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[cancer|process] Writer's block, or energy block? - Lakeshore
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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-05-12 05:09
Subject: [cancer|process] Writer's block, or energy block?
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, personal, process, stories, writing
I am experiencing something much akin to writer's block these days. Which is really ticking me off.

Longtime readers will be familiar with the fact that I almost never experience writer's block. I can be held up for a day or so on a difficult point in a story. I can be distracted by an overwhelming emotional or life experience. But I've never had that feeling of sitting down, staring at the screen, and sweating for the words to come. If a piece is stalled, I just work on something else. Words have always flowed like water for me. It's been one of my gifts as a writer, perhaps one of my core gifts.

What I am going through now isn't writer's block in the stare-at-the-screen sense, not precisely. The words are in there. I have a novel to revise, a novel to write, a Sekrit Projekt to complete, a novella to revise, random short story ideas on almost a daily basis. They bubble, to the point now of frustrating me, a lot.

What I don't have is energy.

Up until about the beginning of April, I was writing at a pretty good clip, even for chemotherapy. But since I completed the first draft of "The Stars Do Not Lie", I've been having a hell of a time finding focus and energy to work on more. I've slipped in a little bit of revision on older pieces that had been languishing, and done some Writing Related Program Activities around getting stories out to market, answering interviews and whatnot. All of that is a kind of short-burst productivity I can do without extended periods of deep focus.

At this point in my chemotherapy cycle, by the time I'm done with the Day Jobbe, I'm pretty much done with the day. I've lost the 3-5 pm time slot I was using to write in. My sleep needs have piled up more with the accumulating fatigue, so I've lost the 3-5 am time slot I was also sometimes using. Basically, the world is closing in, and taking my time with it. That I lost three of my 'free' weekends in a row through March and April to various medical issues in my family was no help either.

My current plan is to service my deadline projects in the upcoming weekend time, and try to hammer out at least a little daytime writing. I can do a lot by sheer force of will. But I cannot do everything. Meanwhile, this damned block has got me for the first time since I've become a pro.

This might be the thing that pisses me off the most about chemo. That cancer and the drugs have stolen my creative time and space away from me.

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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2010-05-12 12:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hug.
It's hateful and frustrating. I went through a lesser version when on venlafaxine, and it was a form of hell. You will get through it, and you are most of the way there now.
Much love,#Kari
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2010-05-12 12:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hugs. I am so sorry to read this, as I know the frustration.

With the return of strength and energy, though, the words will return. In that you have to believe at this point.

(And I will be there believing it strongly for you, in those dark shadows when belief wants to fail).

You will write again. The words will once again flow for you. It will be so.
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Katherine Sparrow
User: ktsparrow
Date: 2010-05-12 13:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm also a writer who's never at a loss for ideas and words. Believe you me, I have all kinds of other issues, but that's not one of them.

For an entirely different set of reasons, I've been very low energy and exhausted for going on 3 months, and sometimes I just can't concentrate on anything creative. It's scary, and a bummer, and frustrating, and I really don't know how people with chronic illness cope. Here's hoping it goes away for you real soon after chemo ends.
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mcjulie
User: mcjulie
Date: 2010-05-12 15:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm just sitting here thinking, you get up at 3 am? And start writing? Ever?

You are awesome.

I'm sorry that bodies can do all these stupid things to us.
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Keikaimalu
User: keikaimalu
Date: 2010-05-12 16:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Having been up and down with energy issues myself, I promise that the ability to focus will return when energy does. Your creativity has been temporarily borrowed, not permanently stolen. It will be back.

Is there any other creative pursuit that takes less focus that you can shift to in the meantime? Like photography, or watercolors, or building ships in bottles, or playing the oboe? I find switching gears from one form to another can make those creative gaps less frustrating, particularly if there's one you can shift to that doesn't hold a lot of ego for you. And that way, there's less of a sense of potential creative time wasted.

Hang in there.
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