Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Gumption is Absent

Ideally summertime is the best time for writing. School's out, the days are longer, it's too hot to do much of anything outside. But this summer was a wash. Looking back over the weeks past, I wonder what the hell happened, and why I didn't get more done.

Somewhere along the way I lost my gumption.

Part of it has to do with the personal crap we've been dealing with. Nothing derails the train of thought like personal crap. Sit down to work on writing, and all I can think about it what's going on in my own life - which means I can't think about what's going on in my characters' lives. Real life is a real distraction sometimes, and frankly, it pisses me off when that happens. But there's nothing to be done about it. This too shall pass.

Part of it can be blamed directly on letting myself off the hook. "Things went bad today so I can take a night off." Wah. "I'm too tired to work today. I'll work tomorrow." Feh. If this was a normal job with a tangible boss (outside my own head) than I would've been fired months ago. Hell, if I had an employee who acted like that, I would fire them myself. Except the employee in this case is myself, and even if I fired me, I'd still be here.

Regardless of the excuses, it all comes down to choices. Outside influences aside, I choose whether I write or whether I lay on the couch wallowing in my own misery, laziness, self-doubt... ("Hey look! I haven't seen this episode of NCIS in months!") ...whatever. Unfortunately, knowing this is true does little to spur my gumption into action.

I only have three chapters of a 26 chapter novel red-inked and all of then to revise on the computer. I have a synopsis to write and a book to start querying. I have a book stuck partway through writing that I need to finish. (And a house that needs to be cleaned, several dozen cookies to make for gift baskets, yardwork to do, school to prepare for... Arrgghh.) Thinking about it all is making the couch and a nice book look very attractive again.

I really need to work today. Forget the Olympics, forget football and baseball, forget the Iris Johansen I started last night. Just work. Damn it.

We'll see if I can find my gumption somewhere along the way, and give it a jumpstart somehow. If not, I'll have the Johansen book finished by lunch, and I'll be able to talk sports with anyone who wants to.

What do you do when your gumption has walked out on you?



Debs said...

I usually wallow in self-pity in front of the tv with a glass of rose and maybe an icecream. Then when I'm bored of that (usually an hour or two will do) I give myself a talking to, buy some midget gems and get out to the shed and start writing.

I usually cheer up quite quickly once I get typing.

B.E. Sanderson said...

I knew I picked the wrong year to cut out most drinking and the wrong time to diet. Ice cream and a glass of wine sounds awesome.

As an update, I lit my gumption into action this morning and did some real work. Of course, I also finished the Johansen... but not by lunch. ;o)