After writing yesterday’s post I find myself moving more rapidly along a scale of anxiety which writers know well, that scale which increases the desire for alcoholic beverages (implied in the post I wrote day before yesterday) as you move up its ranks. As I’ve written elsewhere, I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, like writers are sometimes known to do. I’m not sure why. Maybe we’ve looked beneath the surface a little too much. I can say the submerged engine behind this entire blog is bio-fueled by anxiety.
All that enthusiasm about my characters and my sadistic plans for them has begun to move somewhere between uneasiness and apprehension. If it moves into the final state, mortification, it will probably lead to catalepsy and that’s when you need someone satanic like Richard Bandler to come and stomp on your mortified face to bring you out of it. I hope I don’t reach that level.
I keep changing the circumstances and chewing on the possibility that the whole concept of my novel is too safe, too already-been-done-before. You know all the claptrap that eats away at your head and eventually paralyzes you. But. This is actually a good thing. If anxiety doesn’t kill you, it will force you to stop pretending. It will force you to write about things that seem impossible to write about. (I don’t know about you, but I’ve always run as fast and far away from cheerful optimists as I could. There’s something there that feels counterfeit.)
One thing about writing a novel is it gets me thinking even more about death and Keats’ poem, the one that goes, “When I have fears that I may cease to be/before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain.”
But luckily we have a Stephen King to remind us
Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard either emotionally or imaginatively is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing to do is shovel shit from a sitting position.
Gee, thanks, Steve.
Now that I’ve released that uncomfortable bit of flatulence and settled onto my rear cheeks again, it’s time to get back to shoveling shit…