So, as I may have mentioned in an earlier post, I’m kind of between projects. I’ve finished all my novel revisions for the moment. I’ve started the mental dreaming part of the next one or two, depending on how it all shapes out in my brain, but other than things like synopsis writing and this very post, I’m not doing much in the way of physical writing. And here’s a little, ugly truth we all keep silent about — writing is a drug.
Not just the act of creation, but the actual act of writing (or typing) words on a page. Whatever chemical reactions occur in our bodies during this process, we get addicted to it. The euphoria we feel after a good day’s writing leaves us glowing with blind joy. The relief from completing a difficult day’s writing pleases us in a different but equally splendid way. The downward spiral of failing to complete our writing can torture us like poking a wound over and over. And when we find ourselves in the place I am at the moment, that netherworld of “between projects,” where there are no words to write just yet, even if there are ideas, well, that’s the land where withdraw dwells.
At first, of course, after spending many months on the last project, it’s a relief to take a break. But my “break” has lasted too long. I’ve gone through such manic mood swings from not writing in the last week, I feel a bit crazy. My fingers literally itch to be clacking away at the keyboard. I surf the web, lying to myself that I’m actually doing research when I somehow end up playing mah-jongg or zuma. In a foolish attempt to appease myself with a quick fix, I’ll just start writing a story with no plan in mind, no ideas, no characters, just start putting words down and let it take me where it may roam. But like any form of quickie, this usually leaves me empty, unsatisfied, and wishing I’d never done it in the first place. Worse, because I’m writing this quickie like a pantser’s pantser, what I create is so far from usable that oftentimes I don’t even bother saving the darn thing. I’m back to where I started and have gained nothing.
I know what I need to do. I have the ideas. I just need to sit down and think. Think hard. I need to work out the details of each character, of the world, of the plot, of everything. I need to get the soul of the story in place so I can start real research and get to the physical act of writing sooner than later.
Like all drugs, when I finally get what I’m after, when I can move to the stage of painting my ideas onto the page with words, then all will be forgiven. I’ll be happy with being a writer again and not rue the day I thought to myself, I bet I can write a novel. I will love my word processor once more. I’ll forgive my Muse (whatever she looks like) for abandoning me, though I know she never did. All will be well and I’ll breath deeper and sleep sounder. And as the new WIP pushes on, I’ll go through the ups and downs of creation, but ultimately, I’ll get higher and higher until the climax of writing the final words of the story, knowing I’ve completed the task, and I’ll smile.
Just before I fall between projects once more.