There are so many books to read. There are so many books to create. Sometimes, it’s overwhelming. It’s not overwhelming in a bad way, not most of the time. It’s the kind of overwhelming where the endless possibilities fill you and frustrate you. I adore the Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke, where books take on a life of reality. I love her portrayal of the books whispering to the protagonist, Meggie, in the film version. I also like the characters in the film that are tattooed with words from the story. It strengthens my thoughts and beliefs that words are magical, and words are powerful.
When I am feeling unsure about writing, those days when I want to delete everything and burn my laptop in the woodstove, I have to stop, take a breath, and think. I am awe of authors and their gift of words. As I listen to and read amazing books, I wonder if they have struggled to turn a phrase or editing and editing and editing until their work is near perfect? How is their raw writing? Is it spookily channeled? Do they struggle to type word after word into sentence after sentence? I wonder. How do they weave their words into sentences, paragraphs, and pages to make them come alive?
What are writers’ lives like? Are they like me who gets frustrated with dust rolling around the house, but pulls more to the call of words than the broom? How do they spend their days? Do they work at another job, go to the doctor, to the bank, to the grocery store, and the gas station? What is their life like as they do these mundane things? Do the characters and plot interrupt the daily pattern of the hearth, home, and world beyond? I am an isolationist writer. With family and work obligations, my writing time is slim, so I carefully hoard the moments when I can actually sit down to write. I belong to a couple of organizations, but I am a lurker. The thought of going to a meeting an hour or more away from my home doesn’t seem fruitful to me when I can squeeze a few hours of writing time at home, cat on my lap, and dog snoozing alongside. But I am curious as to what the other writers say. Are they kindred spirits?
Currently, I am listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. She writes, without question, that creativity is magical. Yes, yes, yes! I want to cry to her, email her, and call her on the phone! Yes! Elizabeth Gilbert is a kindred spirit as she writes how ideas ebb and flow, how we are lucky enough to capture a few to work on while others pass us by. And yes, creativity is indeed magic. And, yes, I feel blessed to have the plethora of book ideas in my head.
I have fallen in love with Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic. Indeed, reading certain books guarantees to fall in love over, and over, and over again. In addition to listening to this book, I have purchased a copy that I will read and cherish until it is tattered and worn.
I am somewhere between a ‘pantzer’ and a ‘planner’ writer. I have a rough outline and knowledge of what’s going to happen as I write my novels. But I leave some up to chance and the gods of words who seemingly write the book, only using me as a channel, as typewritten words flow from tapping fingers to fill the screen of the laptop. Even though I write mysteries, I still have problems killing off a character. It’s definitely the time when I have writer’s block.
I am, at that place, in my new book A New Leaf. I know the novel needs to be tied up with a neat bow. It’s time. I know I need to rise to write the conflict, the death, and the end of the story. The hows and whys of this new character’s death haunt me.
I am in my happy place, amongst the words and ideas. I am in my happy place with the stacks of books throughout the house, by the bed, and in my head. And yes, I am in my happy place as I wrestle with killing off a character, and eventually, moving on to release the book to readers. I have to push aside fears of the book being ‘good enough’ and if readers will enjoy the continuation of the life story of the characters. Editing still looms ahead. Other books are crowding in my head and clamoring to be released to the symbols on the bright, white page. Oh, the possibilities…