Quite some time ago, I’d posted about my desire to quit writing. Recently, one of my fellow SheWrites writers, Emily Lackey, posted similar thoughts. Even though she honed in on ceasing the submission process, she also touched her concerns about writing in general. With her confession and the comments of fellow writers, I realized once again that I wasn’t alone.
Even more recently, like within the past three weeks, I hit that same wall – once again – and based upon my WriteWayPro writing program calendar and my own journal, I was in a severe drought and didn’t seem to care. Nothing had been written in days. Nothing, other than some bland emails for work. The view from that busted wall changed last night when I opened up my writing program once again to reread the first four chapters of this story that has been in my head for close to a decade.
Not only did I reread those pages, I filled them in with more images, details, and dialogue. I paid closer attention to the story. I listened and watched everybody in it with sharper focus and higher interest. I cared about what was unfolding and it was absolutely invigorating. Tonight I’ll read the additional four to five chapters that lay before me and I’m looking forward to it.
Knowing the direction the story will take, I found myself really wanting to see it reach that point. A few weeks ago, since I hadn’t yet reached that climax, and even though I know what it is, I’d gotten tired of trying to get there.
Now see, in addition to all of the writing I did for that story and soothing the characters of other stories that are scratching the door to be told, I’d been attempting to play public relations with the other books I’ve got out there. The inside of my head was all over the place! I had characters already out there demanding deserved attention for readers, characters in constant communication with me for the current story, as well as those threatening to squeeze my eyes through my head with their non-stop pounding to remind me that they’re there too. I could no longer take it… I got tired of it all and stopped everything. The writing and the marketing, all of it.
Until last night, I hadn’t opened my program nor my journal since the second week of June! For me, that’s a long time to explore nothing. (My books thankfully continued to move, albeit a bit more slowly.)
I’d really shut them all up. At least I thought so. But, truth be told: I didn’t. A writer really doesn’t have that control – we must let the people come forth as they demand or they become the voices that never stop telling us what’s going on anyway or they become the demons that drive us away from sleep (and maybe sometimes towards drink).
But what about writer’s block, you say? Oh, I’ve tackled that and it’s a different topic for another day…
Even though I set the characters down, they were always there. When I picked up somebody else’s good book I’d been longing to read – they popped up to let me know I had my own to write. As I watched a movie I’d been dying to see, they filled my head with memories that were somehow connected to the setting on the screen. Hell, even various historical events of my hometown becoming a facet of the daily news failed to shush some of my characters since my upcoming thesis is historical fiction and I had to hear the voices of that long-silenced main character break through for the first time in ages. As usual, as I washed the dishes, their voices were screeching. (That’s for me when they’re always the loudest.) But I still strived to ignore them. I didn’t want to deal with one set for the sake of dealing with them all! I couldn’t.
Yet, last night, as I poured through those pages of that draft, I realized how much I wanted to after all. And also, how much I had to.
As Emily also noted: a poet friend of hers had once mentioned how a field has to lie fallow and that statement soothed Emily’s agony of dealing with not writing. I noticed how it rang true for me too. After all of the tilling and sowing, a field needs time to regroup to comprehend what it needs to do and so does writing and the process. Just as the poet’s words point reached my fellow sister-writer, it’s what drove me to my words here. Thanks, Emily!
My waning thoughts on stopping and resuming really haven’t changed. Here’s that earlier post.
Writers: Have you considered more than once to throw in the towel? What brings you back? Do share!
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