I’ve been motivationally paralyzed about my writing for weeks that slipped into months and now threaten to become a year or more. It’s frightening to stay away from my works in progress for so long, but I’ve been overwhelmed by the chaos that my country’s government has become.
My motivation hasn’t been sapped across the board, though.
I eagerly search for rallies, protests, and organizational meetings to attend. I write letters. I make phone calls. I hope and to some extent, I believe that I make a difference, that the country is a little better for my efforts. I believe that I, one person in a sea of others doing similar things, can bring to bear enough pressure on the regressive, repressive forces in this country to divert the current headlong course toward the dismantlement of almost everything socially progressive from the New Deal onward.
The search and efforts take time, but hardly my every waking hour. What do I do with the rest of my time? I read news sites obsessively, looking for new hopes and new outrages. I follow every twist and turn of the Americo-Russian Kompromat scandals, the existential threats to the Affordable Care Act, the horrifying and cruel White House budget proposal, the gratuitous insults of commission and omission to our longtime allies and erstwhile fellow travelers toward a more sane and kind world. I scan the horizon for new threats to those I love, and I worry about the millions just like them all over the country.
And I feel it is this use of my time that has become problematic if it weren’t problematic from the start.
But, my life since January 20, 2017 hasn’t all been reading and handwringing about the news. I’ve proofread two novels for other writers since the inauguration. Both tasks were hardly tasks at all. I enjoyed reading the stories and found it fairly easy to run parallel tracks in my mind, one engrossed in the story, and one studying it critically. And best of all, while I proofread, I managed to unplug almost completely from the news. And in the not-yet-published writings of published novelists, I finally found interest in getting back to my own stories.
I’m cautious. I am afraid that my writer self could easily be swamped and capsized by my political self once again. I am afraid that biting off too much at once creatively could make me reluctant to do anything at all.
And like a beacon through the fog, the April Camp NaNoWriMo shines. A beacon, or the captivating call of sirens luring me toward the rocks if I plunge headlong with overzealous goals.
It wasn’t until yesterday that I resolved to participate. Today, I cautiously plan how I’ll tackle what I hope will be my final revision of The Gideon Effect.
I’m optimistic and yet fearful. If I fail, how much more difficult will it be to gather the energy to try again?
I better not fail.