I’ve been suffering lately from a beyond-blogging writing slump. I make progress for a week or two on “the book,” or jot down an idea for an essay or article to pitch, and then something happens — life happens — and my productivity and drive all go to pot. It’s like I’ve spent the day rushing around and if I sit down (metaphorically, of course, because you can be sure my cushy ass is already seated in a chair when I write) I can’t seem to get back up again.
Earlier this week I had lunch with one of my writing mentors, the talented Julie Long, humor essayist, blogger, co-author of Baby: An Owner’s Manual, and aspiring-to-be-published novelist herself. While Julie’s credits far outweigh mine, it was nice to kibitz with someone about both the joys and successes in writing a novel — mine now including a completed query letter, a list of agents to contact, and the possibility of an agent meeting at a conference next month (yikes) — and the woes…mine including handwritten edits (scribbled across 300+ pages) that still aren’t typed in and a synopsis that currently exists only in my head. Anyway, I told her it’s really hard for me to get my groove back when something throws off my routine, whether it be finding a quiet time to write, exercise, whatever.
But then I said, “Maybe it’s not about finding a way to get back to that routine; it’s about finding a new one.”
Holy genius insight, Batman!
Could it be that I’ve been dwelling on getting back to a place, a routine, that just won’t work anymore? That maybe, just maybe, I should adapt and focus on finding a way to do it differently?
The next day one of my co-workers gave a presentation, and quoted one of his grad school professors, who was a military historian. The prof would tell his class, “Amateurs talk strategy. Pros talk logistics.”
Wow. So simple, yet so… freakin’ hard.
I want to be a pro. I need a new routine to get back into my writing projects and get them to the next phase. I need logistics. The question now is: what are they?
Are you a writer on the side, too? Or do you have another “passion” you manage to squeeze in with everything — and everybody — else in your life? How do you do it?
How. Do. You. Do. It. Please tell me!
(And do you sleep — ever? Because, honestly, I’m not nearly as charming when I’m sleep-deprived and a basket case.)