So...is it okay to admit I’m taking a break on here? I don’t mean a Kit Kat munch or the Magazine bearing the name, I mean a break from writing. Just a small one, tiny really, just long enough to fill my lungs with some inspiring breath and my brain with some emotional stamina.
There, I’ve said it on Strictly Writing. That’s the equivalent of standing up in an AA meeting room, and announcing yourself as a fellow drinker. There’s no going back once something has been admitted out loud for fellow peers to hear. For I am a ‘write-aholic’ and sometimes, even I have to admit that it doesn’t always make me feel good...In fact, sometimes it’s responsible for me feeling bloody awful. Sometimes, like an hour ago as I debated hurling my manuscript out the window, it even makes me look like Mr Bean. And gurning doesn't suit me.
I didn’t plan on outing this particular feeling today but as I typed, these words appeared before me of their own accord. I was wary of them seeming negative but as I thought about it, I know most of you go through similar temporary gloom and felt you wouldn’t mind my honesty. My pared back frankness can now reveal:
I’m tired. Much as I love the craft and feel privileged to be able to write when I want, I’m finding the constant rejection and therefore constant reinvention of my work exhausting. I’m feeling frustrated at my failure to produce something commercial. I realise that I’ve become so hung up on trying to figure out what other people want from me, that I can’t even remember what it is I want myself. And I need to re-claim that.
During this writing process, I've learned many skills but the ability to know when to step back is vital. Knowing when to leave the words alone is ironically one of the most important things to me. Strangely, it enables me to carry on.
So, although today, devoid of any inspiration, I’m admitting defeat - as Arnie says - I’ll be back. A few days off, thinking time, is what my brain needs. I've decided between now and next Monday, I’m not going to write a word. I’m going to watch crappy television and read some of the books on my ‘To Read’ pile. I’m going to try meditation, or my version of it, that involves closing my eyes, forming my thumbs and forefingers into a circle reciting ‘Om, Om’ whilst eating chocolate. When my eyes are closed, I’ll imagine somewhere exotic and restful and fill myself with new and shiny thoughts. And in amongst them will lie a gem of an idea, which will excite me and make me want to write again. Time to stop wallowing in last manuscript gore and move on.
So I'm stepping away from words, just until Monday. On Monday, I will get over myself, embrace the craft I adore once more and move on.