Elster's World

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sailor's Warning

So for quite a while now I've wanted to jump back into the writing game. Nothing fancy, nothing too ambitious, just a small project. A nice short story or even a snippet of fiction.

The problem is, I'm completely stumped for ideas.

Ever since the Failed Book Incident of 2006, I've been snake-bit. The disillusionment I've felt from the whole process has left me, well, with a scar.

At first, I just hated the idea of writing again. I had tons of ideas, had even started 2 full-length projects, but I had no desire to write anything. I felt betrayed by an industry that wouldn't even take the time to look at my work, let alone tell me it wasn't good enough. Subsequently, I realized that the work probably wasn't good enough (despite what you may believe, many authors' first works never see the light of day). Feelings of betrayal towards the industry became feelings of bitterness that I somehow lacked the ability to do what I loved to do.

I stayed away from the computer for almost a year.

Then the Feeling returned. The Feeling, for me anyway, is the desire to write. I wanted to get back in front of the keyboard, take out the pad and pen, and get cracking again.

However this time, the Feeling returned without one slightly important ingredient - the spark.

I don't know anything about writing - how it works, where it comes from. Heck lots of people argue I don't even know HOW to write. But I know one thing. For me, it was a spark inside me that formed the words, almost like a well from which everything flowed. When I was writing my book, the well was overflowing. I was making lists of ideas for "my next project", I was jotting down dialogue to use in specific works. Heck I was even outlining intricate plot points.

And now? Now all I can do is stare at blank computer screens and empty legal pads. Now not only do the words not come, the ideas aren't there anymore. Did I lose the spark? Am I just too scared to try again? Am I just suffering from an overlong, though temporary case of writers block? I have no idea. All I know is that now, when I finally have the will to write again, I simply can't do it.

Why do I tell you all this? Two reasons, I guess. For starters, in the past I have found it therapeutic to write it all out - it clears the soul. Also, it's a warning to all of you too. Don't think that the gift you possess, the creative spark inside of you (whether it manifests in prose, poetry, art, photography, music or even skin art) is something you should take for granted. It's not a switch to be turned on and off at your whim and fancy. It's a gift - it can be taken away as easily as it comes. I seem to have lost mine. Whether temporary or not I do not know.

I still feel as though if I just had that one idea, I could write it. I just don't know what to write. So yeah. Therapeutic? Maybe. Helpful to you? Who knows. I'll just leave you with the creative person's prayer. Written some time in the 21st Century by a struggling writer with a lightly read sports blog.

The creative person's prayer - "Lord give me the power to recognize I have something special and the ability to use it - and Lord please, please please - don't take it away from me."


  • Over the last handful of months, I've watched your blog. Probably for about a year..little morbe. When you blog switched from personal to sports, I checked in less and less often, but still thought one of these days, you'd snap to it, and write about the things that you enjoy. Not to say you don't enjoy sports, so maybe the truth is, I was half hoping you'd start writing about the things I like again. It's good to see that you haven't given up, and now that I have something to look forward to, I can check in more often.

    By Anonymous Sara no H, at 11:30 AM  

  • I agree completely that inspiration is a gift. my prof always used to say, when someone wrote an incredibly poignant line, "that's a gift."
    on the other hand, i've heard abt authors who approach writing in a very disciplined manner- they set aside a certain time every day to write- whether they have what to write abt or not.
    its an interesting balance.
    but in any event, you're entitled to take breaks when you're not in the mood- and when you are in the mood, when the Feeling does strike, you're entitled to that too. even if its hard at first, i think it gets easier as time goes on. the desire is the first step. the words will follow.

    By Blogger Lana, at 12:05 PM  

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