I managed to log only fifteen hours of writing last month. It would seem sequestration induces the opposite reaction, that is, inaction, at least where writing is concerned.
“Son, it’s a beautiful day outside. Go pal around with your friends.”
“Naw, I’ll just hang out inside doing nuthin’.”
“Son, it’s raining and stormy, best you stay inside today.”
“Naw, I got dams to build, boats to float and puddles to stomp.”
Not that I idled away my scant free time. A few thousand words rose like fetid mushrooms in my various venues. Yet, their shallow, haphazard appearance feels as if they grew of their own accord. “Did you write this?” “Yeah, I guess I did. But I don’t remember the verve and swerve of the experience. Perhaps I penned them during a semi-lucid dream.”
That’s not how I’d like to remember my writing adventures.
Friend or Foe
I read an article recently that explored the concept of creating a personal enemy against which one battles. It didn’t matter what type of enemy, only that it represented an oppressive or offensive manifestation that must be fought. Today I’m going to fight societal bigotry with temperance and forbearance. They, who think I can’t finish this spreadsheet, are not going to beat me! Sure it hurts, but exercise pain is the adversary we must defeat—they thought I’d give up, well I’ll show them.
If you have an identifiable rival upon which you can focus your ire, then you can leverage your aggressions to spur advancement. Fight the good fight. Wrestle and win.
I wondered about this and imagined that I might not have a personal enemy, but perhaps a loved one or close friend needs defending or protection. I might not be in jeopardy, but I have someone close who is.
Bringing this home to writing, I consider protagonists often have either a friend whom they are defending or a foe against whom they personally struggle. There’s an enemy in either case. Something evil, insidious and threatening which must be confronted and defeated—even if the enemies are but one’s own demons.
Find an enemy and do everything in your power to destroy them while they do the same to you or yours. The better the villain the better the story. Of course it’s not that simple. Sometimes a character’s friend and foe switch roles. Still, the roles exist and must be fittingly characterized.
Creating compelling enemies would appear as incentive in life as well as writing. Who are your personal opponents and are you and they worthy?
From the article: “If we imagine a force working against us, we’re more likely to get fired up, resist our temptations, and work harder to achieve our goals.”