Stalled: (adj. used with the object) being in a state of non-progression during which nothing much gets done. Otherwise describes the condition in which my current WIP languishes as I find myself sucked into other things. Including but not limited to:

Excuse: (noun) an explanation offered in defense of some fault or offensive behavior; a reason for not fulfilling an obligation.

Is that all this is? An excuse to justify my negligence? Why I’m barely eking out a paragraph a day?

The Epilogue of The First Five Pages asks:

“Does [writing] take number-one priority? Some people give over their entire lives to writing. They give up their jobs: they write twelve hours a day; they apply for every grant, award and fellowship out there; when they’re not writing, they’re reading literature, scrutinizing other writers’ techniques, reading books on writing. Thomas Mann wouldn’t even interrupt his writing to attend the funeral of his son, who had killed himself.”

Well I sure wouldn’t go that far but . . . should I be putting more of an emphasis on my writing during the holidays? Should I let the gifts go unwrapped, the tree stay dressed in only what nature gave it? Should I forgo my long love affair with the Christmas card and the stuffed-inside Christmas Letter? (Mine is really good by the way . . . quirky and fun vs. just being a list of stuff that happened all year.)

But so what? Should it be abolished? And should I make my son’s birthday a non-event?

What, exactly, should I let slide in order to keep focused on my book?

I dunno!

I sort of wonder if maybe it’s all about balance . . . in finding time to write, time to decorate, time to celebrate. Certainly time to attend a funeral for crying out loud! It’s figuring out how to achieve whatever balance works for each of us.

So how do you do it? Or do you do it? Do you struggle like me? Or have you found the right balance that lets you embrace your writing life equally with your . . . well, your real life?

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6 Responses to Stalled

  1. Vonna says:

    There’s no need for an excuse to enjoy the holidays. I hope you celebrated every day. Happy New Year! Now get back to work!

  2. That epilogue to The First Five Pages seems extreme to me, for sure. I mean, can’t we write because we love it and keep it as something we do rather than something that completely consumes our lives? I hope you were able to enjoy your holidays, Linda, without feeling guilty! :)

    Happy 2012!
    Amy Sonnichsen recently posted..Drawing InspirationMy Profile

    • Linda says:

      Excellent point Amy! I think we should write because we love it. In fact, if it were something we didn’t love, wouldn’t that come out in the writing?

      • Yes. :) And I find it a little disturbing that the one writer’s son committed suicide. I know I’m stretching the point (and I don’t know the circumstances), but since he also put writing before his son’s funeral, it seems a fair guess that he wasn’t much of a father. And are we supposed to–ahem– idolize people like that? Life should be fuller, imho.

        Great post, Linda!
        Amy Sonnichsen recently posted..Drawing InspirationMy Profile

        • Linda says:

          I had that same thought when I read it but The First Five Pages had only that one sentence to offer. You made me curious though so I just did a little searching. Turns out you are right, Klaus Mann overdosed at 43. And he had a difficult relationship with his father due to his homosexuality. Maybe it was not such a sacrifice on his dad’s part.
          Linda recently posted..AfterglowMy Profile

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