Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Waiting for a Train that Won't Come

By J.C. Lynne

Maybe it's because it's summer. Maybe it's the unseasonal heat. It could be the general state of the world. The clear trend in recent posts has been finding the inspiration and motivation to write. And, ho hum, I'm no different. 

Even My Little Creek Can't Entice Me.

Past summers have seen me banging away at the keyboard on the back patio. My little creek bubbled nearby while the shade of the umbrella kept the sun at bay. I bolstered my work flow with an assortment of fruit and a glass of Rosé over ice. 

Normally, I cling desperately to each fleeting and speeding moment. As much as the autumn delivers memories and nostalgia on the wind like gossamer, I dread the approach of winter. 

I really f*cking hate winter. What? You thought I'd leave it all poetical.

This sunny season has me lagging. 

The summer stretched out the daylight as if on a rack. Each moment was drawn out until its anatomy collapsed. Time broke down. 

China Miéville

Used to be, I'd wait until those voices in my head were so intrusive I thought my skull might crack open. During those dry and silent spells, I'd fill my days pulling weeds, walking the dogs, or going on a hike. 

When things started bubbling in my brain I'd shout huzzah and dive into the creative waters.

Inspiration and motivation are capricious flibbertigibbets. That train may or mayn't come. 

It's a fine thing to cling to the belief that inspired writing is a boon from the poetic muse, but you won't fill that gaping white space with words while you wait.

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to charge after it with a club. 

Jack London

For this yoga thing I'm working on, I have an agent. Which to me is sort of like saying I have a refrigerator. (Calm down, Stacey. I'm going somewhere with this.) I have this fantastic thing and it's an amazing opportunity, but just because I have it doesn't mean it's full at the moment. 

My agent has helped me refine the book's proposal. She has given me content notes on the sample chapters which I have applied to the rest of the book. I have homework and a measure of accountability. It stands in repose, humming along with an occasional rumble of the ice machine, but until I pass the final exam read land a book contract, the fridge is still empty. 

That Reminds Me. I Should Go Clean The Fridge.

On a side note, I made the mistake of Googling why refrigerator doesn't have a 'd' when fridge does. I should have known --- English.  

I have discovered something about my writing self that I didn't know. At any moment, I can sit down and write. It doesn't matter if inspiration has visited me. Those avalanche bursts of ice mean there are content and editing notes waiting for attention. 

Oh sure, some days it starts with one word, but always once those first few droplets plop the faucet releases its torrent. Words words words flow!

So scroll through the flurry of writing advice offered by my colleagues. Dig deep. Sit down with notebook or computer and start with one word. It doesn't have to be brilliant, it just has to be on the page. 

One word by necessity leads to another and eventually you have a sentence. Put on your big kid pants and get to that first word. Cuz you got this.


Janetta Messmer said...

If I waited for inspiration, I'd never write a word, or been published. Thank you for your truthful (and funny) take on writing.

JC Lynne said...

Preach Janetta!

shenke said...

So good to hear that we all drift in the ebb and flow as we move through the call to write and you've solidly reiterated how sometimes it's okay to get stuck in the eddie as long as we still have a hold on our paddle.

JC Lynne said...

OOOH, now I must go kayaking or paddle boarding or some water thingy. Damn you, Henke!

Laura Mahal said...

I'm glad you "didn't leave it all poetical," but this was a lovely post, JC. (Most of us don't see or experience "capricious flibbertigibbets" every day, you know. :-)

Maybe this is why I love copyediting for others? It is as relaxing to me as gardening or hiking, but without all that physical exercise. Editing keeps me mentally engaged, and connected to the craft, even on those days when I don't really feel like picking up the pen.

When we know we're all in this together, it helps to see the piles of dirty laundry and the bare shelves of one another's refrigerators. Some weeks, the writing and the living go just fine. At other times, we need to phone a friend.

Thanks for the inspiration!

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