Friday, October 28, 2016

Are You Fueled by Positivity or Pushed by Negativity?

A rolling stone gathers no manuscript pages. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a few. By the time of this posting, I’ll have moved over 2,000 miles, and missed several days of writing due to fatigue that can only come from sitting on your ass for eight hours.

I’m not happy about it.

But it was as I traveled, slowly growing less enamored with the scenery and ready to be ‘home’ that I realized my true problem; I haven’t had an actual home since I graduated from high school in 2008.

Everything was always temporary. Sure, my apartment in Los Angeles was with me for three years, but it was a dark and lonely place where meth addicts kicked in your door. When I got my cat, things became better, but by that point I knew I would be leaving soon and still didn’t form any attachments to the walls' embrace.

When I lived with my parents during the lovely recession, I kept thinking I would move “in three months” until two years had passed. It wasn’t until I left with my then-boyfriend to Australia and we set up a house together, got a dog, and starting planning for a future that I realized what I had been missing at that time.

I think a great deal of my remorse at that break-up had to do with just that sense of having a real home. I was finally starting a family, having my space which I could do what I wanted with, and then bam, just like that, it was all gone.

Starting over, in some ways, had its appeal. In Australia, I lamented never moving to New York City like I had always planned, and being with my ex would mean giving up a lot of what I needed in a partner. It was freeing, in a way. And, after having a well-paying job for the course of the summer, I was left with a much more flush bank account than the one I had drained getting to Australia, so on the surface, things were looking good.

As I write this, I am sitting in Chicago, two days from my destination. I have little pricks of fear here and there, truly having no idea what I will be doing outside of temporary plans, no idea what my life will be like, or how I will take advantage of the opportunities I’m seeking from New York, but overall, I feel a great deal better than I have in years. My concentration is better, and my ability to enjoy the little things—or anything—has improved.

And with that, so does my writing.

I’ve found that while my humor is often cynical and rantish in nature, my best posts being negative venting, I’m far more funny when I have high energy. The words come far more natural to me. It’s also a thousand times easier to write when I’m happy, feeling good, and not worrying about this or that.

I know authors who are the opposite. One story in particular sticks in my mind about a romance writer who, an older married gal in a deadbedroom, wrote fantastically while frustrated and pent up, but couldn’t muster it when her husband regained his interest in her. Many authors write their best while drunk, while in pain, while suicidal. Heartbreak is the great optimizer of passion.

Others write best while in love, their muses a beautiful woman. They write best in tandem with a cheerful cowriter building them up. They have a happy home and family. They tell stories to their kids. Their careers have taken off and just get better and better. They’re happy drunks.

But the better I feel, the easier the words come. I've been able to focus these last few days when I do get up and write in the morning, and the writer's block I had prior to fleeing the recesses of Wyoming seems uncharacteristically absent. Things are going easier, flowing more; the better I feel, the better I do.

If you’re dealing with writer’s block, it may be that your inspiration is fueled by something lacking in your life. Sometimes, sure, you have to push through the exhaustion or stress and get something done, but in other cases, you might sit back and figure out if you can’t add something to your life; it might greatly make things easier.

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