We’ve all heard, and likely experienced, that getting started is the hard part. It’s certainly true for me. But now I find that ending is also hard. Last Saturday I hit “send” on a new story for a new (to me) market. But I couldn’t let it go. Of course, there were the usual pangs of regret. As soon as we hit send, we immediately think of or remember details we meant to include but left out or other improvements now too late to make. But it goes deeper than that. When I’ve accomplished my goal for the day, I can’t simply switch off my writer’s mind. I jump right into trying to come up with another story for the same or a different market. I’m eager to tackle peripheral writing chores, like research or reading posts on my several writing forums. I’m on a roll and I don’t want to stop it. My regular, non-writing life might not even exist and certainly has no place in my brain. I resent being hungry for lunch. When I take a shower, I forget which part I’ve washed and which part I haven’t. When my boyfriend proposes marriage, I mentally edit his phrasing for better effect. I look at every object, from a paper clip to a pair of sandals, wondering how they could be used in a story, especially in a mystery story, which is what I often write. Mostly, I don’t want to leave this realm. I want to stay in writer mode a while longer. Once started, I don’t want to stop. No real harm is done, I guess. And of course, it doesn’t last, if only because I rather like the other parts of my life as well, the friends, family, books, meals, music, my cat and all the rest. Yet, I know, once I’m back to being a person, rather than a writer, I’ll face the same writer mind problem next time–getting started. Starting. Ending. Both are part of what writers, and perhaps other artists learn to handle. Both in their own ways painful, yet satisfying. Which, come to think of it, applies to so much of the writer’s life. Or maybe not. In the end, I can only speak for myself.
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Sisters in Crime
Ah, “life balance.” So hard to achieve. I have such a perfect routine mapped out, balancing family, writing, health (eating, excising, sleeping), reading/relaxing. Then I have an unexpected event, such as a doctor appointment, and somehow my whole day seems ruined. I’m now playing catch-up from such a day, just trying to get some email tended to and a bit of writerly marketing done, but no time for actual writing or editing. One day at a time, always trying, and sometimes even succeeding. Carry on!
Jan, you’re still way ahead of me in the challenge to create a “perfect routine.” I’m better, but still don’t have built in time slots for things I should be doing daily. My goal now is to not worry about all the other stuff, but to solidify a slot just for writing. If I can do that, I’ll work on the other things next. As always, thanks for reading and commenting. Lida