Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Emily's Guest Post Series #2

What are your 5 biggest distractions while you're writing?

Writing is a very solitary discipline and friends, at no fault of their own, are often the best distractions. It's hard not to take what I just said the wrong way but I only mean this in the sense that being with friends is fun in a way that being alone with your computer and a writer's block may not. But you have to be at that desk at a good designated time to ever sing away a story and a hit-maker with a keyboard tango. The restaurant invites and travel tantalizers are the most successful banes for why an aspiring writer like me does not yet have a novel published, no less written. 

The tricky thing about loving a profession that does not pay is that I need to get one that does. The truth about money in a writer's life is a complicated and perplexed one. There is the idea of value of work for a chance at money and the value of work despite of it. It would be punishment to compute the testimony of your voice to your bank account but it would make sense too for someone to award you for your talents and hard work. At the end of the day, a lot of my time is spent trying to fund having a life outside of writing (exams, jobs, car payments) that somehow I never seem to have the time to write. 

This could be any hobby or person - as long as you love it/them/her/him, you whisked away from the peace and the silence you need to communicate with your work. There is an element of time involved in this frustration - granted, it's not nice to ask your sister or your significant other to hold their breathes for seventeen days as you try to untangle a devastating plot point of an imaginary character - but most of the problem is one of energy. You don't have the desire to break his/her heart, but you certainly (and I certainly) don't have the will to break your own. Alas, a writer's life is a tug-of-war of defeats in both reality and imagination. People walk but your craft always stays. 

Procrastination is the spawn of this deep insecurity. I am always fearful that my stories are never enough - enough thrill, enough soul, enough sense. To be a writer is to believe that your voice, among all the noise and chatter that happens around you, deserves just a bit more to be heard than the next person in line. You would be a fool to believe that writing as a profession is not competition; it's one of the most damning pecking orders still viable and allowed in this world. Writing as an art, however, is something you can actively participate at your own leisure but to claim the title your pieces as "art" to others is frightening because no one can be sure if it's true. The fear of failure, as well as the rising tide of hate that fuels a certain fear of success, sometimes accumulates in self-sabotage. 

Before anyone tells me it's presumptuous to assume fame as a distraction when no one knows about me, please note that I don't tally fame here as a folly because it's happened to me but because of what it does when I believe that it will. Suddenly, the truth of the stories I tell seems to matter a lot less than all the opinions around me. Will the story sell? Can the story become a movie? Do I even have the right name? What about pen name? Autograph? The story of gold you are to learn here is that nothing good can come from believing in leprechauns. All these pesky thoughts only serve to waste my time and strength that I have in the faith and hope I place in my stories. The truth about writing is that you can do it to entertain but more importantly you do it to educate. My experience has always kept me on the side of authorship that understand more of eulogies than wedding marches - both are epic but one is proven while the other still has years to break its vows.




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