Writer’s block? Not!

Until recently, whenever I wasn’t writing for my blog, it was because of my symptoms. My newest problem is actually the type that writers dream about. Ideas for my book and my blog are coming fast and heavy. I can’t write for my blog until I can capture all my thoughts, and organize them, in some fashion. This is not a bad day, by any stretch of the imagination.

I hope your writing day is as good as mine. I will share my work as soon as I can separate my blogging thoughts, from my book thoughts. I am trying to write for the blog, but too many good paragraphs, that actually belong in my book, are creeping into my next deliberate post.

My writing voice and my blogging voice are the same. But, I want the topics they address to be different. My difficulty is in noticing the book ideas, before they land on the page. I’m trying to write for my blog, but my book keeps taking over my mind. Keeping the two separate is my latest cognitive challenge.

I don’t want readers of my blog to be disappointed that they could have just read my blog, instead of paying money for a book. My intention is that you, my readers, will hopefully be doubly delighted that the blog was free.

I am not there, yet. But, today I am willing to begin speaking to my evolving artistic statement.

What is an evolving artistic statement? I’ll tell you tomorrow, if today’s blog post is still not completed, but my energy is still good. Today, I can afford a quick aside to tell my readers how my day has been. Think Tony Tiger!

If tomorrow is the same, I should be able to give some depth to the notion. But, if tomorrow is different, I hope the only possible explanation is that I completed what I am working up, today. In the future, I look forward to returning you to my newly developing narrative.

(If I wait too long before explaining ‘evolving artistic statement’, tell me in the comments section below that day’s piece. I really do want to talk about it. I just have to write today’s thoughts while they are fresh. My artistic statement isn’t fresh. It has been evolving.)

When my blog goes dormant.

My symptoms are to blame. I have increasingly been struggling with thinking. I am fairly certain that this is disease-related. And, when I can’t think, my writing bores.

I have been wanting to post something to my blog, each and every day that I fail to do so. Lately, I can’t trust my own judgement, as to what is worth sharing. In fact, on many days, reading anything at all is difficult. And, when I can’t follow a simple narrative, I am a defeated judge of quality.

The good news is that while I have been struggling to think, I have also made headway in dealing with the problem. Today is a perfect example. A myotonic-dystrophy fatigue forced me to nap this afternoon. Pain invaded my sleep. I nodded off tired and woke with a raging muscle ache. Everything hurts, but my head and neck distinguish themselves in this rodeo.

Normally, I wouldn’t be capable of writing for my blog under these conditions. But, today is no typical day. Today, my efforts at fighting through brain-haze are paying dividends.

While I might not have made much progress with my book, these past eight months, I have learned quite a bit about managing my symptoms. In the past, I have referred to this condition as writer’s block. But now, I would be wrong to do so. I know better. I would like to share with you some of what I have learned. For, today, in spite of my symptoms. I not only can read. I can write.

Where? I am.

I will start by telling you where I am.  People, who know I am writing a book, often ask.  Well.  How far along are you?  How many pages have you written?  I can tell my answers leave them silently wondering.  So, today is just a progress report.  I know it seems weird that I need to begin my discourse on writer’s block with a progress report on my book.  I wish it was easier to explain.

***  ***  ***

You see.  The problem is that my book is embedded in my daily journal.  Every day, a new page.  Here is how I now organize them.

I have a Journal folder.  Journal is broken down by years.  Years are broken into months.  And months, into days.  Days are pages.  All things, else, are folders:

Journal/

2011/

.

.

.

2014/

      2014-01/

      2014-02/

      .

      .

      .

      2014-08/

            2014-08-01

            2014-08-02

            2014-08-03

            2014-08-04:  This is the name of today’s page.  August 4th.

I find this particular YYYY-MM-DD format highly intuitive, because, the alphabetical is chronological.  No need to look for things.  My memories are embedded in time.  It’s easier to remember what I wrote by recalling what I was dealing with, when I thunk that thought.  And, it is easier to scan my work if it is sorted chronologically.  It synchronizes my eyes with my brain.

But, mind the zeros.  The zeros are necessary to retain order.  This would not work if I had named the 2nd as 2014-08-2.  Because, I would have a crisis brewing by the 10th.

