Tim Gunn's onto something, you know?
If you don't watch Project Runway, what's wrong with you? Oops, I meant to say: if you don't watch Project Runway, Tim Gunn is the aspiring fashion designers' mentor. He delivers them their challenges, tells them the constraints they'll be working within ("You have $10 and 1.25 hours for this challenge of designing an avant garde showpiece."), and comes in during their work time to talk things through with them, giving his honest take on what is working and what isn't working. And, inevitably, at some point during every episode he'll say, "Make it work."
It's a simply phrase, a simple concept, but a difficult thing to put into action. Still, whenever I get frustrated with whatever project where I've bitten off more than I think I can chew, or when I write myself into a corner that I can't see the way out of, or when I am too easily distracted by things in my current writing venue to concentrate--any time any of those things happen, I hear Tim's voice in my head saying, "Make it work."
I used to just let those frustrations get the best of me. I'd set the writing project aside and say I couldn't fix it. I'd go for weeks or months without writing, because I was "stuck." I'd tell myself that my idea was too big, too bold, something that another writer was capable of but not me.
That's not really the best way of handling these things, though. Or so I've found.
You see, just because the idea is something unfamiliar and not one I've tackled before, that doesn't mean I can't do it, and do it well, and make it work within the niche I've carved for myself even if, on the surface, it doesn't seem like a good fit. It just means I've got to get creative and make it work.
Just because I've written myself into a corner doesn't mean I can't figure out a better solution, if I sit down (maybe with a trusted CP or two) and talk it through. And it doesn't even mean that I have to immediately toss 20+ pages of hard work. It just means that I've got to buckle down, put my nose to the grindstone as my Grandpa always used to tell me, and make it work.
Just because there are distractions where I'm currently working doesn't mean I can't change locations and find somewhere new to work. Too many things going on at home? Try Starbucks. Too expensive/loud/crowded/etc. at Starbucks? Try the local library. Too quiet/stuffy/stale at the library? Try the park/mall/a friend's house while they're at work if they'll give you a key. The key is to recognize what the problem is before it becomes too much of a problem, and then make it work.
Why am I writing about this right now? I've been in a funk, and trying to convince myself that the problem is one of those things listed above, or one of countless other excuses for not getting my writing done. In reality, though, I've just got to make it work.
Thank you, Tim Gunn.