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A Structure for Dreams, Part Two

April 6, 2012

Fighting with personal imps is rough business.  I call them imps because I ascribe to the old Hellenistic version of demons or daimons.  In that regard, daimons are teachers and helpful spirits.  Imps on the other hand.  Well, they’re just a pain in the ass.

First of all, they’re so damn sneaky.  It’s easy when they come at you head on like a rampaging zombie.  They’re easy to spot.  It’s when they come to you clothed in a skin that looks promising, alluring or, Universe forbid,  play to your ego and make you feel important or helpful .  That’s when they  REALLY get you!

What they really hate is when you make a schedule.  What they hate even MORE  is when you actually stick to it.  It’s their bane.  It makes them hiss and spit and pull at their barbed tail.  From that point forward it’s their job to distract you, attack you and entice with you anything and everything in their disposal so you trip up, get off schedule and get distracted.  I suppose I can’t really get too mad at them.  It’s their job.  It’s what they were made to do.  It’s sort of like getting mad at deer or a gopher for devastating your garden.  It’s sort of what they are built for, you know?

I posted Part One of this series a little less than a month ago.  In that time, I crunched out all the goals I set out for myself.  Things were smooth and rolling right along.  During this time the imps were, like Elmer Fudd, vewry vewry quiet.  They were plotting and planning, looking for chinks in my schedule.

They came in the form of Spring Break, of spending time with family.  They came in the form of distractions and helping other people out of jams.  Now, don’t get me wrong,  there are things FAR more important than writing.  However, in these cases, it wasn’t so much the acts themselves which were wrong it’s how I handled myself once they were over!  Instead of hard knocks and shoves, the imps used a gentle pull technique, like a gentle shoreline tide which drifts you slowly and pleasantly away from shore.

This is what I meant by the battles ahead when I closed out Part One.  Even as I wrote that post I knew the easiest part was going to be the first week of writing.  The real fight was yet to come.  I knew the imps (or as Steven Pressfield calls it Resistance) would be circling the fire, waiting for the right time.   I knew they were there and I still wasn’t ready for them.

There seems to be this misconception in the public that writing is an easy job.  In one way, it’s correct.  You stay at home in your pajamas, eat ice cream and sit all day telling stories to yourself.  Well, two out of the three isn’t bad.  I don’t eat a lot of ice cream.  Where this misconception is dead wrong is where it encounters what I am discussing here, the internal fighting that goes on with not just writers but most creative types.  It’s a daily struggle.  It’s the self-control that makes you sit down, day after day, for hours on end and crank it out.

If you decide to not take your opponent, your imps, seriously for one day, one week, then you will get bum-rushed like nobody’s business.  You end up like me, sitting in a daze and wondering where the last two weeks went.  In the worst case you might even decide this creative writing stuff just isn’t for you.  If you do decide such a thing make sure you pause and listen.  In the distance you will hear an impish cackle of utter, infernal joy.

These last few weeks have been hard.  I’m still claiming victory over this little time period though.  I’m claiming it because I spotted them at their little game and called them on it.  I’m still here and plan to be a bit longer.  I say it’s a victory because I learned something.

Who knows, I did learn something so therefore they taught me something.  Perhaps imps are just more annoying forms of a daimon?  I can go along with that.  It’s all in how you look at it.

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