Tuesday, December 8, 2020

My Writer's Dilemma

 I like to consider myself a rather hardworking person. This being said, there are some things I simply want to be done with, and I may not put in the extra effort to complete them. Does all of the laundry really have to be folded tonight? Or can I just put all of these random pieces into this basket by the bed? Because why would I want to spend two minutes folding them, and putting them neatly in a drawer when I can spend thirty seconds scraping them into a basket and then at least two minutes each day digging in the same basket to find the one article I need?

What is this part of our brain? Seriously, what is its purpose? I really want to picture the application of this attitude in a society of foragers. Is it because if we stockpiled too much food and meat at one time we would get bored the next day and the food would eventually rot? Are we leaving something to occupy our time in case we run out of things to do while trying to stay alive? 

I know some of this is burnout. I read an article a few years ago about my generation having severe burnout to the point they cannot function in everyday tasks like paying bills, housekeeping, and self-care.

Perhaps it is my form of writer's block, and perhaps it is my brain telling me that I am doing too much. It could be a red flag that I need to slow down. It could be a product of my anxiety disorder. Perhaps I have mentioned this on my blog before, but I am mentioning it again because it has stuck with me so vividly. In my first year of teaching, I sat behind a desk piled high with papers to grade, the floor was a complete mess and I knew the janitor would be in any minute to complain about the state of the room. I was staring at the wall across from me when the director of instruction came in and just stared back. I told her I did not know what to do next, I was lost and the piles and messes were growing. Then she perfectly articulated what was going on in my subconscious. She said, "You are so worried you will not be able to do something perfectly, so you are not willing to do anything at all."

This woman knew me. She had seen me in action. She had seen me pour my passion for learning into the classroom for months and knew what I was capable of. She also knew I wanted everything to be perfect. 

So, this is where I am. I have been shown a really methodical way to approach my novel. I have broken down the elements and dug deeper than I ever imagined. I know what I am meant to do, but now I am frozen. 

I have written the beginning chapters over and over. I have four different prologues and just as many sequences. I have a list of exposition, conflicts, moral themes, etc. and all that remains is for me to plug them into a scene sequence. When I do this, the scenes seem to dissolve. Huge chunks of my work seem irrelevant. Now I am creating new scenes to match what is "needed" and I hate it.

I am certain this is all a result of my desire to get everything perfect and my unwillingness to create anything less. Perhaps now I have named my evil and I can face it. But if it cannot be perfect, let it at least not be total trash, which is truly my greatest fear.

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