I think there’s a little escapist in every writer. What other kind of person willingly dreams while conscious and records it? Then we spend hours refining our thoughts so others can more easily join us in our dreams.
A theme of scifi recently has been the problems inherent in “Second Life” type gaming or VR gaming. While I haven’t gotten into Ready Player One yet, I was a video game addict with an AR game called Ingress for several years. I ignored my life to play. It became my job. It wasn’t ok. I’m doing the same thing now with writing, except I want to replace my job with writing.
I hate my job. I hate it. I have for about 10 years now.
Facing that fact and being honest about it gave me the courage to do something constructive with the feeling, rather than destructive. But for a long time I’ve felt guilt and shame over hating my job. I own my own business, I’m supposed to love it. I don’t. That doesn’t mean the business is a bad thing, it just means I’m not suited for it. I’m not. My heart is over here, in this writing thing.
So, part of me has known that for years. I remember praying about work and hearing that my magic wand to fix it was a pen. I ran from that idea because writing seemed more overwhelming than work did. Work was safe. It didn’t mean putting my heart on paper for the world to judge and reject. I could code all day or design, and while design is more risky, it’s much less personal than writing fiction.
So what’s funny to me, is this idea that I’m escaping into writing escapist fantasy. Part of me is really wondering, is this right?
Should I just deal with the reasons for my hatred of my job and work to overcome them?
One of the things I do because of this attitude I have toward my work is procrastinate. I’ll then procrastinate about procrastination. Champion procrastinator and my panic monster died. I’m trying now to sort through if, instead of repenting about procrastination, I should be dealing with the stuff under it. Repenting of that. I can start with being honest about it.
Because the point is well-taken. By escaping, we do abdicate our responsibilities and destroy relationships. When is the line crossed? When is it unhealthy? When are we helping people plug into the Matrix voluntarily and helping them destroy themselves? and don’t fiction writers have as much responsibility to address this as game devs do?
I’m just thinking about it today. I am trying to hold myself accountable and repent of that whole procrastination thing. I think women are especially subject to this problem. (I can hear feminists throwing rocks at me now, but will say it, anyhow.) The thing that makes us strong in design and interpersonal relations also makes us vulnerable to overwhelm in business. I’ll say it. It’s true. Our brains are like spaghetti. Everything is connected to everything else. So an unresolved issue apparently unrelated to what we are dealing with can actually affect us and steal our joy, our energy and our gumption. (Again, feminists howl. I said we’re different. Not less than. Pipe down, already. )
Then shame comes and self-reproach and accusation, and I hide from it. And I drown in negativity and procrastinate more. I fight it constantly. I have to stop and ask myself what’s true. Then, I gotta fight my very real overwhelm and fear and do what I’m supposed to. I’m very tired of it.
Maybe this isn’t a woman thing? Maybe it’s a sensitivity thing? I’m just spitballing but I’m betting it’s my spaghetti brain.
Mens brains are like waffles. They compartmentalize and it’s easier for them to work through trying, stressful situations.
I’m not going to argue this, it’s my opinion to date. I might change my mind. But this is how I see it right now.
Pushing me to write is the continued encouragement I get from Ransomed Heart, with John Eldredge’s book, Journey of Desire. He might have renamed the book to just Desire. But the audios of the seminars they had on the topic resonated with me deeply. I believe in my core that I’m supposed to write because of them. So it’s messy.
I’m editing my book, but once again, I need to check my motives and make sure I’m not bailing on something and being a coward, when I should be growing and making changes. It’s kind of important. I can’t run from life with my book. Anyhow, that’s where I’m at right now. I’m going to go tackle my to-do list, now that I’ve processed all of this.
There isn’t just one thing going on. Yes, I need to tackle my procrastination and deal with it. Yes, I’m being childish in my posture toward my work. Yes, the writing matters. Yes, I can (and will) escape too much. I need to be on guard about it. No, I’m not responsible for that in others. Just responsible for me. Yes I gotta stop the shame. Satan’s having a field day here, with me.
I’m trying to use my writing to face my inner garbage, instead. That’s the only answer I have, for now. It’s a good thing Jesus reads my blog. 🙂 Maybe He will send me more answers. He’s good like that.
PS. I’ve also heard for some time now that I need to be running for exercise. I hate running. It hurts. But it does occur to me, that likely the reason for this order is that the same skills, practice to do what I don’t want to do, are needed in running. When I do obey, I’m moving really slowly, but I am at least going forward.