I haven’t started a new writing project in months. I don’t even have any ideas for a new story, at least none that I’m ready to dive into right now. And I’m trying to make peace with that.
I love beginning to write a new book. Being barely halfway through and struggling with where the story will go next. Spending hours combing through research topics on Wikipedia, link after link leading me to weird and wonderful places. Using Google Maps to see the exact layout, look and feel of a street in a far-off city. Having a solution flash unexpectedly into my mind, bringing random threads of plot together in a way I’d never considered.
I miss hanging out with my characters, inventing and developing them. I miss working out dialogue in my head while I’m in the shower or taking a walk, and feeling the rush of accomplishment when I’ve made it to 70,000 words. I miss everything about the process, even the aggravating parts, and can’t wait to be there again.
In the meantime, I’ve been writing reams in my journal along with some odds and ends of poetry, both of which have been extremely cathartic and helpful in a time of transition and growth. Letters to people I’ll never send, lists of things I want to embrace or abandon, insights and truths about my life both disturbing and comforting. The past months definitely haven’t been unproductive, it’s just that the fruits of my labor have been entirely personal—and not nearly as much fun as writing a novel.
I’ve also had a lot of distractions at my day job as we transition through some difficult challenges, and have started to plan out the details of my three-week trip to Greece this spring. All things considered, I think it’s probably OK that my fiction-writing muse has taken a short sabbatical this winter, leaving me free to focus on other pursuits.
Just as long as she doesn’t stay away too long…