Thursday, January 6, 2011

Coming Home to Your Writing

I've written a lot of posts about the process of writing, of courting your muse, finding time to write, and so on. A big part of what we do as writers is find a way to do the thing we love when we don't feel like we love it so much anymore.

I have just awakened from a very long dry spell. I missed writing, but most of all, I missed the powerful drive that was behind it, making me long for the end of the work day so I could get home and write. I wasn't feeling it, and so I didn't try to force it. I waited.

And now, slowly, the desire is returning. I wrote a half a page yesterday, and a half a page the day before that. I don't know if it's any good, and I don't care. I'm just cautiously optimistic that it's coming back. The feeling is very much like getting close to your partner again after you've been fighting or estranged--a tentative, breathless sensation.

I've learned over the past 20 years with my soulmate that all relationships, no matter how perfect, go in waves. We have times where we really do feel like one person, like there's no division between us, and we can talk and laugh and are completely on the same page with everything. Other times, I feel like I have no idea who he is, and when we're fighting, it can be really hard to remember what I liked about him.

But when we come out of one of those troughs and reconnect, the feeling I always have is that of coming home. And my relationship with my writing is no different. Sometimes my muse and I aren't speaking, but I know it's temporary and that we'll come back together again soon.

The important thing is to keep the faith and not lose patience with yourself. Don't start beating yourself up about how you're not really any good--or how you weren't ever any good to begin with. The wave you happen to be in right now, whether it's a 100-foot tidal wave or a very deep trough that exposes the ocean floor, does not define you as a writer. It's just where you are right now. And when the time is right, you'll come home to your writing again, to enjoy the feeling of the words flowing out of you like magic spells, shaping the world you're creating and carrying you away on the next adventure.

1 comment:

  1. those last few lines about the tidal wave and ocean floor are superb. such a great metaphor for how it feels to not write and then to write again. thanks for the post.