I love language. I love getting fired up and making words on shiny screen. But I have a pattern where I build my productivity up to thermonuclear levels and then find myself in bed for and entire week.
An editor gave me some feedback recently. She told me I have a knack for seeing past the obvious. To me -as welcomed as it was- it made no sense. The only angle I ever take is the one that jumps up at me. If I am stressed about weather or not I should follow my gut I usually end up struggling over the piece for days, or just plain old procrastinating until an hour before the deadline. At which point I’m forced to throw caution to the wind and get it done.
Again and again I’m reminded that excellent writing has an emotional truth. Even if that means that the physical text is absolute bullshit.
So recently, after building my work rate up to unprecedented levels., I found myself with such a severe case of what I’ll call “head-in-jar syndrome” that I crashed and burned, spending the bulk of the next week in bed.
A friend of mine who is a psychologist tells me this is called hyper-focus. He was kind enough to wait till prompted before he offered me some strategies to deal with it. I was suffering enough to be interested enough to ask.
One of the things he suggested was to approach writing as a mental exercise rather than an emotional one. He said that if I could do that and break my work into fifty minute blocks, with a few deep breaths in between, I could continue working at a sustainable level no matter what kind of turmoil was going on around me.
All of this reason and logic is way too practical for me. Usually I begin my writing sessions by meditating on a particular emotion and harnessing it as inspiration.
But what my well meaning friend was saying, is that I should let go of this idea and discipline myself into new methods. He assured me that by developing an intellectual approach to being inspired, I would set myself up to be less stressed in the future. He then fell into a geriatric rant about some sort of mythical time when I would have a wife and family, a mortgage, a car, an office job, a wide screen TV and a pet dog that understands me in a way that no other human-being can.
I certainly don’t dispute his point. I’m sure that it is advice I should be taking. The problem is that every time I’ve tried it I get distracted by the world of repressed emotions that I spent my twenties trying to ignore.
I managed to avoid these feelings in the past by numbing them with alcohol. This didn’t end well. It finished with me reaching a thermonuclear state of hyper-focus, followed swiftly by a crash that laid me out in bed for a long time. I seem to also remember this as a unique time of my life when I began to accept people’s advice on how to live my life.
But here I go, ranting away and I’ve forgotten my point.
That’s it! I’m angry and I’m writing about it.