I’ve been fairly honest about my deplorable writing habits, the fact that my attention span is smaller than a gnat’s, and that I’m a world class procrastinator. The point is not to try and…what’s the word I’m looking for here? I guess for some people, writing is an affectation. People make excuses like, “I haven’t gotten anything done lately, I’m such a procrastinator.” I think you know the general type of people I’m talking about. For me, being open about my shortcomings is a way to self-evaluate. If I was giving writing advice to anyone, the very first thing I would tell them is “Don’t be like me!”
In the interest of cutting myself some slack, and also of full disclosure, it isn’t completely my fault. One of the biggest challenges to life in general, for me, is simply making it out of bed. For many years now, I’ve dealt with some pretty serious fatigue issues. I’m sure that there is some underlying medical issue for this, or more likely a combination of medical issues, but whatever the reason(s) for it, it makes functioning in my daily life incredibly difficult. Add in the things that are my fault, and it’s pretty amazing to see what I’ve managed to accomplish. It’s not nearly what I could have done, or what I feel like I should have done, but even with all my personal challenges, it’s still a lot more than some people have ever done. I’m actually a little bit proud of myself. Just a little.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about writing. The act of it, the process, the ritual, as it were. I’ve also been doing some evaluating to see what I can change to make myself a more productive writer. It was during this self-reflection that I had an epiphany. It should not have been as great a shock to realize as it was. It was one of those realizations that you never really think about until you do, and then of course that’s the way of it. My epiphany was this:
My life is full of Dementors.
To be fair, not everyone in my life is trying to suck the creativity out of me through a bendy straw. I have some amazing, creative, funny, intelligent, kick ass people in my world and I credit their friendship and support for getting me where I am, which isn’t really all that far, but that’s not what’s important right now. The problem with a dementor (sorry, J. K. Rowling, but this is the perfect description for these people and you’re brilliant for coming up with it) is that it only takes one. I actually have a couple, so there’s that. These are people who don’t value my craft, the works I’ve produced, and who refuse to see the value of the time I’ve spent making art. These are people who actively withhold their support and who put their own trivial interests ahead of my well-being as an artist, or worse: they don’t value my existence as a human being. Because of the positions they hold in my life, simply eliminating them becomes problematic and easier said than done. At the very least, extricating myself from their influence will be a time consuming process.
It’s hard for me to become motivated, but it’s nearly impossible for me to have the will to write when I’m not being supported. To that end, I’ll be reading from my thesis project this evening as part of a showcase and I’ll be attending that alone because other things are more important to other people. (My kids are willing to go even though they’re going to hate it. I love my kids enough to let them stay home.)
I guess all of this is a long way of saying evaluate the people in your life. Are they feeding you or sucking you dry? Make your changes accordingly.