My inner critic has been pretty full on with the harassment recently. It’s been telling me I don’t write enough, but I’ve actually increased the amount of time I spend on my work. So what’s happening?
The last few months I’ve been working on consolidating my body of work. I’ve got a whole wodge of stories that need attention. Like I said in my last post, at the time I drafted them I didn’t have the technical skills to finish them, but now I do. I also have great people around me who give great feedback. That helps heaps. So in reality I’ve been working on more stories and spending more time on them than before, it’s just creating new stuff has not been my focus recently. That said I’m also writing new stuff too, so again, I’ll go back to ‘my inner critic is being harsh at the moment.’
Of course there’s been other issues going on here. We had the hideous shooting in Christchurch. That threw me and everyone at work, staff and students, friends, everyone, completely. It was an unbelievable act and monumentally sad. I also found out some other really sad or worrying things that week, and I just couldn’t write. I could barely process what happened. On top of this I had things booked in nearly every inch of my spare time, and then I got ill too, just a bug, but I couldn’t think.
But this week I also remembered that sometimes when your brain is fried you can do just 15 minutes of writing work a day and that is enough to get you motivated and past the blocks that life throws your way. And it’s true, despite all the stuff that has been going on I’m actively editing and reworking four stories- two oldies, one middling and one new. I caught up with the most distant member of my writing group. She lives in Cairns, Australia and is in Aotearoa on holiday. That was a beautiful afternoon of words, synopsis planning and writing talk. I got some great feedback from a great reader friend of mine, which was funny because she suggested I add some of the things I’d just cut out of one of my stories! And of course I’ve been writing in my journal. So really I think what has happened is my baseline has changed. The time I spend working on my stories has increased and I’ve set myself a new standard, so I will ignore my inner critic and get on with finishing off those stories and finding homes for them.
So be gentle on yourself, keep chipping away and keep playing with words. Putting the time in does become easier and it does become a great habit.