It’s been about two weeks since I’ve published a post. I’ve written a couple, part of an extended metaphorical discussion of mental illness that I’ve been adding onto for maybe two months but have yet to feel like it’s “complete” enough for publishing.
Probably that doesn’t matter. I don’t need five or six or maybe seven posts on backlog, although that might not be a bad thing since school starts again in two weeks.
The truth is, I want to write meaningfully. Cheap writing isn’t my style. (Not that cheap writing doesn’t have value; it’s just not the right fit for me.) But this often means I’m struggling to find inspiration. Which is often shorthand for “my depression is making me so lethargic and lackluster that I’m not sure I could write something even if I tried” or “my anxiety is keeping me so strung up that I can’t stay still long enough to even think about writing.”
I’m a work in progress. The world is a work in progress.
“I hope you’re pleased with yourself,” Hermione Granger said to Harry Potter and Ron Weasley on page 162 of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. “We could all have been killed–or worse, expelled. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to bed.”
Ron responds: “No, we don’t mind. You’d think we dragged her along, wouldn’t you?”
The movie plays differently: a slight inversion at the start and a spot of humor in the end.
“Now, if you two don’t mind,” Hermione begins, “I’m going to bed before either of you come up with another clever idea to get us killed–or worse, expelled.”
And Ron says, “She needs to sort out her priorities.”
Which is precisely why, dear reader, I’ve brought you here today.
READ ME, I wrote at the bottom of the page, knowing if I didn’t remind myself to look at this again, I would forget this late-night, right-before-bed thought that felt worthwhile.
I’ve gotten so lost in knowing that I’ve forgotten feeling, I had written in dark fuchsia ink. I read too much nonfiction and not enough fiction. I need to be outside more. I need to move more. I need to look past the words and feel the wonder. I need to wander.
I had been thinking of how to get back to my mythology around the same time. I’ve been trying to explore ways to write the story and ways to return to it; in particular, the last time I touched it in November, I felt like I had run into a wall. So I continued: Maybe I should also revisit the cultures of my world — flesh out the religions, the creeds of the gods, each tribe’s histories. Perhaps then I can keep writing. But are these things I need to know, or will they help me feel?
I finished with one last line of scrawling scarlet ink. God, I’m just so numb inside.
And I realized, I was right–I have grown numb. But is the numbness the cause of my lack of inspiration, or is my lack of inspiration causing me to feel numb?
My first full-length book was an unintentional experiment in proving the fact that quantity does not imply quality: At the time I believed that “real books” had to be a certain length, and based upon a non-representative sample (the Lord of the Rings), I believed I needed to write a novel at least 150,000 words long for it to ever have a chance of getting published.
The year was 2006 and I was a first-time NaNoWriMo participant. The challenge of National Novel Writing Month is to write 50,000 words–which while shorter than the average novel today (which is between 80,000 and 100,000 words), was a lot closer to the ideal length of a breakout novel than I realized: turns out most publishers won’t even touch something bigger than 150k if an author hasn’t already been deemed profitable because of before-published book sales.
Anyways. I digress. I want to talk about story, not statistics.
Yesterday I looked back at how Story has driven me. Today, the first day of the new year, I look forward: This is not an outline of goals or resolutions, but a declaration of intent.
There are, I fear, still too many unanswered questions in my life, within my soul, and there has never been (in my lifetime, at least) a more apparent time of open conflict in our country than there is now: As the alchemists said, as above, so below, and I extend this idea to “as around, as within.” Perhaps I cannot quell the conflict around me, but if I can calm the questioning inside, perhaps that feeling will spread outward to others.
And if not, I’ll at least be better prepared to live my best life regardless of the world around me. Let it all fall into chaos: then I shall still stand tall and true.
There is, at our very deepest, a driving force for each of us. It fuels the beating of hearts, the breath filling our lungs, the meter of our feet and the cadence of our speech.
I suppose most people never know their driving force–it’s far too deep, you see, and in a world with an attention span hardly longer than a few seconds, I doubt most of us can hold our breaths long enough to dive so deep within to find it.
I kept thinking, after I wrote about my doubts in writing the sequel to Starfall, and I decided finally to go for it: On November 1, I began writing. And even with a couple days encumbered by sour and bitter feelings, I’ve written a few thousand words every day since. In fact, I expect I’ll hit 50,000 words today–but the story is still far from complete, and as I predicted back in 2012, it’ll need a third book to finish this tale.
(What can I say? Tolkien made trilogies fashionable.)
And then, just a few days ago, I decided to try my hand at mapping out the world–and my first attempt came out pretty well, if horribly off scale (catch it after the jump).
Then I realized: once you have a map, you’ve gotta start naming things.