Saturday, June 16, 2007

Be Careful What You Pray For, Final Chapter...

or, That Sinking Feeling It’s been an interesting week. For awhile now, I’ve been in a writing funk, as you all know. Some people would pooh-pooh the idea of a funk if they’ve been able to write blog entries, and there’s something to be said for that. I can write blog stuff, I can write e-mails…I’m not totally blank. But for awhile I’ve been wondering if my day gig has completely wiped out my creative abilities. If I spend so much time fixing other people’s stuff and making sure it’s good to go that when I’m finally at the keyboard to do my own thing…there’s no “thing” left to do. The energy, the spark, and the creative juices are dry, because I’ve poured them out on someone else. It’s always been a thought worth considering. In fact, before I took this gig, I did some hard thinking about it, part of which was debunking and/or getting past the notion of “Those who can’t, edit,” and seeing the move as “selling out” because I couldn’t “make it as a writer.” The reasons for all that being untrue are myriad, and I won’t go into them now. But I sit now in a different chair, with a different perspective from behind the desk…for altogether different reasons. I've run into a couple of incidents at work this week that have left me feeling unsettled, and I'm considering carefully, and yet again, what I decided to do with my life way back when I was ten. That, after all, is when I first read a book about the publishing business and decided I wanted to “do that” when I grew up. “That” being, specifically, being a book editor. Which I am now. But which I’m now wondering about as a choice—if for no other reason than to figure out a better way to apportion my energies so something is left for me. (!) 'Tis a dilemma, to be sure. And I don't doubt that it's contributed at least a little bit to aforementioned writing funk. The only question now is, what's to be done about it. Thoughts? Janny


Deb said...

Maybe you're *supposed* to write short stuff 'til your Long Fiction Muse reawakens. Why not try your hand at another short story & see if that works?

I submit if you can write short stories, you can write longer fiction, once you come up with a project worthy of your talent. Short is harder than long.


Donna Alice said...

I agree with Deb--short is harder.
Could you do some smaller pieces like articles or short fiction? If you gave yourself half and hour after the day gig to write a first draft--cruddy though it may be--and then worked at editing it you might break the slump.

What I do is work on so many projects that there is always something I can go back to when I get bored. I am currently writing two long book, one mid grade, one chapter, semi working on a long grown up book, and I manage to do several short articles and stories every two weeks.

Of course, most of my days are spent with kids so I'm not out in the business world. That's an energy sapper for sure.

Could you think in scenes and chapter length and just give yourself permission to work on those?

Every time I have a slump, I begin a new project. I am an odd person.

Deb said...

Good advice, Donna A.

Maybe I'm not too old to learn something. I sat down with my WIP last night and gave myself permission to write just one paragraph--where the heroine meets the Bad Guy for the first time. One thing did lead to another, and before I knew it, I had 5 fresh pages. *G*

Sometimes we expect too much. Thank God He doesn't hold us to unrealistic standards.

The Koala Bear Writer said...

Hmmm... I know the problem. I spend all day staring at words on a page or on my computer, and the last thing I feel like doing is going home to do the same thing. Particularly when I volunteer as an editor as well, and have my deadline approaching (in a week and a half)... and then have to work all day editing, and go home to more editing. Doesn't leave much time for writing.

I tend to try writing in between editing. If I'm not concentrating on what I'm editing, I'll give myself fifteen minutes or half an hour to scratch out something creative quickly (and get it off my brain), then go back to my editing. And sometimes, like Deb and Donna Alice say, it's just a matter of sitting down to write, which I did the other day. A story had been floating around my head, so I read the few pages I'd already written and added another page and a half. Maybe it's not brilliant, but it was something. :)