Now that I’m not as busy with school, I must face the demon that drove me there. I need to train myself to write every day, not just when the mood strikes or I have a deadline. If I am ever to consider myself an “author” I must be my “boss.” I have to find a way to face down the demon of the blank mind. I must find the inner spark of imagination and coax it into a flame. I must set goals and stick to them.
In the beginning, immediately after I graduated in 2009 with aspirations to be a freelance writer, I let myself be sidetracked with Facebook games. I became addicted to several of them and as fast as I tired of one, a “friend” would introduce me to another. I spent hours each day, planting crops, building villages, designing houses, fighting dragons and collecting gems. I accomplished nothing. I went cold-turkey and deleted all the games.
Then I “met” Not Bob. He pulled me into Social Media as a writing platform. Soon my time was again monopolized by something other than writing. I cut most of that out as well. No more Twitter, Linked In, G+, or Goodreads. I couldn’t totally eliminate Facebook because it’s how I keep track of my far flung family, but I cut it back. I made a list of immediate family members that I follow every few hours, but I only look at the general newsfeed once or twice a day.
I spent several weeks in withdrawals, but I still didn’t write. It seemed I had starved my muse too long. She refused to talk to me. Finally, in desperation, I registered for school. I just planned to take a couple of online classes a semester. Just something that would give me assignments, papers to write, something to feed the dragon. There was a time when I was addicted to writing. I needed to find that craving again.
Instead, I became more and more involved in classes. I found myself taking classes that required no writing and didn’t even interest me. It was becoming like a job I disliked, but couldn’t quit. Unfortunately, the pay was nonexistent. The drain on my time, energy, and GPA was becoming the greatest source of stress I had experienced since I “retired.” After weeks of trying to convince myself I needed to finish what I started, I finally allowed my inner voice to take control and I dropped the energy sucking class followed quickly by a change of major before I could be enticed into another.
Then I spent two weeks playing with the babies. With my nerves soothed, it’s time to begin making amends to my muse. I am still pursuing the Religious Studies major and adding a minor in History. Both have the potential to provide background for my writing plans. I may branch out into Folklore as well. We’ll see how things go next fall. In the meantime, I have a half dozen books on writing that I bought and never really read. There’s also a stack of programming books for various languages I wanted to learn and couldn’t find classes for at school. Between the two, I hope to get my brain working again.
The one online class I have left requires about four hours a week of effort, split pretty evenly between reading and writing. The babies nap, at least, two hours a day. That time must become my work period. So that totals to fourteen hours a week. Not even part time. I just need to find my inner controller to keep me on track.
To begin, I WILL make a post to one of my four blogs every week. If I can’t come up with an interesting topic, I’ll talk about not being able to find anything to write about or the weather. The pump must be primed. In the beginning, the water may be rusty and filled with junk, but time and effort will clear it up.
This week, I will inventory my writing books and decide which ones to start with. I hope to read one a week, they’re mostly thin. I’ve already chosen a programming book. Core PHP Programming is more than 500 pages (plus appendices) divided into twenty chapters. I intend to do a chapter a week, just like a classroom situation. I’ll be discussing that effort on my Madisonville Design blog. Come on by, if you’re interested.