So much easier said than done. Probably especially easier for those new to the craft. Those of us who have been at a while (and those of us who’ve also served as editors and dedicated work-shoppers) tend to have a more . . . I’ll just speak for myself as I have a more neurotic/OCD approach to writing fiction (nonfiction is not so bad). But I’m trying to curb that and I have at least taken the mental steps to writing free and clear of my usual obsessive-compulsive method of scrutinizing every word, comma and sentence as I write. I just have to put it in practice more. Not that I know first hand but I imagine it’s not much unlike a 12-step program. Heh.
There is perhaps no truer mark of the insanity of writers than the fact that we are inherently and embarrassingly compelled to express ourselves or display our creativity in writing even when there is no one around to read our carefully chosen, optimistically published words. It’s akin to some poor inebriated sap muttering to himself in a dark and lonesome alley somewhere. Or is that just me?
If I’m writing then it means I am most certainly fighting. Fighting what or whom? Many opponents, to be sure. Mainly myself and the four dees.
First, there’s any manner of distractions — time spent with family, time spent on consuming various media (news, music, books, TV shows, movies, comics, etc.), time spent on essentially living a normal life as a social creature (as oppose to the life of a hermit).
Then there are the inevitable, practically omnipotent voices of self-doubt and uncertainty. The doubt that I’m the writer I believe I am and the uncertainty that I can pull off whatever grand vision I’m attempting on a given day. This is only with regards to writing fiction, of course.
But let’s say I somehow conquer and vanquish the above — well, then there’s the fight to achieve and maintain discipline and attention to the writing task at hand. That means avoiding new ideas that inevitably spawn while working on a current idea. And somehow avoid going down the rabbit hole when using the Internet to research this or that subject.
Yet all the above aside, it ultimately comes down to the one thing I can’t (or shouldn’t) fight which is my devotion to my family. Our family is still virtually young and there’s simply no way I can completely forsake them for a hermitic, reclusive and selfish activity such as writing, especially long form fiction, which is why I semi-joke that I’ll be at least 50 years old before I actually finish writing a novel (yeah, yeah, I can hear professional writers now saying “Well it looks like you’re in the wrong business if you can’t make that selfish sacrifice” — maybe they’d be right, at least for now).