I write more often now. But I always have problems with that. Or rather, I think I had this problem with writing after I stopped programming.
Writing has always been second nature to me. I can write. I can rewrite till the cows come home. I don’t think I was ever satisfied with what I wrote. At some point I learned to stop rewriting. Or at least to give the piece I’d written some time, before I have a go and rewrite it.
That’s even before I ask help with the editing. But let’s not go there.
It all boils down to how I write. I write in the same way that I program. I program in a zone. I keep plugging at a program till I get it, and then I enter the zone. When that happens, I forget everything. I write code faster, I do background programming at the back of my head. I solve programming problems while I sleep. I really zone out.
However, before that happens, there is that slow build-up. Small pieces come into place. A thought here, a pencil there, a piece of comment kept in a file within easy reach, these and more things happen. It seems that I would be doing nothing for a long time, and then it just happens. The slow build up leads to an imperceptible tipping point. And then it’s all downhill from there. I feel like I have to keep doing things faster and faster in order to keep ahead of an avalanche I’ve unleashed.
In a way, that’s what happened and caused me to burn out once, long ago. That feeling never leaves. I keep trying to look behind me to see if I’m on the verge of a burnout. Sometimes I see it. Most times, I don’t.
That’s how I write. I get a slow start. Starting a diesel engine in a cold deep winter night has nothing to compare to what I go through before I can really get into a writing zone. It’s when I really have to write, that I write things off the top of my head. These are like finger exercises. Or foreplay, if you will. I have to get beyond the first one BEFORE I really get going.
Once in the zone, it’s just too bad, but I have to squeeze it, make it go for all it’s worth, and then again, and again. Till I drop or the bell rings to signify that time’s up.
Starting to write while staring a blank page is totally frightening.