Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sojourn in a Dry Land

Hi, my name's Loren, and I haven't written for a month.

One of the nice things about blogging is that it keeps me honest. I mean, you can't really regularly post about the craft and then not put it into practice if you don't want your conscience yelping at you every time you hit the publish button. Usually, writing and blogging work synchronously, each rolling into the other in a pleasing feedback loop.

That sure hasn't happened recently, though.

The trouble wasn't that the ideas wouldn't come. In my life, muses went the way of the dinosaur some time ago, and (in my very humble opinion) eliminating the need for external inspiration offers nothing but upside for a writer. No, new plots and characters kept on popping up. I just had no desire to put them in print.

Call it what you like -- laziness, apathy, fatigue. All I know is that shuffling stuff from my mind to paper felt Sisyphean. Everything needed to birth a story was there except the will to bring it forth. It's a depressing place to dwell, a sojourn in a dry land with no oasis in sight.

And then last Sunday it bubbled back up, that yearning to create, cool and sweet as it's ever been. Why did it return? I haven't the foggiest. But I do know I'm going to drink deeply of it for as long as I can.

(Picture: CC 2007 by


Jim Murdoch said...

I’ve been writing for over thirty-five years now. It’s not until you’ve been writing for that length of time that you start to see the bigger picture. When I was much younger if I didn’t write anything for a month I thought it was all over, kaput, I’d never write again. Then when I reached thirty I went through a period of three years without a single idea - I really thought I was done - after which I sat down and wrote my first two novels back to back and I’ve never looked back since. That doesn’t mean it’s all been plain sailing since, no, I’ve have long periods where I’ve not been able to write what I’ve wanted to write so I’ve learned to go with the flow; if you’re stuck on one thing then don’t force it, work on something else. Write what needs to be written. That’s what happened with my third novel. I got stuck in the middle of it and went away and wrote forty-odd short stories over a two-year period before returning to it, refreshed and with a new direction. I’ve had much the same problem with my current WIP which is ironic because I’ve never written as much as I’m writing just now, it’s just not a novel.

dolorah said...

I had to take some time off from my writers group because they pressured me to write something new for them. Guess its only fair to let them critique me also.

But I've been involved in other "writerly projects" for a couple months now, and though I feel a little guilty about not writing on the two WIP I'm currently not working on, I just haven't been in the mood.

I guess that's when you're supposed to stretch those creativity muscles, but I'm a bit lazy. I've had these phases before - they pass. I never know why; like you, I just enjoy the return of the urge.

And I'm glad to meet another person who doesn't rely on a "muse".


Ben Mann said...

I think some of us so buy into the "writers write" mentality that if we're not writing we think something is wrong and start going into a guilt cycle. I'm forming the opinion that hey, it's okay to take a holiday once in a while, and it's not the end of the world. Quite the opposite: It's probably exactly what I need.

B. Nagel said...


ollwen said...

I think I got stuck in that place a few years ago. Didn't even realize that is where I am. There's two huge hurdles of laziness + more pressing responsibilities that keep me from moving from the day-dreaming/idea forming stage, to the drawing/writing stage.

I think there's also the personal/cultural fascination with the new. I occasionally get an idea and scribble furiously, hardly able to put it down. Then as the newness fades or another idea comes, it gets put aside.

This comment feels very deja vu. . . I'm writing about not writing again.

Loren Eaton said...


That's quite encouraging, actually. I've been feeling rather down about the block.

Loren Eaton said...


I put my muse into a lake several years ago and haven't looked back!

Loren Eaton said...


I don't know if it's helped me or not, but I do feel better after a little break. It's nice to not feel as though writing is work. Well, as though it's only work.

Loren Eaton said...


As always, sir, you are too kind.

Loren Eaton said...


I think you have at least one very important reason to take a writing hiatus at the moment. It involves cribs and onesies.