Down Days

I’m wallowing. There is just no other word for it. Wallowing in procrastination; thick, suffocating, procrastination.

It’s not writers block, as least I don’t think it is, I just can’t make myself focus. The ideas just aren’t there. Well, they’re there alright, at the very back of a deep dark cupboard. I can see them, but not clearly enough and I can’t reach them, the cupboard is just too deep. So I rattle around. The internet’s insidious lure louder and louder.

Looking into that cupboard is like opening the fridge out of boredom; not quite sure what I want but convinced that if I open the fridge one more time, it’ll be there.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up. I did fear that writing had become yet another of the sides that I’ve tried, succeeded at and moved on. A challenge that once conquered, loses it’s luster. But it hasn’t. All I had to do was read and the joy of a good story, a glorious twist of the word that ignites picture, fills me again. But still I rattle.

I received the edited first 10,000 words of Echoes back. I had prepared myself for the worst. “You’re fragmented”, “You need to re-write the whole thing”, “The characters are weak”, those horrifying phrases every writer fears. But, I received more confirmation. I’m on the right track and I realized that while I may be good with description (or lack thereof) and have a knack for dialogue and strong characters, my structure is my weak spot. I write too fast for my brain, the pictures in my head flash like the windows of a passing train.

I can see the fixes but the volume of it all has me overwhelmed. There is so much story, I fear I’m losing track or forgetting something. Add to that Appetites literally barking at me and the writers almanac of publishing history filled with “Every writer has a book under their bed waiting to be published when the time is right”, “Rejection is a rite of passage”, and my head is spinning.

Thing is, I don’t subscribe to “can’t do”. I’ve always bucked that. Tell me I can’t do something and I’ll find a way to do it. Tell me it’s always been that way or that it can’t be changed and I grit my teeth in frustration.

So I am looking forward to sitting down with my editor, and working through what needs to be done. There’ll be a lot of questions from me about mechanics and such and that’s exciting. The but here, is that my brain thinks ahead. It developes a “Let’s wait and see what comes up before we write anymore”, mentality.

The noise in my head is akin to a dump truck’s worth of metal plates being dumped down a stairwell. Continued work on Appetites… clangclang. Edits on Echoes… crashcrash. New book ideas… clatterclatter. Contests, short stories, writing prompts, critiques, Christmas book (The Last Gift)… bang, clatter, crash.

The fire is there, I just need to focus the flame.

Ahhh, the life of a writer. It almost makes me miss my old job.


About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
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6 Responses to Down Days

  1. Lisa Llamrei says:

    Now that you’ve told me what you need to hear in order to get motivated, here it is: You CAN’T do it. Are you at the keyboard yet? Good. Because the only thing that will truly keep you from succeeding is lack of trying.

  2. Dave Jones says:

    Hmpfff…. Lisa stole my kick ass motivation phrase. Put me down for the second dose.
    Keep on keepin on, man.

  3. Diane Dooley says:

    I love writing. The rush of getting all the words out of my head and onto the screen is invigorating as it is addictive. I hate editing with a passion. It’s all work and no fun. But it HAS to be done. All the talent in the world means nothing if you can’t get yourself to knuckle down and get that manuscript as good as you can possibly get it. I wish there was an easier way. There isn’t. Good luck, Dale!

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