Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Bottleneck

(Yes, this is a Melville-like post title, but it's a frustrating and elusive idea, just like the books of Guess Who.)

I recently completed a writing task that I've done lots and lots of times before. This time, though, for some reason it proved to be a bottleneck.

I couldn't work on it without getting all angsty and avoidant. I couldn't work on my own manuscript  until it was done.

It was like pushing writing through a sieve. Of cement.

It shouldn't have been tricky, but my attitude somehow made it so. Why this task? Why now?

I don't know, but now I'm leaping about and rejoicing.  It's finished, and the final product shows no signs of what went into writing it.

Has that ever happened to you--a task that you say "no problem" to and then can't seem to write? How did you get over it?


Bardiac said...

I try to remind myself that it happens all the time to me, but that I do get most of the stuff done. And then I take a victory lap around the department when I finish it!

undine said...

I'm ready for a victory lap--good idea!

tenthmedieval said...

Yes, this has certainly happened to me. Either I eventually just sit down and face it, usually when it's all but too late, having finally then been able to convince myself that it's more important than something else I'd rather not do, or else, and these days more and more, I write draft blog posts about it, trying to explain what the issues are for an invisible audience. The last of these, which is a pig of an article that should be very simple but which I've been trying to articulate properly for an actual decade, gave me five lengthy posts before I felt I'd got all the things I was trying to say out, and was then able to try and replan it as an outline for the article (which, I admit, still doesn't exist).

Now, since none of these blog posts yet went live, you may ask why i couldn't just do this offline, but I guess that the Wordpress window just signifies a different level of explanation to me and writing for that, I was more able to talk round the issues in a way that let me actually both start and finish, at least provisionally. I'm sure I should be able to do this consciously too, but...