I've been dealing with a lot of distractions lately, so I haven't been writing, and it's made me feel like a terrible slacker. This past week there was a death in my church family, and I suffered a throat infection. The death of this lovely woman has been hard on my family and those I attend church with. She was one of our 'pillars', and has been at that church since I can remember. Though she's gone on to a better place, this kind of a shaking in the foundation isn't easy to deal with. This year and the past couple of years, it seems like we've been losing people who are either special to us as individuals or us as a culture of Americans. The things that can be shaken are being shaken.
As I write, I understand that death and sickness are valid reasons to get behind on creative things. I still have to go to my day job, regardless the state of my health, but something I choose to do, such as writing, gets put to the side. If I want to be a full-time writer, it shouldn't be like that, but right now it is.
Even though I understand the reasons, I still can't completely excuse myself from not writing. I just can't do it. I feel like every day that I don't write, that's one day short of my goal to publish. I feel like I should be a lot further than I am, even though I am on Chapter 28 and nearing the end of the book. But putting myself under pressure only increased my tendency to procrastinate.
It's an awful feeling to have something hanging over your head that you know you should do, but you keep putting off. It's particularly difficult for me at scene changes and chapter breaks, which I'm now at in the book. When I reach them, I often re-evaluate what I've written and make sure I am progressing like I should. I take stock of the information I have to remember to move forward, and I consider how I need to approach the next part of the story. I think that's also part of the reason that I get distracted. I can't let the stock taking slow down the progress I'm making. I need to speed up and plow through. I need to focus on the new juncture like I should and not avoid facing it. It won't go away. I just have to push through it until I'm rolling again.
In the highlights of this past weekend, I watched the movie Megamind, and immediately fell in love with the main character. It was an awesome and fun distraction, but it's compelling the fangirl in me. When I have made more progress in my novel, I'll allow myself to fangirl, but not now.
As a writer, I'm noticing more than I used to about characters in movies and books. I now ask myself, why was this character so compelling? What was it about him that made the audience root for him no matter what side he was on? (Well, besides him being blue with big, green eyes.)
The good that came from watching the movie and letting myself be influenced by it is that I finally drew a version of the Strawman that I like - a lot! He's beautiful, with the right hair for the look I was going for, the scars I wanted, and the mad, mad eyes. He's also dressed pretty formal, save for the loose collar and tie - Victorian style, of course. I'm very happy with him!
So, in the midst of this loss, this health hiccup, this uncomfortable procrastination, I produced a jewel of a character, polished up and ready to be moved to the next level of development!