When your "sit down and do it" is broken
This post will not be long, and it will not be structured in any way. Sometimes it's okay to just wing it. Over the past few weeks, I've dedicated my time and energy to making this blog look and feel professional and pretty. Lately, though, I've been feeling a little down and overwhelmed, so I'm eschewing showmanship for some realness.
I've got a lot of creative ideas that I'm still very excited about, but sometimes you just don't... wanna. You know? Writers experience all sorts of highs and lows -- one day or week or month you feel incredibly creative and motivated, and then you go through a period of not wanting to produce anything that can range from wanting to take a small break to total writer's block. Luckily, I'm not currently suffering with the latter.
Life is hard, especially nowadays, and it gets the best of you every so often. With the negative state of protests, pandemic, and politics, I've become very discouraged. I know it's just a down moment, but for the time it's really affected my desire to create.
In a very recent post, I listed ten tips that help me feel motivated and write my best. Tip number one said: Just do it. Getting over the hump of not wanting to write is your biggest obstacle, and if you make it over, the words will come out. Well, I put that bit of advice to the test this morning, and I'm proud to say it still works. I'm writing. I'm not writing what I really want, of course, but this is feeling very therapeutic, which helps.
Before this moment, I hadn't written anything since... Friday? Probably Friday. I lost track of time. I have a draft of a post I've been working on since the last time I wrote, and for some reason I haven't been able to finish it. I'll get it done. Probably this week. Or something.
I had plans this Monday to finally send my query for We Are Eternal. I wrote the entire submission this time last year, and I agonized over it for months, crafting it to what felt like perfection. And then, right before I sent it, I pasted the letter portion into the Hemingway App.
Guys, DON'T USE THIS APP.
Not because it's bad, but because it is the enemy of complex sentences. While it helped me see a few places I could improve -- sentence structure, omitting an adverb, and removing language that made my statements sound timid -- it also had me dumbing everything down to elementary-level sentences and questioning my ability as a writer. This is not realistic. (For comparison, I wrote a sentence from a blurb in the nearest best seller I could find in my work space, and Hemingway highlighted that one to hell, too. It made me feel a bit better.)
On top of that, I did a little more research on the literary agent I planned to send my query to, to see if there was anything else I could add in my letter about my reasons for choosing her. Luckily (or unluckily), I found an interview on the most obscure blog where this agent stated that while she's definitely open to works that are self-published and published through smaller outlets (mine is the latter), she wants new work sent to her. That means my carefully crafted argument for why I wanted her to represent my already published novel went out the window. What a setback.
Thankfully, I have a query letter for my latest novel, Way Down Low, already drafted. All it needs is polishing, as does the manuscript. So I suppose that will be my project for the rest of the year. I'm aiming to query with Way Down Low in September of this year.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm very proud of Way Down Low, and I'm excited to get this story out there. With recent events surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement in our country (and the world... wow!), I think this year is the perfect time to push for this story to be heard. (I wrote a post about its concept, which you can find here.) My only reason for sounding so bummed about querying with Way Down Low is that We Are Eternal is 100% ready to go, and I didn't want to wait any longer. When I want something, I want it now.
*(God, I love you, Freddie)*
I told myself it would all be okay, and it will. We Are Eternal will technically be represented if I can get an agent -- after all, an agent represents you, and that includes your body of work. It's just that I still have such a vision for We Are Eternal, one that will have to wait a little longer. Waiting is not so bad, but this revelation threw me off my game.
So, I'm writing this off-the-cuff post as a way to let out my feelings, iron out my game plan, and actually get something written. Another tip I wrote in my Writing Tips post was to not beat yourself up for whatever you've managed -- or not managed -- to write. Because the point is to write. This post isn't edited, isn't polished, and isn't organized, but I'm writing. This document's word counter to my right tells me I've written over 900 words. That's not only more than I've written in days, but it's more than I expected to churn out when I sat down and started typing 30 minutes ago.
That's the point. That's progress. With all the letdowns and setbacks I've felt over the past week, I still have a twinkle of motivation. I still have options. I still have hope.
I'll get back on the horse. One word at a time.