I’ve read the stories of many authors, not their books, their personal stories. How they came to be a writer, how they finished their first books, how they got published. A theme has come out through all these stories.
My relationship fell apart and for a while I didn’t write
My dad got sick and I didn’t write anything for years
Our house burned down and I couldn’t bring myself to write
I struggled with illness and had no motivation to write
When a person is going through a personal crisis, often the advice given to help get through it is to write, keep a journal, start a blog, write a story, just write. But it seems with those who always feel the compulsion of the written word, a crisis can take away their greatest comfort. The well dries up and they have nothing to give the stories they love (and sometimes hate) so much.
Last year I started this blog with the intention of cleaning up a YA novel that I was going to self publish. I was knee deep in edits when my baby daughter got sick. By the time she spent three days in the hospital I had absolutely nothing to give the YA novel anymore.
I still like it. I still want it to go somewhere someday, but the crisis drained all the life right out of it. When I got some time and energy back for writing, I turned to editing a different work and preparing it for submission to agents.
Since then I’ve had ebbs and flows with my creativity and motivation. Winter didn’t help much with getting work done but come spring I had a fully edited manuscript and wrote another in a month. Then I started another, that I am so very excited about.
Two week ago? Another crisis.
I have the time but not the will. I like the premise and it is fully formed, but I have no motivation to touch it. Real life if so scary right now, I can escape into other people’s books (and have, at length) but my own work doesn’t want me.
I’ve had plenty of writing dry spells in my life. I know they all pass eventually, and I also know at some point I will probably be able to stir myself to the more technical work of editing, but creativity during times of crisis must go toward the rapid spiral of fears and worries and attempts to drag ourselves into some place resembling optimism.
I still have the ability to blog, and I am glad. Because I have plenty of things to say. But my stories, they will have to wait for now but I hope not for long.