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.