“Write about what you know and care deeply about. When one puts one’s self on paper- that is what is called good writing.” -Joel Chandler Harris
It happens to the best of us.
Things are going so well. You can't type fast enough for the words tumbling from your brain. You barely remember to eat, bathe, or use the bathroom- after all, there are more important things to worry about right now. Who knows, if things keep on like this, you could be finished- finished!- in a matter of days!
And then your muse packs her bags. The flow dries up. The word count stagnates. You try to push through it anyway, but deep in your gut is the horrifying thought: what if this is it? What if I never get it back?
Creativity is a lot like a water table: deep, rich, capable of sustaining us through many a long, dry summer. But at some point, if the winter rains don't come, it will run low. You recognize it when it happens. That yearning for something you can't quite name, that hollow tug at your chest.
There are plenty of things you can do to replenish the well. Take a walk. Go for a long drive through the back country. Treat yourself to a fabulous meal. Take in some street music.
But occasionally the problem runs deeper than all that. Sometimes it's not a crisis of creativity, it's a crisis of purpose. In which case you have to ask yourself: are your dreams big enough for you?
We need to travel scared sometimes. A pinch in the soft places is good for creativity. If you're just humming along through the doldrums, then rest assured, your writing will start to read that way. First it will sound flat, then uninspired, then eventually, it may stop all together.
If, on the other hand, your goals scare the bejeezus out of you, everything you touch gets charged with that electricity. Including your writing. Your words hurtle off the page, your passion, your enthusiasm, captured in every one.
So what do you want? What do you want even more than that? It doesn't matter if it sounds ridiculous or impossible.
In fact, if it doesn't, you're probably not reaching high enough.
Miss A Day Or Two?
Day 1: Lessons From The Cave
Day 2: Set Your Compass
Day 3: Don't Schedule, Manage
Day 4: You Gotta Hustle
Excerpt from All That Glitters:
“You’re not really going to climb up there, are you? That’s thirty feet!”
“Thirty-five. And unfortunately, I don’t have much choice.” He hesitated, then laid a hand over hers. “Just wait. It’ll be done and over with before you know it.”
Ava squeezed it. “Just… be careful.” She could tell by the look in his eyes that he wanted to say something, but with the rest of his crew there, he kept his mouth shut.
Roo handed him the replacement cord. His dark eyes were troubled. “Safety harness wasn’t where it usually is,boss. Fact, I couldn’t find it anywhere.”
Ethan’s jaw tightened. “I’ll just have to do without.” He looped the end of the spare cord over his shoulder, and started up the gantry. The climb was hand-over-hand, the narrow ladder wet with ocean spray.
He made it to the top, straddled the cross-beam, and scooted out to the damaged cord. Carefully, he threaded the spare through the pulley. He blew out a breath. “Okay, I’m coming back down!”
Just then, a ferocious gust of wind blew past him. His hand slipped on the slick surface of the gantry. He felt himself slide sideways.
Ava’s hands flew to her mouth to stifle a scream. Raw terror pounded through her veins. If he fell…
She pushed the thought from her mind. He wouldn’t fall. He couldn’t fall.