I have had a terrifically productive week. I have banged out four strong articles and made some great headway on my other writing. You would think that this would be a cause for celebration. But normally a week like this inspires self-castigation and makes me a mental-health hypercondriac.
First I tell myself that if I worked this hard all the time, I could really make a difference in the world. Then I think about how my work comes in spurts and stops and wonder if I have just had a manic episode.
Today it finally struck me that this is all a part of the creative process. My articles do not just pop into my head and onto the page. My style of writing involves looking at things differently. It requires a lot of thinking. And thinking looks a lot like being lazy.
After my thinking, I tend to hit a point of frustration where I become absolutely certain that social justice causes need a different writer. Nothing I will ever say or do will make a difference. I also become convinced that I can’t write and that I am a failure as a person.
When the break-through finally comes, it is a flood. Suddenly things that I have had me stuck for weeks just slide out of my fingers and onto the page. I am almost in a frenzy, trying to get the words down before they escape me as they have for the past couple of weeks.
The reason that writing and other creative endeavors can look like being lazy or crazy is that creativity is a slow-cooker, not a microwave.
Writing is like having an orgasm. You have to let it come to you. Rather than straining and striving, you have to trust the process. People have been writing and having orgasms for ages, and you have to trust it. Some days it will come quickly, other days it will play hide and seek with you. But the process will take as much time as it will take.
Frustration is as much a part of the process as inspiration. Trying to rush it, trying to squeeze one out works as poorly for writing as it does for an orgasms.
Trust, breath and let it come to you.