Friday, November 14, 2003

The writing machine is on sabbatical

I'm on day 2 of NaNo respite, which means I've probably fallen off page 2, but it's not a competition anyway, and the last two days, I haven't much felt like writing. As much as I still have more to go and know what I'm doing, I needed a break and I'm eager to come back to this tomorrow, or as early as tonight. Depends on how the day goes. The muse must be rested and eager.

I also realize I'm getting much, much more picky about what I write. I used to write anything at a drop of a hat and these days, I seem to think about ideas, toss them around for a while, but then nine times of out ten, don't follow it up. I'm wondering if that's a sign of burnout or trying to avoid burnout or simply choosing projects that appeal to my style and ideas?

That's not to say I'm not up to challenges, but I seem to be taking longer, don't feel the rush in anything I'm doing and I'm sure that'll change once January rolls around and I'll be like, "Eek!" Though, to be honest, I thought that 'eek!' would have kicked in by now. That hasn't been the case.

I think it helps to have inspiring work around you. I write best when I'm inspired by others. That's not to say I'm not into writing for myself, and sure, I write things down all the time, ideas here and there. But when it actually comes to focus and quality, that's when I need the high standards set by people around me. I love feedback and yesterday, I got three wonderful pieces of FB for some very old stories, and that was great. But I realize more and more that FB isn't a motivator any more.

What motivates me is the story I tell and how I tell it. It's probably one of the reasons why my circulation/profile in general has dropped so low in the last few months. It's not that I don't want people to read, but it's no longer as important to me as writing a story I want to read. I'm spending the time when I ought to be marketing myself thinking and writing. The decision was made unconciously, and occasionally, I'll see a ML and think, "Hmmm, I should join to get my name out there" but then I look at my crowded inbox, realize I'm not really giving FB to people any more and so why sign up for more of the same?

That's not to say I don't appreciate feedback. I do. I keep pretty much every single email I've ever received since 1999. I reread it. I write back to the sender and tell them that I appreciate their comments. I want them to know that it doesn't matter if it's the first note I've received or the hundredth; it's equally valuable and appreciated to me. So along with my own changing motivations and inclinations, the feedback given when someone else reads a story of mine and likes it is simply the cherry on top.

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