KingMidget's Ramblings

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What Scares Me

I’m suffering with serious motivation issues with my writing.  Trying to slog through part two of Northville and just really struggling with it.  But that’s not what scares me.

What scares me is this…

The well has run dry.  Kind of.  Sort of.  For the past ten years, once I started this writing gig, I have never stopped coming up with ideas for short stories and novels.  Now, while I have several half-completed novels that tempt me and frustrate me but which I don’t seem to find the ability to work on, the short story factory has closed as well.  Every idea that pops up in my head is the same.  It’s about longing and desire and need for something that is just not quite there.  It’s on the tip of the tongue.  On the edge of the horizon.  It is, unfortunately, a story that revolves all around where I am at in life at the moment.  And I don’t want to write that story.  I want to write a story that has nothing to do with me.  But I find myself completely incapable of contemplating such a story.  Every idea comes back to that same thing.  So, I don’t really even think about short stories anymore.  And struggle with the motivation to continue the slog through Northville and those other projects.

That’s what scares me.  I feel like something has fundamentally changed in my head.  In my creative mind.  In the things that go into storytelling for me.  Something is shutting down.  Or maybe has already shut down.  The first part of Northville is complete at 30,000 words.  Part two is now at 9,000 words.  I want to be able to complete part two at about 30,000 words.  And then a part three at another 30,000 words.  Every day I think about it.  Every day I wonder how I’ll possibly get it done.  I know there’s plenty of story I could tell about Pete, Sophie and Lily.  I just don’t know if I have it in me anymore.

Is it writer’s block?  Could be.  But this doesn’t feel like writer’s block.  Even when I’ve struggled with a work in progress, I’ve been able to switch gears and work on something else.  A short story.  A blog post.  Something that interested me and kept me writing until I could go back to that work in progress and carry it to completion.  Now I just find it so difficult to pull words out of me on anything.  Like I said, something fundamental seems to have changed and I don’t know how to make that happen.


17 responses to “What Scares Me

  1. Pamela Beckford October 19, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    I’m not a writer of stories (poems only) so my words may be just hogwash. But have you tried reading? Something totally different than anything you would write. Reading can cleanse the writing palate and refresh your mind. Just a thought.

    • kingmidget October 19, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      I read all the time. All sorts of things. In some respects, reading has been my refuge for months as I struggle with my loss of writing motivation. Much easier to sit and read a book or a magazine or a manuscript, than it is to struggle with my own words. I sometimes think that I need to just take a break from writing. For a month. Two months. Whatever it takes. Only problem is that it’s really hard to shut my brain down and stop thinking about it.

  2. Trent Lewin October 19, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I hear you Mark. I’ll drop my opinion, but it is opinion only; it resonates for me, but won’t necessarily for anyone else. I find that concept of the well running dry to be particularly acute when I’m tired, stressed, beaten down, distracted by something that is really gnawing at me. It’s the quite times, the let-go times, that produce words I care about; everything else is just an effort, and it shows. Is it that the well has run dry, or are you just too distracted by longing and questioning? is there just too much personal stuff on your mind? It’s so hard to write through that, especially when you don’t want to write ABOUT that. I’ve always used writing to exorcise frustrations and demons, but there are times when those things are so close to home that… well, I don’t know what works. Going for a run (which I think you have started again, no?), sweating it out because I can’t outthink it, or outwrite it. There’s nothing easy about this answer, but I don’t imagine the well has run dry; someone just put a lid on it for a while.

    If it helps… go Giants!

    • kingmidget October 19, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      You’ve pretty much hit the ol’ nail on the head. I know a lot of the “why” of this and you describe it well. I’m spent. Emotionally, mentally, creatively, in so many ways that I just don’t have any energy left for this thing that is the thing I wish I could do more than anything else. And that is part of the longing and questioning … why I ended up with this life that has led to me to a place where everything else (all the have-to’s and need-to’s, the obligations and commitments) leave me so utterly and completely drained that I can’t engage in a want-to.

      And then there are whole other categories of longing that I won’t go into here. The ones that get to the core of who I am and wish I could be and how I want to spend the rest of my life and who I want to spend the rest of my life with. And, well, yeah, like I said, you hit the nail on the head. The longing is so massively pervasive these days. I can’t clear it from my head.

      Weed Therapy was an attempt to exorcise my personal demons. While in my literary world, those demons were exercised, in my reality, they still are there. Still scratching away, clawing at my soul, leaving me empty and wishing.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for cheering the Giants on. Who the hell would be rooting for the Royals? Well, I would, if they were playing anybody but the Giants. Absolutely love that they have brought the joy of baseball back for their fans.

      • Trent Lewin October 19, 2014 at 7:08 pm

        Mark, one life. Just one, my friend. Sometimes, you have to actively cure what ails you. It may be unthinkable. It may be difficult. But longing is a sign, and it seems to me that you know where you want to be. I hope you get there.

        In the meantime, I’ll be cheering on the Giants. Love the story of the Royals. They’re the uppity underdogs rather than the well-seasoned, twice-crowed (of late) juggernaut team… but these teams play so similarly and have such joy for baseball… this is the type of match-up I want to see.

      • kingmidget October 19, 2014 at 7:11 pm

        I’m working on getting there. I’ve been working on it my whole life. We shall see.

        Sadly, far too few people will be watching this World Series because there is no New York, Boston, L.A., or Chicago team involved. Any real baseball fan should be fascinated and excited about the Royals story and watch just for that.

  3. Carrie Rubin October 19, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Sorry to hear it. I have no words of advice but just wanted to let you know I sympathize. Hopefully something will spark your desire again, an idea you just can’t wait to get out.

  4. sknicholls October 19, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Spent my whole day picking flowers for my Facebook friends. Seriously, words of wisdom fail me, but if you need flower pictures, I have plenty of those. 🙂 Peace.

  5. Gibber October 19, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Just showing support I see Trent hit the nail on the head. It will come back when the time is right.

  6. John Callaghan October 19, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    I’m like Carrie, no words of advice but I do sympathize. I think Trent Lewin probably has the best insight.

  7. olivia October 19, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Someone else probably already said it, but maybe you just need to take a break for awhile? In the past, breaks have helped me come back to my projects with a different perspective and new motivation…

    • kingmidget October 20, 2014 at 6:13 am

      I do think there is value in taking a break and, in some respects, that’s what I’ve been doing the last couple of months. Not blogging anywhere near as much. Not working on my stories anywhere near as much. The biggest problem with “taking a break” however is that I don’t know how to shut my brain off. It would be nice if I could just stop thinking about writing for a month. Working on it.

      • olivia October 20, 2014 at 11:38 am

        Maybe you have to take a break long enough to stop thinking about it, like longer than a month? Who knows, really… When you have the bug to write, write! I pretty much stopped writing the entire time I was pregnant. Not sure why, but I think I needed a real break. Coming back to it now I’m enjoying it again.

  8. William C. Paxson October 20, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Hey, Sparky
    Wantta play around with The Only Good Indian? We talked around this a while back, and I was vague, indecisive, zoned out. I think I’m back in the zone now. Maybe we should talk about it again.

    The Father Figure

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