Maybe it’s just me, but I’m starting to get a little freaked out. I’ve been told that I should be enjoying this time off, maxin’ and relaxin’, kicking back and living the high life. But something keeps nagging at me, chewing at my nerve endings like a hungry gerbil snacking on a carrot stick.
See, I haven’t written… really written since March 1st. That’s when I finished Seed. Sure, I’ve gone into the manuscript and done clean-up duty. I’ve tweaked scenes and cut over ten thousand words from the manuscript because they were unnecessary. But I haven’t written in the writer sense since then.
I thought this was going to be awesome. Man, you should have seen me. While I was working on the manuscript, two and sometimes three hours a day (after eight hours of work), seven days a week, basically under house arrest until the novel was done… all I kept thinking was how fantastic it would be to have a ‘break’. Well, break is here… and now all I do is think about writing.
And it isn’t thinking about writing in the ‘I can’t wait to get back to it’ sense. Oh no. These thoughts are much more sinister than that. There’s a tiny voice inside my head that’s asking me why I don’t have a solid idea for my next project yet, and when I don’t have an answer it giggles and tells me I’m spent.
That’s right. Spent. Done. Tapped out.
I’ve used all of my creativity on one project.
I know I’m not the only one that feels this way. Hell, I’m sure some of the most seasoned authors go through this exact same anxiety. You type the end and for a moment you’re victorious, for a brief second you couldn’t be more content; and then that question creeps in and screws everything up: what next?
Oh, little voice, how I wish I could murder you. Oh, how I’d wrap my fingers around your tiny throat…
So here I sit, calm on the outside, panicky on the inside, excited about getting Seed onto digital shelves, dreading what I’ll do when it’s out there… all grown-up and independent and not needing me anymore. I doubt it’ll ever call. I’ll only show up for holidays. They grow up so fast, which is why Seed must acquire brothers and sisters, and fast. But what if they’re ugly? What if they’re slow? What if I can’t stand them and have to abandon them in the desert? What if I get caught? Oh god, what if I get caught…
…yes, I’m still talking about writing. What are you talking about?
I’ve always liked the word ‘prolific’. Maybe this neurosis will help me achieve that title. Maybe the fact that I can’t sit still for long is a good thing. Or maybe it’ll just end up making me nuts, rocking back and forth in a rubber room, whispering how the stories won’t speak to me… they just won’t speak…
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6 thoughts on “Oh God, the Voices!”
Speaking of deserts: I’ve run dry for a couple months, right in the middle of a writing project. Maybe patience is an attribute of age, but I’ve found that that the stream is like one of those desert washes: sometimes it’s dry, other times it’s a raging torrent. At either extreme, you’ll find yourself wishing for the other extreme. 🙂
Thanks for the Twitter follow, BTW, I’ve followed back. (@FARfetched58)
I agree. The grass is always greener on the other side. But running dry in the middle of a project is never good. What happened? Did you just lose interest or were you side-swiped by something else?
A few possible ways to reignite the creative fires:
1. Work on micro/flash fiction: smaller canvas, less demand to ‘think big.’
2. Take a walk around a busy public place like a mall. Without staring at anybody, what do you see happening? A quick walk through the mall and then out to write about everything you just saw might reveal an interesting character or story idea.
3. Drive around with digital camera looking for interesting and unique places and objects. Bonus: these pictures could turn into cover art or inspiration for scenes in future stories.
4. The trees. We have lots of those around here and wooded areas with lots of trees have plenty of stories to tell. Just imagine all they’ve seen and heard!
5. Music. Crank it up.
Todd, I have the crippling inability to think small. That’s my problem right there.
I got stuck for a very long time. I finished a novel in September. I wrote a novel in October. I did NaNoWriMo and finished, not a novel, but the majority of one, and then, by December, I stopped.
I kept writing, but nothing like I had been doing before. Bits of stories, casual editing. Last week is the first week I’ve gotten back up to my old writing speed since, actually. I have dozens of ideas, novels that need to be written, stories that need to be cleaned up for hopeful publication, and I still don’t know what it was that’s been blocking me for so long, but I think I’m finally over it. I’m writing something far more ambitious than anything I’ve tried before, and I think this is the book that I need to write right now, to get me back on track, to expand my perceptions of my limitations. It feels good =)
Lee, I’m not a fan of NaNoWriMo. I feel like trying to cram 50k+ words into 30 days is an exercise in turning yourself into a nutcase. I’ve always yelled about how I think NaNoWriMo is a bad idea, especially for authors who don’t necessarily write quickly or have a firm plot idea. In my opinion, it’s a shortcut straight into Discouragementville.
You’ve given me an idea for another blog post. 🙂