Paralysis Part II: Patience

Maybe I should title this part of the series “impatience.”  You see, I have this burning desire to make everything happen all at once and when I can’t, I’m quickly consumed by the frustration at not being able to achieve the impossible. It might shock you to learn that I can’t snap my fingers and have a story idea leap onto the page as a finished work.  I can’t point at a manuscript and command it to be final.  I might have the hair of an Olyimpian, but last I checked, I can’t fling lightning bolts from my arse or vaporize a Titan (I don’t think). What if I had that kind of mojo? I’m sure it would lead to a whole new world of frustration, so I’m not going to speculate further.

I am a fan of instant gratification–how could any one not be?  That’s why I love making music–I get a flash of inspiration and ten minutes later, I have a completed song.  Prose not only takes discipline (something I’ll get to in a future post) but patience.  There’s something to be said for that journey–a lot is gained on the path to creating a finished story or book. That is all very sweet and it makes me want to hug my neighbor.  I’ll tell you this. The  journey easily becomes a desolate stretch of road, the destination coming no closer,  when faced with daily emails wondering about when the next piece of fiction will drop and having no good answer or while watching idly as peers put out new material every other day (or so some day it seems).

When did any of that start to matter? At some point, it didn’t even exist.

The privilege to be able to take my time, to use these moments to get something right, should not be undervalued. Writing didn’t feel like work when I wrote, edited, and rewrote Crescent.   My only expectation was to tell the story I wanted to tell the way I wanted to tell it.  If I can get back to that pure place, I just might get back on track.  I need to set some reasonable goals and then get down to the business of enjoying myself.

(Photo by Offbeat Photography)

4 Responses to “Paralysis Part II: Patience”

  1. Tee Morris Says:

    We all have the moments where we appear to have lost the groove. Funny thing when you said this just now…

    “The journey easily becomes a desolate stretch of road, the destination coming no closer, when faced with daily emails wondering about when the next piece of fiction will drop and having no good answer or while watching idly as peers put out new material every other day (or so some day it seems).”

    That was me while you were ushering in your latest child into the world, podcasting your ass off with Stories from the Vault, and launching Harvey. I asked myself “What have I done lately?”

    Perhaps instead of “Patience” you could have called this “Perspective.”

    It’s natural for us creative types to believe we are superhuman. After all, we assume the role of gods anyway. We create worlds, breathe life into the characters within, and smite them down on a whim. (And when it’s you, your smiting is either through the cold vacuum of space or tree bark in unpleasant places.) So yes, we believe we are beyond the frailties of mere mortals.

    But I argue is it our frailty that brings forth the Muse and value to what we write.

    Don’t sweat this, bro. Watch a movie. Take a breather. When you come back to the keyboard, the Muse will be there, a beer in one hand, a stogie at the ready. She will kiss you softly on the lips and whisper, “Your hair looks fabulous. Now, start writing.”

    Trust me. I’ve been there. You’ll get through it. Kia Kaha.

  2. Viv Says:

    I would say that you’ve been writing a blue streak lately, Phil. It just happens to be music instead of fiction. And sultry, soulful music, at that. Please don’t diminish the importance. You have been creating, just in a different way than your fans are used to. Heed this warning: when they hear the music, they’ll be clamoring for more of that as well.

    It’s the curse of the gifted. People want more. Ignore the demand and focus on the blessing of being able to create such amazing works, musical and literary.

  3. chooch Says:

    My comment is also on the music aspect (go figure) – writing a song might come easier at the f irst draft stage, but don’t short change the work of editing, expanding, refining, and performing. A song isn’t really done until the audience is swaying.

    I’ve started reading blog post of my own that is very close to this series and these sentiments. Also similar to Mur’s missive just posted today. I have been spinning my wheels, mired in the muck of wanting to complete 10 projects and procrastinating myself away from them all. I’ve decided that I need to pick one discipline and stick with it for awhile. And since music comes easier;it is lucky contestant #1.

    The road may look desolate, but remember that you’re not on it alone. Keep an eye on shuffling your feet forward and forget about the destination. You’ll look up soon enough and find you’re already there.

  4. chooch Says:

    My phone murdered that comment!! second paragraph should have begun “I’ve started WRITING a blog post”, not “reading” :)

    Much love, brother. Keep fighting the good fight.

    {c}

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