Seems like every time I get to working on the last little bit of a novel I’m writing, I come up with about a bajillion ideas for new novels. Novels that are ever so much more interesting and saleable than the novel I’m currently slaving over. I’ve heard from other writers that the last few chapters of their novels practically write themselves, that they’ve built up so much momentum that it’s an easy slide to the bottom of the novel-writing hill. For me, it’s quite the opposite.
And today, man, I am on fire. On fire, that is, with at least three great ideas for books I could be writing instead of the beast that I’m trying to finish. For that project, I have no enthusiasm left. It’s as though, since it’s the ending has all been hammered out in my head, it’s already done and thus the chore of putting words on paper has become drudgery. And being an Aries, new is always better. New. Fresh. Exciting. I should be a laundry detergent commercial.
All this leads me to a theory that isn’t really new, but is something I need to remember when I’m down in the writing dumps. The very act of writing itself generates creative energy. Even if I think I’m writing absolute crap, and I’m bored to tears, and I know in my very gut that I’m nothing but a hack, just the act of stringing words together, of putting energy into my fictional worlds, somehow generates enough creative juice to make my Muse sit up from Her langor on that Roman reclining couch She made me buy for my office, put aside the grapes (that She refuses to share with me), and wander over to see what I’m doing again. And bringing with her a whole slew of new and fun ideas. And while I know I have to stay focused on the work at hand (or I’d never finish anything!), I need to remember that the best way to get Her attention, to call Her back from Her self-imposed exile, is to sit my butt in my desk chair and force myself to put words on paper — no matter how much more appealing scrubbing the hard water build up off the toilets might seem at the moment. Writing begets writing. It’s just like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets.
So next time I fall into a fallow period, because the writing is just so damn hard, somebody out there smack me upside the head with my old Underwood… or at the very least, re-post this blog, so that I remember the way back.
Meanwhile, back to the slog.
Samantha Warren said:
I absolutely love this post. First, the imagery of the muse is simply wonderful. Second, you are so right. I’m going to print this out and stick it on my wall so I can remind myself that in order to get over the hump, you need to keep writing. Thank you!
Nan Sampson said:
Glad to be of assistance!