Wednesday, December 6, 2017
IWSG: Something from Nothing
This isn't the entry I was going to write.
I had it planned, I really did. I was going to leave the entire thing blank, except for the IWSG logo, for the length of my usual entry, with a sentence at the end saying the above text consisted of all the writing work I'd gotten done in November. I might have left it up for all of December, if things continued to go so badly. Some part of me called it melodramatic, but I thought it would be a good way to show what it felt like to look back at an entire month and see that I'd done nothing.
It was also kind of a riff on John Cage's 4'33", but that's neither here nor there.
Things didn't seem to be shaping up last week either; I thought I had an idea that would work out, but once I wrote it down, I realized that I didn't want to write it at all. That was Tuesday. On Wednesday, I accepted that I didn't feel like trying to get anything done, and pulled up an old e-mail from a friend. The e-mail is something she copy-pasted and sent to me, titled "falling in love with your story", but that's not really what it's about. It's a writer talking about finding out what's wrong with your story and figuring out how to fix it.
Something about that must have sunk in, because on Thursday, I started thinking about a project I hadn't worked on since August. I remembered what the e-mail said, and came to realize what was wrong with the main character that was keeping me from wanting to write her. I scribbled down notes at work for the first time in I don't know how long. And later that day, when I was out on my second break, I started having ideas.
No, let me rephrase that: I started having IDEAS.
Do you know that moment, when you put something together in your head for the first time, and it sparks a character and setting, a place and a reason for them to be, and you know you've got something worth pursuing? I got that. For the first time in I don't even know how long, I got that.
So, I went home and got to work. And to my great surprise and relief, everything I worked on actually worked. I leaned back from my keyboard, thrilled but exhausted, and felt like I'd just woken up after spending most of this year in one long nightmare.
It's been a busy few days since then. The new idea is still going strong; I've been developing it a little bit at a time and seeing how things play out, letting the actual plot work its way into my head as I develop the world. As for the project I'm getting back to, it still needs work, as I have the entire thing plotted but something about it still doesn't seem right. But I have ways to try to fix that. And even if I can't, then at least I have something that is working.
We'll see where it goes from here. I know it'll only take another story crashing and burning for me to feel like it was all for nothing. But I have a place to start from and one to build on. And it feels good to have hope for my own work again.