Stop Writing What?

DP and I both come from Germanic backgrounds. He is part Pennsylvania Dutch, part German Catholic. My grandmother’s maiden name is a city in Germany; this is how German my mother’s family was. (They were Jewish, of course, and so DP and I are “CaJews” or cashews.)

You don’t care, I know; but when I say that I can have a bit of a German work ethic, you will understand where I come from. I feel as if I should be writing all of the time. If writing is difficult, then it is because I am not working hard enough. If I don’t write today, I will never finish the fucker. If I don’t finish the fucker, I will be a worthless copyeditor for the rest of my life. Am I lonely because I never see my friends because I write or recover from writing instead? The answer to that is to write more! Work harder. Then you won’t be lonely.

I exaggerate slightly.

But I’ve sent my manuscript to a reader. There is nothing more to write for now. Anyway, I’m tired, ready to see my friends again. I’m tired of being intense about writing. So last weekend I did very little but some dishes, some yardwork, some napping, and a ton of reading. I feel better now.

But…all this time. I was writing more than I thought (because of course I thought I was a huge slacker and not getting any writing done). What do I do with that time? Yesterday I submitted essays to seven journals. On Saturday I wrote a poem. Sunday I took a nap and showed DP the poem I wrote on Saturday to make sure I wouldn’t embarrass myself in front of the writing group. (DP won’t read my nonfiction, but he is a first-rate reader of my poems.)

I still want to write, I just don’t want to write something personally difficult. If I were a fiction writer, I’d write a bit of a rom com, or maybe a young adult novel for a change of pace. I do have a bit of an urban fantasy novel that I wrote one winter to save me from being depressed, but it’s far enough along that if I wanted to work on it, it would be work. And I don’t have two ideas for a novel. Nope, that wouldn’t be me.

What do you write when you’re not working on your main project?


13 responses to “Stop Writing What?

  1. I’m German through and through, but I think what your describing is OCD? 😉

    Ironically, I’ve just written a post that I’ve yet to publish about NOT feeling compelled to write. I read a quote the other day about a writer who writes because He Can’t Not Write. I wish I felt that way, but no. I don’t feel the least bit compelled. But, that said, my mind works in storyteller mode … so there’s that. Hmmmm.

    • They do say that OCD often occurs with ADD, but I know it isn’t OCD.

      I don’t think I’m always like this, it’s just that the past few months I’ve been writing, writing, writing, and suddenly I don’t have to, and it feels weird.

      And, storyteller mode, yes. You can’t escape how you view the world. I have poet brain whether or not I’m writing poems.

      • I was joking, of course. Isn’t it always so strange when you’re working on something (working working working!) and then suddenly it’s, “hey, find something else to do.” I wrote the zero draft of The Fucker over a 3 month period (July – September) and I remember suddenly looking up and thinking, “I don’t have to escape to the library today in my sweat-shorts and slippers? And hey, where in the hell did Summer go?”

  2. I sent in two columns this weekend, so the pressure is off. So, I just spent the last hour ranting for 650 words on the helplessness I feel as a citizen with no power. They used to say our votes were our power but nowadays that’s bullshit. Anyway, now I’m so pissed I could eat a whole chocolate cream pie or at least mash it in a politician’s face. What a waste of a good pie that would be.
    I think I’ll hit the couch instead. Work beckons later.

    I’ve got German in me too. If I’m not doing something I’m a failure,
    Oh mein lieber Gott im Himmel, I need a nap and it’s not even 10am.

  3. I usually do research for the mystery I’d like to write–it’s set in present day Darbyshire, England, which is much tougher to write about than, say, 1500s pain, because there are far more living experts available waiting to tell you that you have it all wrong.

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