Urrrgh. Bluhh. Ruuuuuh. Benny am tired. Benny am no crap tired, for realsies. Tired like “sleep through final algebra exam” tired. Tired like “accidentally brush teeth with yeast infection cream” tired. (Benny had friend did that once. Screams of Benny’s friend woke neighbourhood. Benny still hear in dreams.)
Dreams. Bluh. Sleeeeeep. Benny need sleeeeeep.
Is all fault of Benny’s day job. Benny go to Sault Ste. Marie, lawyer people in face. Benny go to St. Catharines, lawyer people in face. Benny basically go all over small town Ontario, lawyer people in face. Then Benny stumble home, do more law, eat raw cabbage because urrrrrrgh cooking. Benny’s cat sit in quiet judgment.
Sleep. Benny sleep. Wait. Crap. What is date? Crap. Benny have blog due.
Okay. Okay, fine. Benny write blog. Benny write the crap out of blog. Zombie half-asleep Benny write blog while eat raw cabbage. Plan is perfect. Is no flaw in plan.
Blog about what? Benny check news.
. . .
Crap again. Is no news. For why is no news? November 27 is American turkey day. Americans not have turkey day in October like civilized world. Americans think are special or something. American reporters spend entire day having loving time with family, not make news for Benny snark at. What up with that?
Benny check Canadian news. Read headlines. “How did Welland become a hotbed for sports management talent?” Benny think we all ask selves that question. (Benny make sarcastic funny.)
How long Benny talk like cave man? Benny lose half audience already. Benny stick head in bucket of cold water and burble until brain starts work.
. . .
Okay. Yeah. Writing.
It’s always going to be harder at some times than at others.
Although the hard times aren’t always what you would expect. I don’t know about you, but I find it easiest to work on a book when there is something else that I desperately need to do right away without stalling for one minute. At such times, the rational part of my brain clicks off and my gremlin half takes over, the logic chips in my brain short-circuit, and suddenly I’m thinking, “Yes! Yes, it is vitally important that I do research about toad licking and invent fake titles for futuristic lesbian pornos! This makes much more sense than paying bills or renewing my prescriptions.”
On the other hand, if I have a couple of free hours and a blank screen in front of me, it’s quite likely that my creative instinct will screech “Forget it!” and bounce out of my skull, leaving me to glower at the wall, fantasize about UFO abductions, and translate Madonna lyrics into Latin.
I’m not going to pretend that I have a method for getting around writer’s block, obviously. If I had that, I’d bottle it, sell it, and invest in a spaceship crewed entirely by clones of Zoie Palmer. As it is, I only know the ho-hum truths we all know: that persistence is more important than inspiration, that you’ll never get anything down on paper if you expect perfection on a first draft, and that the thing to strive for is the habit of writing each day, whether you’re happy with the results or not.
All of which is excellent advice, but also about as frustrating as a hermetically sealed tampon. Yes, it’s essential to keep on slogging through the rough patches, but if you’re never satisfied with the results, motivation can wear away fast. Except for the motivation to jump up and down on your manuscript until it turns to confetti and then go and mope with a pint of ice cream.
The trick seems to be to develop discipline in writing without losing the sense of fun and freedom that first drew you into the damn business. To me, that means giving myself permission to get silly.
This is why I have hundreds on hundreds of wax crayons by my desk and whip them out at the least provocation. This is why, when I’m writing character dialogue, I barricade myself in the bathroom and scream and gesticulate at the mirror. This is why, when writing war scenes, I charge around my apartment armed with a broomstick, yowling battle cries.
Because it’s easy to forget sometimes, amid all the effort and discipline, that at the end of the day, we do this because it’s fun. It is, in fact, my favourite thing in the universe. And well worth losing a little sleep over.