“How’s the Writing Going?”

Let’s be clear: asking me this question even in the best of times is assault. Because we all know that you don’t really care how the writing is going. You’re just being polite. It’s up there with “What are you working on?” You don’t care. It’s just a polite question you ask before launching into a long story about your much more interesting life.

However, in the current bad times, asking me this question is now felony assault. Because it ain’t going great. And I don’t want to talk about that with someone who doesn’t actually care.

I was struggling with my writing before this endless panini, before the routine exasperation of telling people to put their masks on, before the constant stress of being forever understaffed at the library. I’ve been struggling for a while and baby, it ain’t necessarily getting better.

Blogging consistently is a challenge. That I’ve managed to put out two blog posts a week for two different sites for the last couple of months is nothing short of a miracle. Writing 1,000 word flash fiction stories for Patreon has been the extent of my fiction writing outside of NaNo in the past few years. And this year’s NaNo is looming and I’m looking at it with dread because I don’t know if I can do it. I’ve tried everything to get my fiction flow back and the dam is still in place, only letting through a trickle.

I’m still getting ideas, though not at the same pace that I used to. Just the other day I got a random idea for something that would be a fun film script. I jotted it down and I hope that one day I find enough mojo to at least outline it.

I miss fiction writing. I miss that buzz, that sensation of getting lost in my work, surfacing an hour later like I’d been swimming with mermaids and that first gasp of air reminds me that I’m human and I’ve just done something incredible. I’ve had fleeting bits of that, but nothing like it used to be. It makes me sad.

It’s not like I’m not writing at all or that I don’t like the writing that I am doing. I like doing the blog posts. I’m rediscovering my joy in that. I like doing the Rerun Junkie posts over at aka Kiki Writes, even if they can be a bit involved. I’d love to do a pop culture book one day. I really would. And I like running off at the mouth here about whatever. I like doing the scripts for the library’s podcast. Podcasting in general has become a big way I spend my time now. There’s not as much writing involved in Book ’em, Danno, but there is some.

It’s not like I’m not living up to my name. Kiki is still writing. I’m just not writing what I thought I’d be writing. I’m not being KikiWrites the way I thought I’d be. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe this is all part of the evolution of my writing existence and one day I’ll get to come back to fiction writing as my main thing. But for now, it’s not.

So, how’s the writing going?

Not the way I’d planned.

But it’s going okay.

Writer’s Apathy

I think the last time I had a true writer’s block was back in my early twenties when I was transitioning from writing mostly fanfiction to writing mostly original stuff. As the fanfiction ideas disappeared, the original ideas weren’t quite there, and there was a time when I didn’t write anything at all. There was a certain amount of anxiety preventing me from trying. I wasn’t sure that I could write anything if I wasn’t writing fanfiction and I wasn’t sure I was good enough to even bother trying.

But, I got past that. Obviously.

What I have now isn’t writer’s block. It’s writer’s apathy.

It’s like having writer’s block, but instead of being unable to write, I don’t know what to write because I kind of don’t care.

I mean I do, but I don’t.

I’ve got my projects list and I’m currently revising (Vampires) Made in America again, but it’s more for something to do -to say that I’m writing- rather than because I really want to.

It’s been a little while since I’ve really wanted to write anything. I thought that much of my problem had to do with my depressive episode earlier this year. But that’s abated and the apathy remains. No matter how many times I ask myself “What do you really want to work on? What do you really want to write?”, my answer is always “I don’t know.” I look at my projects list, I look at my idea notebook, and nothing really jazzes me so much that I feel like I have to work on it right now.

I’m hoping that NaNo helps snap me out of this. I like the project that I picked (even if I don’t have that feeling of urgency to do it), so I’m hoping that it will re-energize my writing mojo. Otherwise I’m going to have to start asking myself some really uncomfortable existential questions like “Do I still want to be a writer?” and “Who am I if I’m not one?” And frankly, I’m just too shallow for those kinds of questions.

The question that I need to answer is “What do I really want to write now?” because “I don’t know” isn’t cutting it as an answer. I need to keep asking until I get an answer because I think that there is one. I’m avoiding it for some reason. Maybe because I know I won’t like the answer. Or maybe because I know that the answer will take me out of my comfort zone.

Whatever it is, I need to do myself a favor, stop dodging the question, and just answer it.

Time for a resolution.