From Susan Mermaid.
Okay, friends. It’s time for true confessions. I’ve tossed and turned and I’m out of excuses but here it is:
I have not written a page since NaNo ended.
November and NaNoWriMo were crazy. It was thrilling and scary and fun, all at the same time. I threw myself at that project with everything I had. Wrote at a pace I didn’t remember ever achieving. And I produced! For me, an astonishing 18,000 words in a month. And it was killing me.
By late November, I could feel the effect – no, not the boy, howdy I’m writing at a pace I never have before! More the oh crap, I can’t live like this, what was I thinking? And the inner voice that said keep it up kid, and you’ll have a complete manuscript in no time! had changed its tune to slow down, or your doctors are going to shaking their heads. Your body is not meant for this. I mean it. MS is the cruel cousin who drops in for a visit, smashes all the prettiest dishes you own and leaves you to clean up the mess with no broom.
So, when December rolled around, I was more than ready for a break. A week, I told myself. That became two. And then the holidays. And New Year’s eve. And then school started again and we were back to the races with work!
Now it’s February, I’ve forgotten most of what I’d intended to write, my story seems sad and my characters are dead to me. The well is dry. Try as I might, it refuses to be pumped. Every day (just like my promise to get on the treadmill more often) I find another excuse.
So here’s my confession: I’m a turtle writer. I don’t have stories pouring out of my fingertips and I’ve got a lot more on my mind than writing on most days.
So before I let those voices of you faker, you aren’t a writer, you’re just a wannabe win, I’ll ask you:
How do you slay the fear of doom and nurture the well of creativity?
13 thoughts on “True Confession: The Well is Dry. Help!”
Oh, Susan! I feel you. I wrote so much in November and December that I’m not sure any more will ever come. I wrote more than 70,000 words, and I think I hit my max! LOL.
I told myself the exact same thing. I’ll start again in two weeks. No. Make that one solid month to let the characters and the plot stew in the creative juices. But, now I realize the fire has gone out and it’s all cold.
Maybe what we should do is promise to write just 250 words every day. (Even if it’s just layering some details into a scene.) Then when we do that, we can stretch it to 300, then 350. I think my problem is setting big goals. Like trying to lose 10 pounds in a week…. Now I’m just trying to lose one pound in a week. 🙂
Hey! I just figured out what I am in life. I’m an underachiever! And you know what? I’m okay with that.
Seriously, Susan. Let’s try for 250 words today. I’m checking in with you later.
P.S. This blog post doesn’t count towards that word count. 🙂
I think we all hit those points in our careers where we crave inspiration to get us writing again. Fortunately, there are all sorts of cures for the writers’ blues. Summerset Maugham wrote, “I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.” Some of the best advice I’ve heard for wrangling your Muse came from Vicki Lewis Thompson’s workshop last month. She suggests starting off the day by filling your workspace with stones/crystals known to increase the creative flow, reciting a prayer, following a routine–she gives an excellent workshop on this! She also recommends The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Easy to read and full of great advice on overcoming the hard times.
Best wishes that you’ll have those back on the keyboard soon!
Dearest Susan Mermaid,
You are far too entertaining not to put that part of yourself into stories, characters, twists, turns, delicous plots. It sounds like all that NaNo stuff just messed with your muse. It’s not for everyone. Definitely not for me. I’ve tried it twice now and it has thrown me off my natural writing rhythm both times. Viva las Turtle Writers!
Lovely Carlene, I think this one flirt with NaNo is enough for what turns out to be a brittle writer. Thank you!
You are not alone. I have many excuses not to write and use them frequently. I don’t write every day. The spirit must move me and she’s on hiatus. I would never survive the NaNo. I pick my pace and accept it.
Thank you, Mary Jo. Maybe it’s helpful to simply say NaNo wasn’t for me and move on.
Susan, I love the book, The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. It’s all about unblocking your creativity and refilling the spiritual well. I’d also suggest taking some classes or reading books on writing craft, if you don’t feeling like writing at the moment. I also like Kim’s suggestion of aiming to write 250 words a day. The hardest thing is to start again once you’ve stopped (and this is true with everything, writing, exercise, etc.), and the longer it’s been, the harder it is to start. So, start with baby steps and be gentle with yourself. And listen to your body! Your health is the most important thing. Best of luck, Susan, and you have all of my very best mermaid wishes!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Mermaid sister. I will remember baby steps and try to walk in sync with Kim. 250 words. And I will look at the Cameron book, thank you!
Susan-Mermaid, I wish I had an answer for you but I don’t. So I say, take a well-deserved break and when those characters start talking to you again, get back to it. You can do it! Smoochies!
Thank you Kerri, I have my work folder with me, and will make sure I read it through to see if I can inspire them to begin the conversation again. Wouldn’t it be fun if they got into a heavy, steamy, passionate argument?
Leigh, I have that book! I’ll bring it out and take another look, maybe I’ll find the prod I need. Yay! Thank you for your help!
Okay, Kim, I’ll try – my last effort was 33 words last week. I don’t know if 250 words will happen, but I will try. Thank you!
I just finished having a conversation with someone else about this today. You just wrote this blog. Maybe that will help. In the meantime, don’t worry and that will probably help, too. If you are seriously worried about it, start writing one hour a day in the morning before you go to work and see if that doesn’t get you where you want to go. Good luck.
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