Transition Girl

Why transition girl?... Best answered by a quote from the Iliad....."The soul was not made to dwell in a thing; and when forced to it, there is no part of that soul but suffers violence."

Saturday, November 30, 2019

procrastination moment number 210

"Block, Block, Block." Sounds like a chicken if you say the words out loud and repeat them. With the year almost over, I feel like it has been a wasted year creatively speaking. My longest stretch of writer's block is now reaching its seventh month. So I am writing my end of year reflection a month earlier than usual in an effort to figure out why and break the blockage. Contemplating what I did differently this year after last year's writing and publishing efforts.

Writing the sequel to the Peithosian Gift, I wrote a solid 42,000 words then stalled somewhere in the middle of the story. The roadmap of what happens in the rest of the story is there, I just don't feel inspired to write it right now. I haven't felt inspired for several months. Wondering if I should just stop for now and start fresh in 2020. My alternate project (the second writing task I set myself each year to manage moments of blockage in the main task) has similarly been affected. It seems I don't feel like working on the stage play either.

Culprit number 1: Exhaustion
I suspect exhaustion may have been one factor driving this outcome. My day job has been busier than usual - since last December - and workload has filled too many of my weekends taking up 'air time' normally reserved for creative writing. I have taken steps to address this issue and will be reverting to part time in the coming year. The mid-week break should squarely recharge my batteries as well as provide some extra time to spark creative idea generation.

Culprit number 2: Stalled in the middle.
I have always had motivational issues in the middle of stories. The beginnings and ends are exciting to commit to the page but the middle feels like filler. Reminds me a little of second child syndrome. I am a middle child and, at times, felt invisible. The middle has to work harder to get attention. My current drafting middle is devoid of any grabbing headlines. The prospect of making it more exciting is putting me off.

Culprit number 3: Lifestyle changes.

I have been working hard at maintaining my health to manage those pesky autoimmune diseases inherited from my parents. Side effects of being on the Wahls Protocol include a dwindling desire to socialise via usual food and beverage gatherings with friends because it drives every waiter crazy hearing a patron explain all the things that they cannot have on the menu. The dietary restrictions have stifled my enthusiasm for the small pleasures of a good meal (and the loss that has come with that is a decline in the exposure to compelling conversations with close friends). I have spent the year in a self-imposed 'bubble', almost hermit like. There have actually been health benefits. First time in over a decade I haven't had a cold and consequent half year cough that was guaranteed to follow. I made it to November before any hospital stay - inflammation that got out of control and my spleen-less body needed reinforcements (IV super antibiotics) to join the fight. It was optimistic of me to think I could have a year without some health scare but it was much better than my norm. Still, I don't think the benefit was worth the cost. Never underestimate the joy of human interaction - socialising and talking about all manner of topics from philosophy to psychology with friends - to inspire. I will be venturing out more in 2020 even if it comes at the price of my health.

Culprit number 4: A silent dreamscape.

This one seems to me to be the biggest contributor to my stalling. My sleeping quality has plummeted to new lows. For a chunk of the year, my oldest cat Khoshka, in her (phenomenally impressive) 21st year of life was going through the throws of age related deafness and dementia, meowing loudly at all hours of the night disoriented. Being woken up several times each and every night was a challenge at best and distressing at worst because there was little I could do to help her. The old girl passed away in the middle of the year. The silence in the house translated into silence in my dreamscape. When I finally found my sleeping rhythm again, the dreams did not return readily. My vivid dreamscape has always been a critical source of creative ideas for me. I go to bed thinking about where I might take a story. Overnight, my unconscious mind processes without the anchor of day reality and spits out answers. This year the dreaming has been sparse. Little fuel from the day going in and an empty tank coming out. It seems sleepwalking through my days is lifelessness epitomized. Recipe for improvement? Add some adventure? Something needs to change.

So, where does this leave me for my goals for 2020? Re-activating my mind and body will be critical to where I chose to focus my writing efforts. It's time to wake up.


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