When life gets busy, finding time to write is hard. Finding the energy, motivation, or inspiration to write when you do find the time can be even harder.
Trust me. I know.
The longer I sit and try to make things work, the harder it gets. I can't find my way to get back into whatever it was I was writing before life stalled me out. I can't find the voice, momentum, motivation, or character, or purpose.
This weekend I spent some time--a few slivers at best--staring at pages I've written and looking for the door. I remembered writing some of it, and some of it was like reading someone else's work. Some brought back the struggle, and some I remembered writing as my pen skated happily along, full of fun and imagination. I could look in the rear-view mirror and see where I had been, but nothing on that page really told me where I need to go.
The problem isn't plot or outline. I wish it was that simple. I know what needs to happen. My problem is that I can't seem to push myself hard enough to just throw it on the page. I think I've found my problem though: it's that darn rear-view mirror.
Looking backward can tell you a lot of things about where you've been, but it doesn't do anything for you when it comes to looking where you're going. When I think about beginning work on my projects, I knew so much less about what I was doing and where I was going than I do now, and yet the writing came easier. That was probably because I wasn't trying to live up to my own ideas, I was just writing my way through it. There was nothing in the mirror, only the road ahead.
I'm going to write today. I don't know what it will be or how it will turn out. The voice of my characters may not match what I wrote a month ago, but that's okay. In another month, I won't match the person I am today, and when I read back over it, those things will be easy to fix. The important part is to pry my eyes away from what was and focus on what will be.
If you're like me and have a habit of getting caught in quicksand, I encourage to you pick up your pen with me today and start again. Don't look back, don't look too far ahead, just start right where you are. Here's hoping we can meet on the finish line.