For the last three days I’ve been completely unable to focus on writing. Ideas are in my head, the rest of the story for the current WIP (work in progress) is up there, banging around and forming, but when I sit down to write, nothing happens. This is scary stuff. My friend Roben says that maybe my concentration is off because I have a book releasing in less than a week—probably an excellent point. My crit partner says to chill out and let it go–the last couple of weeks have been crazy busy with editing gigs and my own book edits, so I should simply relax, do something else, take a break.
I want to, I really do, but I just keep coming back to the keyboard, staring at the same half-finished chapter and trying desperately to make it happen. But my brain is fried from too much work and my mind is full of the upcoming book release. I’m perseverating over if anyone at all will buy it and if they buy it, whether they’ll like it. I can’t focus. This morning, I ran errands, met a friend for coffee, and drove home in the rain, full of intention. I would put in a load of wash, eat a quick bite of lunch, and get to work. Well, here I am…trying to write…it’s not working.
So…I just called my friend, Mae:
ME: I need you to say these words to me, but only if you truly believe them.
MAE: Okay. What?
ME: Nan, it’s okay not to write. It’s okay to do something else. It’s even okay to do nothing.
MAE: Nan, it’s okay not to write. It’s okay to do something else. It’s even okay to do nothing.
She’s so obedient—a quality I really treasure in a friend. But she didn’t stop there. Here’s the rest:
ME: Thanks, Mae, you’re the best!
MAE: You shouldn’t write when it’s not working because then it’ll start sounding forced and it’ll be bad writing. Go read. Reading is research. For a writer, reading is always research. Read Bel Canto–you’ll love it and we can talk about it when you’re done.
ME: Okay. In fact, I’m going to make a fire and a pot of tea, curl up on the sofa, and read.
And that’s where I’m headed right now. I ordered Bel Canto on my Kindle, there’s dry fire wood in the garage, and I have some delicious tea from Teavana in the cupboard. So, I’m on my way downstairs to a cozy afternoon curled up on the sofa in front of the fire, reading.
I’m good with that…