(Hot and muggy here, storm’s a brewing, so forgive the churlishness ahead.)
Without fail, a few hours after I finish my daily writing I get a physical reaction–a whoosh in the gut–that is coupled with a discernible mood letdown and then I think, “What I wrote today was crap.”
This has been going on long enough–years–that I know to shake it off and resume peeling carrots or whatever it is that occupies me.
Often it is crap, of course, especially when I’m in the long slog of the first draft. But I know I’ll be less bothered by that if I’ve allowed a fair amount of time to pass before I look again, and if I have also accomplished something in another venue, say the kitchen, where perhaps a pile of peeled and chopped carrots waits for the soup pot.
This mature and rational handling of the whoosh and the writing blues works best, however, when I write earlier in the day. These days I rarely write early in the day. Morning–even early afternoon–has never been a good writing time for me, but for many years that’s when I wrote because that’s when the kids were in school. The kids are far removed from school now (which sounds like they’ve been placed someplace for their or a school’s safety), but I’ve acquired a couple of other jobs that require my attention (because people are paying for my attention) and so writing is item #3 on the get-the-job-done priority list. Therefore, the Whoosh and the blues often hit me late at night, when A. it’s harder to resist looking at what I’ve written or B. I’m roused from sleep or near-sleep and so ensured a night of bad sleep.
Probably the writing cry I dislike the most is “I treat my writing like a job,” a cry that is usually followed by a proud comment about dressing for the (uptown) office while being ready to go in the (home) office by 8 am. I let that cry haunt me for far too long, even as I knew it had nothing to do with my own professionalism. If I wanted a job where I punched a clock, then there are probably better professions than the one I’ve chosen/stumbled into/embraced.
Still, making writing an 8-4 endeavor would have one, enormous benefit: the whoosh and the blues would be easier to synchronize with a nice glass of wine.
p.s.: this is a very nice article.