Writing. Living. Reality.

Originally posted on March 22, 2011 at 7:16 PM

“Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind.” –Catherine Drinker Bowen, Atlantic, December 1957

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” –Ray Bradbury

I’m in between projects. I’m working on an awesome blog series coming up in about a week, but it’s nonfiction. I have a handful of fiction and poetry pieces started, but they all seem to be… well… not stalled, exactly, but perhaps receded. I like them, I remember them, but I don’t want to write on them. At least not right now.

I’m missing that one creative project that really calls to me – not in the front of my mind, but in the back of it. That mysterious voice that speaks separately from my mouth, to only my ears. My muse, if you’ll pardon the cliché.

You might think this is a good thing. I have recently finished a 100,000 word novel, edits and all, and submitted it to a handful of excellent agents, some of whom actually requested it specifically. I feel relieved, but not exhausted. It’s strange, but I still want to write.

I’ve still got the bug, but nothing to work on.

They (and who the hell are They, anyway?) say that you should take a break between big projects. That you should relax and enjoy “real life” for a while, to remind yourself what the real world is like with, you know, those three-dimensional, physically-existent people. Ha! As if they’re ever interesting. Okay, maybe a bit. But still, half of my life is in my head and in my Word documents – and I like it that way.

This has never happened to me before, this strange sense of floating. Maybe I’m being too impatient. I mean, it’s only been a few days. But I feel like a shell. Like half of my life is missing.

Writers, have you ever felt like this? (And does it happen to other types of artists too?) Do you find yourself floundering between projects? Does some idea usually stand up, wave its arms, and call to you, or do you sit down and choose one based on logic? I’m really asking.

Share this:
This entry was posted in The Art and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
  • A. B. Davis

    Totally have gotten this after finishing a big project that had been taking up most of your attention. It is such a sad, listless feeling.

    It appears I am lurking around your old posts again. 😉

    • It’s always interesting to see your comments pop up on old posts like this. I just reread this one and went, “Oh, I wrote that? Huh.” I don’t really blog about my process much anymore, so it’s strange to see these old ones!

      • A. B. Davis

        Interesting. I wonder what incites such changes along the way. It reminds me of your privacy versus public post.

        • That’s exactly part of it — just a general drawing back of how much I share. The larger my readership has gotten the more conscious I am of not posting too much personal stuff too often. I’ve also slowly stepped back how often I blog about writing.

          • A. B. Davis

            It’s strange–I am always worried that if I DON’T post about writing that what little readership I have (quality over quantity! :))will fall by the wayside, but I do see that you have plenty of faithful readers that care about the other topics you post on besides writing. And also, there are more subjects on writing that can be posted about than just our personal processes, so I guess there is that. It seems like it’s just some instinctual, gradual drawing back that perhaps many writers go through as they get more into the public sphere. I wonder what the hell I’ll end up eventually writing about if I choose to make my process as a topic a no-no. Maybe more scholarly things. 😉

          • Well it’s not just to do with personal vs. public, but also with audience. Ideally, to build a readership we want to reach people who want to read what we write, not people who also write. Sometimes those overlap, and there are benefits to meeting other writers too, obviously, but over time I’ve tried to shift my intended audience away from “other writers” and toward “potential readers.” So that’s a big part of it too.

          • A. B. Davis

            Ooh. That is profound advice–it totally makes sense too. I am going to copy and paste it and put it somewhere. 😀 Seriously though.

          • I’m glad! It took me years to figure that out, which is a shame, because it’s much harder to change your audience than it is to build the right one from the beginning.

          • A. B. Davis

            Well, in me you certainly have a fellow writer AND reader of your works. Now, to go figure out what the hell my next blog post should be on in lieu of that. : /

          • 🙂 Thanks, lady. Don’t drive yourself *too* crazy over it, though!