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Saturday, December 15, 2007

The slump

Life happens. And in the hustle and bustle of life, and I'm not even talking about the holidays, things become pushed aside. Not only that, but the temperament changes. The general malaise that is associated with doing certain things be it going to work, watching television, preparing a meal. Mind and body both just sort of shrug and try to find something else to do as the other activities have no appeal whatsoever.

I am in such a malaise.

Even reading has become onerous to me for some reason. Writing has almost completely gone out the window because my mind can't seem to focus on the task. For other activities, stopgaps and alternative measures present themselves. A lot of work can be done on "automatic pilot" just to get you through the day. Don't feel like cooking? go to a restaurant or grab burgers on the way home. For the TV, change the channel; put in a dvd; go to a movie, play, or concert; or even hang out with friends. Writing, though does not have any alternative options. To write or not to write, that is the question. Forced writing can turn out very poorly as well. Rambling off things can sometimes work, and sometimes not. I've had days where I pushed myself and once through the initial inertia, the writing not only goes smoothly, but amazingly. Only sometimes, though. The other times I end up writing and then looking back at the pages of gibberish to scrap them. Still more often my brain just gets sidetracked so I can't get the writing done. I'm aware of many tricks to get rid of writer's block, slumps, what-have-you, but I'm always eager to hear more because I find that I need an ever-changing repertoire of techniques to shake away the malaise. I know at other times I just need to let my brain wrestle around with things in the back of my mind to percolate into the perfect brew---root beer, of course. I strongly believe that writing, like baking, cannot be rushed. to try and rush the act causes disaster. Yet, the reverse is also true. Wait too long, and things turn out the same. I think I need to work on find out that perfect blend for me. How long do I let the dough rise? How long in the oven? Too little or too much time yields a distasteful result. I think many bakers develop a feel for their craft, and I think I'm getting closer to that with writing.

I need to work on further developing that.
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