For anyone who is serious about writing and has done some light research, they will have come across the same, similar phrases;
* Just write
* Treat writing like your day job
Up until recently I thought I understood what that meant; manage your writing as you would do anything else in life that you want taken seriously. It’s a mantra that I’ve adopted elsewhere in my life (work, education etc.) that I didn’t really think it warranted a mention. Of course, I’d treat writing seriously, when would there ever be a time when I wouldn’t?
The reason I mentioned recently is that I’m just on the recovering side of a major migraine; flashing lights before my eyes, feeling faint, dizziness and nausea. To top off all of that, I had a fifty-five minute drive back through busy traffic to negotiate before I could reach the only medicine that seems to work; a dark room, quiet, and a comfy bed. Now, three hours later, I still have a head filled with cotton wool, but the dizziness and sickness has gone and the pain is receding.
But, back to this afternoon.
With clammy hands and an experience of heightened awareness that comes with feeling faint, I sat at the umpteenth red light waiting to get home. With the windows up the car was too hot, with them down the wind made me feel worse. To settle my nerves, I fired up one of my podcasts about creative writing.
I had reached halfway through the podcast on the way into work even though I began to feel the slight tendrils of a migraine-in-waiting work their way through my head. I’d picked up some good points and was looking forward to the rest of it like a tired man thinks of his bed at the end of a shift.
But when the voice poured out from the speakers and filled my motorised version of Dante’s Inferno, it was a completely different animal; the words grated inside my head, the jingles sounded out of tune, and the points being made were being shuffled around my brain before I could get a grasp on them. If I was the tired man getting home, then I’d found my bed to be a bed of nails.
I couldn’t bear to listen to it so I turned it off. But, as the echoes of it still rippled in my mind, I found myself beginning to hate it. Not only the podcast, but it widened to writing, being creative. The migraine experience was causing me to deny anything that wasn’t in the here-and-now of pain and nausea. I couldn’t care less about this blog, the first draft of my novel and my website. These were all things that didn’t matter anymore, they were things that were too far off in the distance, too remote for me to deal with.
Looking back now, I realised that during that journey, I hated writing. Had someone offered to publish my book but only after working on it for a few hours more, I’d have said no. If I’d discovered my computer had been stolen along with all my work on it, I wouldn’t have cared. I was that detached from my regular routine.
So, as I sit in my chair recovering with a glass of iced coke, I feel I should pay a bit more respect to the advice that I find.
Of course those small beads of wisdom don’t suggest we should write ALL the time or beyond anything else that we could experience, but it does suggest (at least to me) that there will be times when you simply CANNOT write and, because of that, you should make more of an effort to write when you can.