It is finished.

17 Jan

When I “finished” my first manuscript (please note that I am using that term in the loosest sense imaginable—even after three years I’m still tweaking the thing) there was a period that lasted for about a month when my mind simply refused to bear any creative fruit.  It was as though my imagination had gone on strike, furious over the long hours of overtime, grisly working conditions and fictional compensation.  For that thirty-day period I could not come up with even a page of new material.

Until that point, I had never met the infamous writer’s block.  Ideas had either flowed easily—and I wrote for countless hours, or they didn’t come at all—and I attempted to infuse some social aspects into my painfully boring life.  So this drought came as quite a shock to my system.

Questions replaced the tale that had previously taken up residence in my brain.  What if that story, one that had come so effortlessly, was my only artistic contribution to the literary world?  What if no other intriguing characters introduced themselves to me?  What if that single unpublished manuscript never made it beyond the hidden confines of my external hard drive?

I cannot recall what possessed me to start on my second novel.  All I know is that the floodgates opened once again and I was writing until that second story had a “happily ever after.” 

The break between my second and third manuscripts was much shorter.  When I first started my journey I had believed that I had been mining for ideas from a limited natural resource; someday they were simply going to run out.  However, in that moment it seemed as though the practice of writing had served as a catalyst, allowing the words to come easier.  That was then…

These days I am ashamed to admit that I am in the midst of experiencing the longest dry-spell of my relatively short and technically nonexistent “career.”  I haven’t written anything new (that is worth finishing) in nearly a year. 

There are a few logical explanations for why I haven’t created any fresh material.  In the past I’ve found that I write best during the day—a habit that doesn’t jive with a 9-5.  Thankfully, this blog has motivated me to get back to what I love most: writing.

At this point I am actually afraid that a story will take hold of me and keep me hostage from my strict training regimen (I’m shooting for a ½ marathon in April), my budding social life, or the very job that allows me to put a pen in my hand and paper on the desk. 

Here’s hoping I find the perfect balance between writing, running, working and going out in public.

Besides “writing through it,” how do you overcome the doldrums between projects?

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6 Responses to “It is finished.”

  1. kellycautillo January 17, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    Would it not be worth taking a pad with you to work and writing a little on your break? I find taking my laptop in and accessing write or die (you can get a desktop edition) works wonders!

    Writing a little is better than writing nothing at all…

    • movingforeword January 17, 2012 at 9:20 am #

      Kelly,
      You’re right! Writing a little is much better than writing nothing at all. That’s why I’m thankful for this blog easing me back into my favorite pastime. Lately I have been jotting down errant thoughts in my notebook in order to keep from losing ideas that come to me while I’m in my cubicle. Thank you for your input!

  2. D R Sanford January 17, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    Jenny,
    I finished book one in August, spent the next month editing, proofing and publishing. Since then I gave myself time off, and when ideas for book two struck me I worked on an outline. That’s done now. I have a bluetooth keyboard coming this week. That’s my last excuse. The night I unpack that I’ll be brewing coffee and filling in the spaces between the outline points.
    My completely unprofessional advice? Daydream, write notes and let the story fill your head. Pretty soon it will spill out. Good luck.

    • movingforeword January 17, 2012 at 11:04 am #

      Thanks, D R! I’m intrigued by this bluetooth keyboard contraption… I recently bought a notebook computer so that piece of hardware may be a great purchase (that way my fingers can actually hit the correct keys).

  3. EllieAnn January 17, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    I also have that “creativity strike” after I finish a book. I usually combat it with a TV marathon. And then I’ll start outlining my next project.
    I guess you just have to wait for the next story that gets you so excited you can’t HELP but write it.

    • movingforeword January 17, 2012 at 11:00 am #

      Exactly, EllieAnn! I could write about anything, but I have to wait for that spark to ignite the story so that writing doesn’t become akin to pulling teeth. Hmm… perhaps a TV marathon is in order!

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