Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Holding Back

I've been holding off on starting my next book for two reasons. 1) I needed to do research, and 2) I want to participate in National Novel Writing Month.

The idea came to me a couple of weeks ago though, and ever since it's been clawing at the back of my mind. It wants to be written, and it is causing me sleepless nights to keep it contained. To wait to write it. I hate this feeling of fighting against it. Every time I read a new primary source on the Trojan War, or pick up The Iliad, I want to start writing immediately. And boy, do I wish that I could read and write simultaneously! Four arms and two sets of eyes, and one mega-brain that can absorb all that input and turn it immediately into creative output.

The thing is, it's kind of an exercise of discipline at this point. A discipline that will be important to my future career as a writer, because there are going to be times when I need to focus on revisions or editing, and I can't move forward immediately into the next project. And I need to know if holding back until the right time is good or bad for my creative process. If I CAN do it, without messing myself up. When I finally unleash all this creative purpose, this story, will it be better for my having waited to get the facts, or worse? Will I write better? Or will my brain be fogged and overrun by all the ideas to the point where organizing them into coherent sentences and chapters is impossible?

Part of me, though, almost feels as if I've absorbed as much as I can absorb without beginning to turn my research into story into novel. Part of me needs to purge all of this information and get it out of me. Part of me just NEEDS to write, and that part of me is getting really tired of waiting around for November First. I try to distract that part of me with revision of my other four books, or work on the screenplay I'm attempting to write (emphasis on attempting) but it isn't working, and my stress level increases.

When I finished writing my last book, I was anxious because I didn't have another project immediately to dive into and start writing. I was worried that I wouldn't keep writing, and keep my forward momentum. Then I started my screenplay (mostly as a writing exercise), but it wasn't the same. It was like a big giant edit of my book, and a totally different experience from writing something new. I struggle with it, and it's full of stumbling blocks, and while there are some moments of pure glee when I find a way to make the puzzle fit together, or a better way to tell the story than I originally conceived it, more often, I just want to growl at it.

But man, not writing stresses me out. Not Writing Stresses Me Out.
More than anything this last couple of weeks has taught me one thing: I don't have to fear not being able to write. I can embrace an end to my books in the future, because I can't NOT write.This is why I'm trying to get published. Why I'm trying to make this my job. Because not doing it makes me miserable. I get frustrated and irritable not having that creative outlet. I can have faith in the fact that my drive to write, my momentum in putting words on paper, is not going to go away. It's here.  It's the reason this month has been over-full of blog posts. Because any writing is better than no writing. Because writing is the way that I focus.

November first can't come quickly enough.

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