So about Chapter XI... (Author's Journal)

As you may have noticed, I did not update yesterday like I had said I would. This has been something of a trend, lately, and I apologize.

Worry not though readers, I am on the case! And while I would love to be uploading the chapter I promised right now, it appears I will need a few more days. In the meantime, I have decided to write a bit about what is going on with the chapter and why I haven’t finished it yet, as I feel that authors (and hopefully other creative types) may benefit from my experience here.

First, a bit of perspective. One of the odd aspects of the forthcoming Chapter XI is that I have not been experiencing a case of writer’s block, at least not with regards to where the story is going and what I want to say, as I am fairly certain about where the next few chapters are headed. (I only say ‘fairly’ certain because we can never really know with these things, being the complicated creatures that we are, though I know I am presently satisfied with what I have in mind.)

So what is it, then, that has been causing me to sit in front of my computer, flush with extra time, yet somehow completely unable to write? (In a creative capacity, at least.) This is the question I have spent the past few days answering and working through and I would like to share with you what I have come to understand.

One thing that strikes me about novel writing is that it is a delightfully clear indicator of ‘where I am at’ as a person. When I had difficulty making decisions on my own (such as where I wanted to be in life, what I wanted to do, etc.), I found that I couldn’t commit to a storyline, and would end up doing rewrite after rewrite in search of the mythical ‘perfect’ story to tell. (You know, the story that no one can criticize and everyone loves... hah.)

But as soon as I realized that I wanted to be able to guide myself and make decisions that I was proud of, and took the necessary steps to do that (I spent a lot of time reading self-help books and being alone with my thoughts—always a little bit frightening), I quickly settled on the storyline you are reading now, thus eliminating my problem with indecision. (As a bonus, I felt less inclined to wonder how other people would feel about my story in the end, and decided to ‘just write the damn thing,’ since I realized it would never get finished otherwise.)

Similarly this week, when I knew what I wanted to write, but couldn’t write it, I decided that something was amiss and that I was obligated to take the time to figure out what it was. Usually when this happens, it means that the story ought to go in a different direction than I had originally planned. This time however, it was a clear indication that I ought to go in a different direction as a person.

As I have come to understand it, what we create and how we feel in private are both a direct result of who we are beneath the surface. (As opposed to how we are in public often being the exact opposite of who we are at a place of depth and authenticity.) So if you are blocked, deep down, and unable to change how you are being because you won’t dedicate the time needed to do so, then you may feel blocked creatively, whether or not you have the pieces you need to make what you want to make.

Again, that is only my experience, but I imagine it applies to others out there. The way I resolved this was by consciously recognizing that I wanted to change. Then, each time a thought would come to me that I didn’t feel was in my best interest, I would lovingly let go of that thought and the part of me that had created it. (Such as if I heard a barking dog and thought, “stupid dog,” I would recognize that I’d rather feel good about that moment in my life, that dogs are dogs, and that it doesn't really bother me, anyways; not when I am just using my irritation as a mask for the fact that I haven't been living honestly with myself.)

Taking the time to mentally monitor oneself and every thought that passes through can be extremely draining, and is rarely an appealing prospect. (Usually, it is accompanied with the “why can’t I just be happy/perfect now?” thought.) But when something you love is on the line, it is a lot easier to change. In this way, maybe I have something in common with a mother about to lose her child—I realized that if I didn’t figure out whatever it was that was keeping me from writing my book that it would never be finished, and that I would lose ‘my baby.’

And while loss is a powerful motivator, there are many better ones out there, like love. And, in the end, I feel that that is where we eventually end up after working through all of our ‘stuff’—with love for ourselves, our projects, the people around us, and the world we live in. 

At least in this regard, I feel confident in saying that this is true for everyone... even if they don’t know it yet.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your candid approach to this project. However, because of the lack of consistency with the postings I have unsubscribed from the Kindle. Hope the future writing goes as well as what you have already accomplished.

Andrew Macauley said...

Thank you for your input. I hope you continue to read for free on the website, and I appreciate your well-wishing. As well, I apologize for the problems with consistency, though I am glad you enjoyed reading what you did.

Andrew