taming the hydra

I suspect that what I’m about to write is a thing well known to others, and a thing that other writers have experienced.  Perhaps it’s a thing that’s an inescapable and necessary product of the act of writing.  But it is one of the things on my mind today and so I thought I’d scree a bit.

I’m at the moment taking a short break, or engaging in a bit of a procrastinatory frenzy, from the current story project depending on your point of view, as I’m having difficulty keeping to the straight and narrow of the path I’ve planned for this story.  Because I have a clear plan.  I know how I want this story to be unfold, beginning and middle and end.

In fact, I have many many many ideas for how I can see this story unfolding, beginning and middle and end.  There are two main characters, and either one can be the main character.  There is the main moment of action, which can take place here or there, where here and there are very different places.  There is the degree of bat shit craziness in which I’m willing to engage, from the very mild to the garden sheds in the rather extreme outlying suburbs of my imagination.  And each of these leads to a different story.

Like the hydra in full flow, each time I sit to write, I find that one of these other heads seems to be the more attractive story than the story, the head, I’ve sat myself down to write.  And so I find myself to be the victim of temptation.

Each writer has their demons to defeat.  For some, it’s the fear of writing something unworthy or stupid, and some have described this relationship with their fear, and the bargaining they regularly have to undertake with their fear, in heartfelt and compelling detail.

And I’m beginning to realize that perhaps my demon is this hydra of distraction.   This hydra affects not only my writing, as once I see it for what it is, I can see this hydra of distraction at work in my mathematical life.  And I can see that for my mathematical hydra of distraction, I have found some strategies for fighting my hydra with some success.

And so now, I need to develop strategies for battling my writing hydra.  I need to kindle the torches that I will use to cauterize the stumps when I cut off its heads.  It will take some time, and I am sure that I will never defeat my hydra, but I am confident that I will find a way of keeping it in some sort of check.  And so now, back into battle.

~ by Jim Anderson on 17 September 2017.

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