A River of Words

One thing I often wish for writers in my tweets and comments is that they will be blessed with a river of words. That’s how it feels to me when the mental dam breaks and sets the story free.

Unfortunately, I seem to be an expert dam builder, though I can’t say I know how I do that. I can never see a specific pattern leading up to these obstructions. Once I build that dam, I’m just as much in the dark on how to tear it down.

I want to write. I need to write. I cannot write.

That frustration only reinforces the dam, which leads to more frustration, which reinforces—well, you get the picture. I lay blame on this and that and the other. I distract myself. I pretend patience. I use force, trickling out a few words at a time. Eventually, I decide I have no talent and should give up.

For a while now, I’ve pretended—if I positively affirm that I’m a writer, that work on my WIP is going just swell, thank you, it will be so. Ahem. I only know that about ten days ago, I faced up to a dam of terrifying proportions. I felt like a total fraud. I was convinced I was a one-book writer. The voice in my head was screaming, “Shut up. Shut up! JUST. SHUT. UP.”

So I did. I shut up. I gave up. And that seemed entirely logical. Gloriously freeing. Long overdue. I decided to give away one more copy of Brevity, and then quietly slink away.

I planned another blog, where I could post my thoughts under a fictitious name. I would write about anything EXCEPT writing. It would be like a virtual witness relocation plan. Maybe a few people would find that blog and I could start a new online life. Eventually, if I were lucky, I would look back at my experience as a novelist with amusement.

Only, that’s not what happened.

What I thought were just my usual allergy problems turned out to be a virus, and this one settled in my chest, which for me, means a deep, wrenching cough. Naturally, this frequently interrupted my sleep. I spent a few nights in a sort of half-dream state, in which, every time I woke a bit more with a coughing spell, I “heard” people talking to me.

Sometime during the third night, I realized the talkers were the characters in the WIP I had so recently shelved. The next day, I realized they were still talking and I sat down at the keyboard. See that photo at the top of this post? Yeah, that’s what it feels like. I have so many words rushing at me now that I have to force them to stop, so I can take a break, eat a meal, go to sleep.

I’m in writer heaven. My river of words is a roaring, rushing, riotous joy I seriously doubted I would ever experience again.

For every writer reading this, I wish you a river of your own.

Photo credit:http://www.dreamstime.com/rushing-river-imagefree193893

18 thoughts on “A River of Words

  1. That’s funny. Kind of. I mean not that you got sick and getting up in the middle of the night unblocked you, but that you gave up, and unblocked yourself. I do that all the time. I learned when I’m blocked, really blocked, to just give up, walk away. Do all the stuff that needs doing in my real life –which is the dam — and then once that’s done, I’m free. And my writing usually comes back like a river. Good for you.

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    1. I envy your ability to discern what the dam is and how to remove it, Anne. 🙂 Sometimes I can do that, but just as often I’m clueless. I’d given up earlier this month and it made no difference—no, not true—I thought I was blocked because I’d been trying to force a certain person and tense, so I corrected that, but it only worked for a few days. Whatever that dam really was, I’m happy it’s gone. I pretty much wasted all of April.

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  2. Glad you’re in writing heaven again. Sometimes we just need time to let things percolate for a while. Here’s to giant chickens or whatever voices we hear in the middle of the night!

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