Usually, I don't get those moments, but somehow, some way, I got stuck in that rut. Been trying to analyze why.
Last weekend, I did the grunt work associated with re-publishing my westerns from my pen name "S. D. Parker" to my full name: "Scott Dennis Parker." Updated the website, too. Have to admit it was nice seeing all the stories in one place in a location other than my website. So that was a good thing.
The new book's not going as swimmingly as when it started. That's an expected thing. Beginnings are always flush with excitement. Endings are barreling to the big conclusion. It's the vast middle where you have to keep up your game. And with this new book being unlike any of the others, the self-doubt crept into my head. "Hey, buddy, you know you can write mysteries, westerns, and thrillers. Why are you even bothering with this other thing?"
For most of this week, my answer was "I don't know." "Who the hell am I fooling" swept in and out of my brain this week. There's a writing assignment with a fast approaching deadline that I kept struggling with. I almost emailed the editor to back out. Heck, I even chastised myself for not bowing out of Do Some Damage with last week's column (seeing as how we're celebrating our decade anniversary and with me being the only original left, it's soft code for everyone else figuring out something different to do). It would have been a nice, even number. Ten years to the month. Holly's post from last week, "Writer, Know Thyself," struck home with this mentality. If I'm having second thoughts on the validity of keeping the DSD streak going, well, then...
What the hell is the point?
The Beginning of the Turnaround
Here's irony for you. A large bulk of this feeling coincided with the beginning of August. This month marks my twenty-year wedding anniversary, so that's an awesome thing. But August almost marks the beginning of the end of summer. Around mid May, I am so excited for the summer mentality that I can't wait for the end of May, Memorial Day, and the early days of June. Early summer is such a welcome thing. The boy's not in school. I don't have to get up at 4:30 am to write. The weather is wonderfully hot. The movies, books, and TV are all geared to the summer mentality.
Now, in August, the summer's at an end. CBS's Blood and Treasure finished its wonderful freshman season this week. American Ninja Warrior is nearing its season finale. Elementary airs its series finale this coming week. Man, am I going to miss that show.
And school starts. Back to 4:30 am writing times. That's not a huge deal because I've been getting up at 4:45 to 5:00 am this summer, but still.
What August also means is that the 97-day writing cycle I touted back on Memorial Day was mostly for naught (in terms of fiction). I let time slip away from me and didn't get nearly the amount of work I wanted to complete done. It almost seems like a waste.
But not totally.
The New Project: Watching Kevin Smith Films
From the end of June all the way to this week, I've been working on watching and reviewing all twelve of Kevin Smith's films before the new movie, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, debuts this October. My goal was to watch them all before I started publishing them so that I could have my own thoughts on all his films without anyone going "Boy, his movies really took a dive after [fill in the blank]." I wanted nothing coloring my own opinions.
But that meant I had to sit on all these reviews. No more. My Introduction and first review for Clerks is now out. The Mallrats review comes out this coming week, so I finally get to share what I've been doing. I've seen and written reviews for eight of his films now. All those reviews are already in the can, waiting to be let out in the coming weeks. Now, I can talk about what I've been doing this summer.
The Posts at DSD
It turned out to be great timing for the return of veteran DSDers to the blog. Three of them--Jay Stringer, Dave White, and Russel McLean--all wrote about the crap time they've faced and with which I've been struggling. Dave's post about the joy of blogging brought a smile to my face. But it was something Jay wrote that, yet again, struck home.
1. Find a thing you love doing
2. Put in the work to get good at it
3. Draw your self-worth from doing it, not from what you think you'll get from having done it.
You see that third point? I've preached that for a long time. I call it "Control the Controllables." Some when this summer, I lost sight of it. When people are shocked that I get up at 4:30 am, I tell them it's a blast because I get to tell myself stories! How awesome is that? Well, I forgot how awesome it is.
And then I remembered. I'm a storyteller.
Is it the best job in the world? Probably not, but it's a damn good one.
Am I out of the funk completely? Not yet. But the light is there.
We creatives all go through times like these where the urge to just throw in the towel is so dang strong. It would be so, so easy to just give up. And no one would notice. Well, we would. And we'd like feel like crap.
Fight through those tough times. Persevere. Keep going.
Why? Back to Jay's first item: because you love it.
That's the point.