by Ashley Perez
Last night, I finally put together a rough draft I’ve been writing for over four years. I’ve been writing bits and pieces of this essay and felt that the parts were there, but were all over the place. There were so many things stopping me from sitting down and pulling the pieces together.
On my journey as a writer, I come up against the same two problems repeatedly and every time I work on a new piece, they still surprise me when they show up.
Get your ass in the chair:
This one is about feeling awful. I am writing an intensely personal essay that is mining some painful memories. I didn’t want (still don’t) to feel what thinking of those memories brings up. The problem with not writing to avoid this pain is that the thing that makes you need to write this essay is going to sit heavy in your stomach and hurt as much until you sit in the muck and write it anyway.
You should be writing:
This is the conundrum of being a writer with a day job. I am far from the first person with this problem, but it’s there (and worthy of its own post really.) This is something I have been thinking of a lot, and an issue I wish more writers would talk about. How does one balance work and writing life in addition to all of the other hats one wears (like parent, partner, etc.)?
My day job involves sitting in front of a computer for most of the day and it is usually the last thing I want to do when I get home. I hear the rebuttal already, why don’t I write longhand, revise, etc.? Well most of the time, my energy and will are depleted.
Is there a solution?
This is tricky. Sometimes you have to just write anyway and ignore these reasons. It could be similar to how I feel about going to the gym. I go kicking and screaming the whole way, but once I get it done I feel better. If you’re lucky, you’ll have one (or more) person to push you to do it regardless. It won’t feel great during the process, but if you’re like me, you live for the feeling of completion.
On the other hand, you have to respect your limitations and respect what your body and brain are trying to tell you.
I don’t think these issues ever really go away, but we find ways to deal with them. I am always interested in hearing about yours.
Read a recently published story by Ashley at Lost Balloon (March 1, 2017) : The Iridescence of Our Sins
Ashley Perez lives, writes, and causes trouble in Los Angeles. She has a strong affinity for tattoos, otters, cat mystery books, and actual cats, but has mixed feelings about pants. You can find her on Twitter at @ArtsCollide.