My journal is all digital now.  But, I have volumes of spiral bound notebooks dating before 2011.  That year, writing by hand became difficult.

2011 is mixed between paper and digital.  It is the year my symptoms grew loud.  My new book actually starts around January of 2013.

Because, by then, I had received a diagnosis, and had the better part of a year to come to terms with what was happening to me physically.  By 2013, I was ready to move beyond it, as a subject for my journal.  I had accepted my new situation.  By the time 2013 was new, I wanted to write the book I had started, before my symptoms came, to occupy my thoughts.  But, that unfinished, old book, and those motivations, seemed too distant.

Writer’s block

I know what I should be doing.  I should be writing a book.  I mean, I have all the time in the world, given that I don’t work, due to my disability.

That’s what I have been telling myself this past year.  And, believe me, I have been trying.  But, it is time for me to begin speaking about what has been holding me back.  My book is the paramount focus of my writing efforts. But, I also have this blog.  And, I want to say things.  But, I’m telling you that this is not enough.

My daily output was dwindling.  I could see it in my journal.  It was evident here, on my blog.  And, it wasn’t from a lack of effort.  I was just finding it difficult to say the things I wanted to say.

Now, it would be wrong to refer to this problem of mine as mere writer’s block.  It was certainly a part of the problem.  But, it wasn’t even close to being a good, or proper, understanding.  And, I can only tell you this now, because I have been learning so much, this year.  For instance, I could not have even known where to begin, just last week.  Because, last week, this narrative had not yet emerged from within my fog.  I could see the shape.  I knew I was close to it.  But, I couldn’t properly describe what I saw.

So, I’ll begin as though I am discussing writer’s block.  And hopefully, after I go on to reveal how much more there was to my case of the dreaded condition, I’ll remember to come back to it, in summary.  This tale will play out over the coming days, here, on my blog.

If you want to know how to defeat writer’s block, I will tell you how I defeated mine.  I can’t promise that this would work for you.  Your circumstances are probably different.

When I began.

This blog.

I thought, then, that I knew what I wanted to write.  But, I actually had some difficulty in achieving my objective.  I can see several reasons for this.  I will identify and discuss them here, and in upcoming posts.

My first problem is that, although I have been writing daily, none of it seemed appropriate for my blog.  So, my early practice was to post stuff from my journal that seemed worth sharing.

Now, here, I would like to introduce a subject.  I will call it my writing conscience.

My writing conscience has been nagging me to write specifically for my book.  And, write for this blog.  But, I was battling unseen forces.  And, sometimes you can’t clearly see your enemy until you gain the upper hand.

I want your permission.

To spread my thoughts among many short posts.  Because, I don’t have the energy to sustain my writing.  I am discouraged by my lack of progress. I want to share many things with you.  But, I may have to stretch my thoughts out over several days.

Some days I can only write a few sentences.  Others, I may post more pieces, or larger pieces.  Look for the common narrative.

In order to fulfill my promise to post daily, I will do it in short pieces.

I can no longer write lengthy pieces.  I will tell you why tomorrow.

But, for now, understand that I will stretch my narrative out over days, because this is the only way I seem to be able to work.

Today.

I am merely demonstrating how I want my posts to be understood.  If I write many short posts with titles, look for the narrative.  My narrative will be found among and between the posts.  I am forced to resort to this because of my muscular dystrophy.

There.  In my last post I mentioned that I would soon tell you why I am forced to write in small posts.  And now I am telling you.

I write in small posts because everything is difficult for me right now.  This is how muscular dystrophy affects me.

My pact with you. Our common understanding.

I am going to begin posting a new narrative to my blog.

When I began this blog, I thought I knew what I wanted to say. My problem was that I had not yet identified the proper voice for sharing my thoughts.  And, I hadn’t fully understood my need to really distinguish what belongs on my blog, what belongs in my book, and what should remain in my own journal.

But, now that I have worked some of this out, I would like to begin sharing it with you.  But, I am going to share it in a series short posts that, in aggregation will tell a story.  There is a reason for this.  I promise to share this with you in due time.

I promise to post daily, beginning at some future date in the not too distant future.  I will begin posting daily after I have accumulated enough pieces to sustain my inevitable droughts.  I will tell you when my daily posting will begin.

Soon.  I promise.

Soon.