeds of self-doubt can spark the greatest ideas. It is a paradox shifting with every moment. Somewhere between this the writer stands balancing hope and lingering doubt.
One Step Forward
The biggest tasks are accomplished one step at a time. Yet at the start it can be overwhelming. Time can make the end seem so far away. It can be disappointing when expectations are not met. One small setback can soon add up especially when dealing with a novel. It takes me close to a year to write a first draft. This gets broken down into little sizable chunks. Yet the big picture requires regular work to move forward. This is a challenge that can be daunting in the beginning.
Plan for the Down Time
It isn’t easy keeping the same pace or recognising patterns. There are times of the year when writing is not going to happen. Every year at the same time I wind down to a slow pace and switch to reading. Try as I might it happens, and it has been a struggle to let go of expectations. Instead the focus switches to other tasks. Keeping a ‘to do’ list has helped ease the sense of guilt.
Recognise Your Writing Pattern
There will always be occasions when life sneaks up on you. It is easy to get frustrated, but there may be a reason for needing to pause and take a break. Scheduling the down time allows me to focus on other tasks. That way the feeling of guilt over lost writing has not been as overwhelming. Writing is an enormous task. Don’t forget to give yourself permission to pause and recharge.