Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Feast or Famine?

There are some days when the muse is cooperative, and days when I question my creative ability. The days where the ideas flow faster than I can type, or words pour from my fingertips are wonderful; I feel productive and confident in seeing a story come to life.

And then there are days where writing a single word is agony. My characters don't want to talk to me; they resist even the smallest amount of pleading to let me in. I read over the last chapter; I try to imagine what the motivation for the behavior would be, but the mind is blank.

I usually don't panic when this happens; after all, my first book took me four years to write. My second took only a few months, and soon I was cranking out pages in five weeks, or even as short as a weekend. (My family hates it when I write non-stop, by the way...I get accused of being neglectful!)

There's a Stephen King book called Bag of Bones, in which the main character is an author, and talks about how he got through his creative block. Instead of writing two books in a year, he wrote six, and therefore had a 'bank' for his editing/releases. I remember thinking I had done the same thing; by the time I had my first book published, I also had five more ready to go. And at the current rate of a book or two per year, I would be ahead of the 'deadline' and never be stuck in creative La-La Land.

Fast-forward to 2007. Book #2 was being released; I'd written a book during the month of September and another one during November, for NaNo. I was so creatively exhausted, though, I took the month of December off to simply relax.

In January 2008, I had a few conversations swirling in my brain, and when I felt the characters had 'gelled' enough, I went to the computer and began writing the story. Somewhere around March or April I finished it, but then decided it was too wordy and made some minor changes. The week of July 4th, I had a similar storyline grab me, and I managed to finish it several days later.

And since then, I've had about four or five other stories grab my attention. But they are doing something strange; they let me write the first chapter and then they leave. Why can't I write down chapter 2? Come back already, and tell me more!

Or maybe I'm reverting to the way I used to write? I had three unfinished manuscripts; just a bundle of scenes for each book. But one day the pieces fell into place and from there it was pretty effortless to get them written.

Maybe they're just waiting for the 'right time'? So far this year, I've completed only one manuscript. I'd really like to finish at least two more before Christmas.

Feast or Famine. I prefer feast, but sometimes the down times are nice too.

I just hope it doesn't last too long:)

1 comment:

Anny Cook said...

Yep, that's usually the way it is.