As I sit here staring at the screen I find myself wanting to write, knowing I need to write, but unable to get started. I’m not in the mood.
Unfortunately, that isn’t a very good excuse.
It isn’t the post-holiday blahs. It isn’t the environment. I suppose I could lay the blame at my recent detour back into nonfiction, though even that is stretching it.
I love writing fiction and prefer it. I also have a desire to make a difference in the world which leads me to periodically release information I believe will help improve the lives of others.
It isn’t that I don’t have ideas.
Quite the contrary, I have a partially completed novel in front of me and other stories in the queue.
In spite of this, I find myself unable to find the motivation to get to it.
Just put the fingers on the keys, right?
As I sat here, staring sightlessly, I considered a variety of potential stimulants.
I’ve already had a rare second espresso – it didn’t clear the cobwebs.
I considered listening to music but realized it would probably send me in the wrong direction.
I really need to work on the novel in front of me, not the one I’m releasing in March.
As I wrestled with the idea of working on the March release now – just to be working on something – it occurred to me what was wrong. I’d lost touch with my current novel’s character.
Had I fallen out of love with the plot?
Careful consideration told me that no – it wasn’t the plot that was bothering me, it really was the character. I’d lost touch with her. How come?
I had been away for too long. Even before my work on Calcium: The Old Man Mineral and Its Role in EMF Sensitivity, I had been on a break after releasing two novels close together.
What I learned, even before this pensive episode, was that I’m not cut out to take breaks.
I actually suffer more not writing than I do writing when tired.
I’ve been writing and telling stories since I was three. To be away from it is painful.
It’s as if I’ve had a part of me ripped out.
Deciding that I would find a way to work through in the future wasn’t enough to get me back on track at present. As I started to feel a bit of panic, I asked myself what would.
What’s the problem? Identifying the problem sets us on the road to a solution.
It also keeps us from wasting energy on something that won’t fix it.
Imagine the scene. I recalled where I left off.
When last we saw our heroine…
Listen to the director. I imagined myself an actor on stage. The director is coaching me.
“Picture your character. She’s 27 years old. She’s just flown for over fifteen hours. She’s been living in the Outback for the last six months. What’s your mindset? Are you tired? Exhilarated? What’s your state of mind? What are you looking forward to? What do you dread?
Back to basics. What am I trying to accomplish? Who are the key players? What is the obstacle facing the character(s)?
Of all of the tools I tapped, listening to the director was the most helpful. Perhaps this is because there is a bit of acting required when writing fiction. As a novelist, you have to get inside the heads and hearts of the people you are writing to life.
Even the bad guys.
You need to strongly identify with the characters in order to write them realistically. Yes, this takes imagination, but if you put yourself in their shoes, it brings you into the story and sets up so that the character becomes so real it’s as if he or she is telling the story and you are simply taking dictation.
You are simply the medium, your fingers the method by which the story gets down.
When I looked at it like that I found the idea of getting back to the story less daunting.
Time to get to it.