McKinely Park is written, and I am at the end of my last edit for The Lake Michigan Affair. I am in the weird part of writing where I am not actively working on a new project. I have hit this awkward space before, the space between projects when you aren’t writing. I am also on the home-stretch of my Master’s degree in PR. Ths particular sememster is covering descriptive statistics, and it is making me crazy. I knew that I would need all of my attention focused on this semester, and I was so right! I am getting buried this semester.
I chose to be in this strange space, not writing, but let me tell you, it is uncomfortable. I just knew I wouldn’t have the bandwidth to work my full-time job and start a new project. I feel the urge to write down in my bones. I want to be dug into a project, getting to know my characters and working through the plot. Early next month I will undergo substantial surgery. I have been told to expect a long recovery. Knowing this, I am also hesitant to start a project knowing that not feeling well enough to write will not be good for my recovery and mental health. These aren’t excuses, I am just trying to be realistic about my time and abilities.
So what is a girl to do? Writers have to write. In the meantime, I am trying to fill this void by reading romance. It is the genre that I write in so I try to read a lot of it. While I am enjoying th book I am currently reading, Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown, it is not writing. It is the strangest thing to describe, but it feels physically uncomfortable to not be working on a new project. I feel like something is missing from my life right now, and I don’t like the feeling.
I consider myself very lucky that as far as inspiration goes, I have never had to struggle to find the next thing to work on. I have a few ideas written down and I have been trying to mull them over and really develop them right now as a consolation prize. I am used to getting to know my characters by forcing them through the plot. They are born out of strife, and like a diamond produced under pressure, I’d like to think my characters are born the same way, although not as perfect as a diamond for sure. I live for this struggle, getting to know who my characters are. I love writing a chapter and then staying awake all night in a half-sleep knowing I am going to have to rewrite because I have forced my will as the author, not listened to the character.
Not writing has been weighing heavy on my mind. I keep wondering to myself about atrophy. If writing is described as a muscle, then what happens when you aren’t writing? I know I have improved considerably from the first novel I wrote. As my writing has matured, so has the process in which I write. Right now as I type this, I know I am at least a month out from being able to start my next project, and that fills me with despair. I want to write! I need to write!
In the meantime, I will continue to read, and really throw myself into my grad school course. Coming to this realization I will try to read instead, I put a call out to the Writing Community on Twitter for recommendations good romance reads. I was thrilled to see that my feed was filled with all sorts of romance novels. I am looking forward to digging into them while I recoup, but no matter how amazing these works are, it is not writing.
What do you do when you are a writer who can’t write? This is so frustrating. Fellow readers have you ever went through something like this? What did you do to get through it?
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