Losing My Passion for Writing…and Trying to Rediscover It

Not proud to say this: a few weeks ago, I told a friend of mine that writing isn’t exciting me lately.  I know I’m not supposed to say that.  I’m supposed to do what everyone online does and say that writing is beautiful and magical and that it makes me feel inspired and quirky and special.  And while I’m at it, I should probably throw in a “namaste” because…oh, who am I kidding?  Do I really look like a guy who does yoga?

But the fact is I’ve looked at blank pages for a while with contempt.  I’ve looked at detailed outlines hundreds of pages long with contempt.  I can get through all the research and prep work for a story, but then I get brain freeze when it comes time to actually write the first draft.  So for the next month or two, here are some things I’m going to try in order to get my groove back.

Find a Writing-Only Time

This is a time to do nothing but writing, and I’ve already mentioned that I do this at the office before work.  Out of paranoia for the LA’s charming traffic jams, I get to the office a solid hour before I need to.  Cut off from a world full of distractions, I’ve got nothing to do but write.  I seem to have forgotten that somewhere along the way.

Limit Social Media

The president might not be able to do this, but I’m not the president, am I?  Limiting my time on social media has become increasingly important as many people are turning the internet into history’s biggest megaphone.  Every day, that noise ranges from light venting to rabid bloodlust from both the left and the right, and I’ve reached my breaking point with it.  I simply can’t handle any more.  In fact, I’ve deleted Twitter and Facebook from my phone, and I already feel happier for it.

I Need a Hobby

Uhhhh…so I need to focus on writing by not writing?  Yes, actually.  I like sunshine, but if I stare at the sun, my eyes will burn out.  Same principle.  Lately, my days have been little more than going to work, coming home, and falling asleep only to repeat the cycle the next day.  I think this might be the main reason why I’ve hit such a roadblock.  I’m not really recharging mentally.  I dare say I need to revert to an earlier way of thinking with my writing when it was a hobby in my youth back before I was worried about doing it professionally.  That’s not to say I need to get lazy about it, but the rent will still get paid even if a story isn’t finished.

Of course, this call to relaxation is also coming from a guy who hasn’t taken a vacation in years…

2 thoughts on “Losing My Passion for Writing…and Trying to Rediscover It

  1. Mario,

    The answer to your writing dilemma is in the tortured words of your post. First thing is you need a life. Why have you have not taken a vacation in years?
    I sympathise about you living in/working in LA. I live in the UK but have driven extensively in California. If I was driving on the 405 twice a day five days a week I would be on Crack Cocaine.

    Get back the enthusiasm for writing by allotting time in the evenings or weekends not only at work. Make your home environment conducive to creativity. I have a small study, and made it very comfortable. There’s a desk, a laptop and a guitar and hifi when I need a break.

    If I had ‘detailed outlines hundreds of pages long’ I would be hitting the Crack Cocaine again. Would it be possible to get the outline down to 80 pages or even less, far less intimidating and much more managable. Is the one sentence premise nailed down as good as you can get it? Have you written a short synopsis? Look to those first then your outline.

    You are allowed to write crap, just get that first line down, then paragraph and page. No one else will read it just you. Then grab a cold beer and and savor the moment, you have started to write your novel.

    When I stopped writing just for the money in mind and did it for fun, that was a game changing moment. The fear evaporated.

    Oh, and who the heck said writing is magical? it’s all blood,sweat, and tears peppered with thrilling highs (and I’m back to my drugs analogy).

    Put that beer in the fridge for when you are ready!

    Like

    1. Hi, Ray.

      Thank you very much for your comment.

      You’re right. I definitely need a little R&R every now and then. The lack of a vacation has really just been me focusing on work. I’ve been busier in the last four months than I have in the last four years, although I can’t say I hate it entirely. I like working and having a day job, and a lot of writers would agree: Anthony Trollope, TS Eliot, Wallace Stevens. Granted, they’re all dead, but I don’t think it was the work that killed them. Wallace Stevens once said a day job “introduces discipline and regularity into one’s life…and of course I have nothing to worry about about money.”

      I agree that the outline is unusually long, but the project is unusually complex. The best way I can describe it is the feeling of putting together a jigsaw puzzle, but you have to make each piece while you’re at it and need to make sure they all fit with each other.

      As for who said writing is magical, well, spend a semester at an LA-based MFA program and you’ll find a lot of people can’t shut up about the muse.

      By the way, the study you describe sounds wonderful. Mine is similar but without the guitar.

      Like

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