Writing Ebb and Tide

Ever hear the phrase “feast or famine?”

It seems like my entire life has been based on this concept.

You’re poor and struggling, then you get a little pocket change and are struggling. Your creative juices run wild and free, then you don’t write anything but excuse notes to your child’s teachers or don’t paint anything but bedroom walls for twenty years.

Of course, then the tide comes back in and you are left with too many choices and ideas and not enough time and too small of a brain to see them all into fruition.

Sometimes I really feel like writing. REALLY. I am attacked by a compulsion so strong that ignoring it is impossible. Other times, I really don’t feel a creative juice in my body, not one drop, not even a glistening of sweat.

After my rejection letter, I put the novel away. I really wanted to attack it and make it all better, but I felt completely tapped. I didn’t have any fresh ideas. A few days passed, then a week.

Then ten whole days! I was starting to worry. I even started to doubt myself. Maybe this writing thing was just a pipe dream or a fad. Maybe I’m so awful, no one will ever like my work! What if I die a lonely death, locked in my unheated garret (because I’m back to being poor) with my ancient laptop (which by this time doesn’t type the letter M because my bird chewed off the key), no food, no accolades, no sense of worth? What if?

Just as depression was about to sink in, I had a hallelujah moment. I don’t know if other writers have these epiphanies, but I seem to have them on occasion.

I looked at all the comments made on my re-writes, and the comments from Ms. Friendly Sorry-But-You’re-Not-Ready-To-Publish-Yet Agent (I secretly love her), opened my writing reference books and voila! Sometime late Friday afternoon, I was hit by the proverbial (and clicheed) bolt of lightening.

Ideas! I had a million of them!

Even though I had a critique group the next day and had already emailed my chapter to them, I sat down to re-write. I slashed the unnecessary. I cut out the pointless. I eviscerated huge sections of back story. I rearranged the chapter.

It might not be perfect, but Chapter One is now leaner, meaner and flows so much better.

Then in the middle of my glorious in-tide, I was suddenly struck by more inspiration, this time for my first mammoth work.

Of course, now is the time when the ideas flow and the time shrinks.

Feast or famine. I’m not complaining.

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5 Responses

  1. I’ve been in famine for ages now. I can’t even force a little something. I think when I was on Gather I was inspired by other peoples’ work, and when I left there, I lost it.

    Another time, though, I am sure…

    • Nancy, I thought you were fabulous on Gather! Your tide will come back some day. I know it will, because your writing was so wonderful to begin with.

  2. Girl, I can SO relate to this! After my five rejections I put my novel away, thinking I’d never touch it again. Then a couple of months ago I picked it up and i’m five chapters into my second draft.

    Also I haven’t written poetry in YEARS. Now I just started a poetry blog and have posted three but have twenty more waiting to be posted!

    Good luck on the rewrites! Keep us posted

  3. Thanks!

  4. We both write for BC. Love your writing style and your articles. Look forward to following you here. Cheers!

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