Monday, March 26, 2012

Walk A Thousand Miles To Fall Down At Your Door

When Titanic first premiered, I saw it in the theaters a total of seven times. Granted, I was thirteen or so at the time and, being a natural romantic, the story touched me...and for those of you not alive or in a coma in the 90s, you know I wasn't the only one. The whole, "The Ship Sank, Get Over It" craze was inspired by people like me. It doesn't help that I have an obsessive personality; I exhausted myself on the movie, the Celine Dion song, and even a few really, really bad cheesy romance novels set on the Titanic to cure me of Titanic fever.

After my Titanic obsession ended, I swore it off. The thought of watching the movie again made me sick, just because I was so freakin' burnt out on it. And if someone played "My Heart Will Go On" one more time, the radio was going through the window.

There's an episode of How I Met Your Mother where the single of "I Would Walk 500 Miles" is jammed into a car's cassette player, where it loops and loops and loops for years. While on a road trip, character Ted tells Marshall, the car's owner, that the song is making him physically ill. Marshall assures Ted, "it comes back around." Sure enough, in the next scene, Ted and Marshall are cheerily singing along with the Proclaimers.

Writing is much the same. During intense writing marathons such as NaNo or a race to meet deadlines, writing becomes as much a part of the day as eating or going to work. Take a break, though -- whether or not it's planned -- and it can be incredibly hard finding motivation to resume the habit. One minute, you're happily singing along, and the next you can't stand the song. How can you fall in love with something you can't fathom listening to/watching/working on again? How do you find the love for Titanic after you overcome your need to violently punch the next self-righteous asshole who proclaims himself, "King of the World"?

The trick? Well, there is none. You can force it if you like, but the best advice I can offer is the knowledge eventually it'll loop around again. Singing along with feigned enthusiasm rarely convinces anyone, least of all yourself. Sooner or later, though, you'll remember why you loved writing in the first place.


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