Writing about my writing is interfering with my writing. For that matter, I’m using writing to procrastinate from my writing. All this writing is really getting in the way of my writing.
Is this a case of having too many irons in the fire?
Or am I just buzzing loudly to cover up the fact I’m not actually producing anything (honey…yumm)?
I’ve got reasons aplenty to call myself a busy bee lately. In the world of writing, I have two big ongoing projects of my own. I’ve had them for a while… that is, I conceived of them a while ago, and I’ve been using my deadlines like a slide, fun to visit and scoot down every so often. One of them is a fiction project. We’ve had quite the frenemy relationship. It started with love. We hung out together all the time. There was no other story I would rather have gotten to know. We shared secrets, hopes, dreams. Then things changed. The fiction did. Or maybe it was me. We didn’t know if we wanted to hang out together anymore. We didn’t recognize what the other had become. The atmosphere between us was tense, prickly. We didn’t know what to expect from the other. Now we periodically meet for coffee, but I never know in advance if the conversation is going to be civil. It’s hard to say what lies in the future.
The other is a memoir project that may also be a series of personal essays or creative nonfiction (it’s taking notes from the fiction project, which started as a novel idea, was reincarnated in the short story universe, and has been flirting with novella status since). I have great plans for that one. I’ve got the beginnings of some great material — provided (ironically, as we shall see) by my writing practice and some journal entries. Those plans include an outline (this is if it wants to be a memoir). That’s a good, concrete goal for a writer to have. Easy to measure success there. I’m sure I put it on the calendar no later than June.
I don’t have an outline yet.
In addition to the big projects, I’ve been keeping loose and limber by working on my journal and my writing practice. But last week I noticed something funny about those latter two items.
I was doing writing exercises to keep myself from having to buckle down and actually work on project A (the fiction project). This was actually inconvenient because there was a REAL deadline looming for that one: a competition submission deadline that I used as a motivator and benchmark. Apparently, it wasn’t motivating enough. Or, and this is more likely, I permitted myself to fail.
As for project B, the wannabe memoir, I found a new writing book about memoir and creative nonfiction at the bookstore, which I’ve allowed to lead me astray. How convenient that project B is a memoir project, possibly creative nonfiction! And how convenient that I can now read about memoir, rather than actually write one. It’s so informative!
This malarky has been going on for longer than the past week, but I only recently appreciated the humor in the situation.
It’s tantamount to refusing to do my English homework because I’m too busy doing my math homework. Pffft! the fifth-grader in me says. I’m doing homework — you can’t accuse me of procrastinating! I’m getting stuff done over here! I can cross things off my list!
Problem is, it’s not the really important stuff.
I’m not making any honey, and that’s sad. I’m doing a lot of buzzing, and sometimes it’s hard to hear myself think above the drone.
I’ve got to be careful. There’s a difference between buzzing and honey.
Which is all to say, it should be clear by now that I’m using my writing to procrastinate from doing my writing, and the writing is really getting in the way of getting any writing done.