So, the first of the month has rolled around again, and it’s October, one of my favourites. I’m hoping the sense of crisp, autumnal newness will fire me up and get me writing with gusto, as I’ve been away from it for several days now and I’m finding it difficult to get started again. My blog has been a bit of a struggle this morning – I wasn’t sure I was going to find a topic to write about, and I considered giving up and going back to bed. But that’s not the way the world works, as we all know.
Writing can be a battle, even for those who love it. It’s not always easy to get a handle on your words, or find an angle on a particular topic; sometimes, you don’t even have the luxury of a topic to work with. It’s tempting to delete everything you’ve worked on and throw the whole lot away if you get downhearted about it – and, after a certain amount of hours, days, months or even years of looking at the same words, over and over, it’s very easy to get downhearted. It’s like wrestling a very powerful opponent, one who knows all your signature moves and who can make them before you do, and one who always has the advantage. This is because your opponent is yourself, of course – a version of yourself who’s fired up on doubt, anxiety and fear, and who therefore has the edge. It’s hard to win a match like that. In order to keep going, though, with writing or whatever else it is we do, we must regularly enter the ring with this terrifying opponent, and we must fight well enough to knock our adversary down. We can never knock them out completely, though – or, at least, that’s how it seems to me. Eventually, our foe will get to their feet again, perhaps dizzy with battle, and filled with new tactical knowledge about how to beat you. The bell will ring for the next round, and our fellow combatant will make their move whether you’re ready or not. I’m sure it’s the same for everyone, but it’s hard to remember that when doubt has you in a choke-hold.
I’m coming to the end of my current work in progress, but I still have a lot of writing to do before I’d consider it ‘done enough’. I don’t think I’ll ever consider it ‘finished’, because ‘finished’ would imply ‘nothing else needs to be fixed’, and that can never happen with a piece of writing. Parts of it have flowed smoothly, and parts of it have felt like eating nails, and the part I’m working on at the moment is one of the most challenging, mainly because it’s an action scene and I’m not too hot on those. But I’ll only learn by doing, and so I’ve just got to swallow those nails and get on with it. I hope that, when the day comes where I can finally hit ‘print’ on this current piece, that I’ll be better prepared for my next round in the wrestling ring.