I’m sure I’m not the only person this happens to: Stuff starts happening in life, and the creative waters just dry up. There’s so much on your mind, it’s impossible to make up new problems for your characters to solve–you’re too busy trying to solve your own. That’s where I’m at right now. Planning a wedding, trying to get a kid into college, stressing over a partially written novel with a workshop deadline, various financial concerns, day job nonsense–it’s like each of them is a stone tossed in the well, until all of the water has been displaced, and my mind is just a dark hole full of rocks.
It’s terrible timing. I have a little free time on my hands right now, with John traveling, and I’ve sat at the keys two nights in a row unable to find anything to say. This was supposed to be my super-productive time.
The problem is that when I’m not writing, there hardly seems to be a reason to get up in the morning. Seriously. I’ll think melodramatic things like “What’s the point? I can’t write.” I did exactly that this morning. I lay there and thought about my novel and short stories in progress and just couldn’t find it in me to care about my characters’ troubles and goals, and decide what happens next.
So I decided to fix an old, broken story instead. It was the second story I trunked. Reading it now is pretty painful–there is some really terrible writing in there! But the heart of the story is good, and I think it can be saved. I’ve been at it for a couple of hours now. This is something I can probably have out the door by the end of the week, and I think that will go a long way toward helping me feel less useless.
I don’t know whether it’ll do anything to free up my mind for new material. That might only happen when these other life things get resolved.
What do you do when the well runs dry?