Writing can be such an elusive high. There’s the thrill of being in progress of course, and the cosmic release of actually putting something out into the world, but if you’re not careful, you can crash. I’m prone to it — in 2022 I spent a lot of time feverishly hammering away on something I thought was good, great, destined for the world, only to crash back down to Earth when I decided I had missed the mark. When you don’t have an idea — or when you have too many ideas but not one you particularly like — it can get low, real low. You can lose faith that you’ll ever get your mojo back, the joy of writing.
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t plan to have anything written for the first few months of 2023. Last year I had pretty high hopes, which led to steep crashes when my expectations of myself didn’t materialize. It’s not that I ever wanted to quit, but missing the mark so much throughout the year really took the wind out of my sails. This year, even though it may seem like I am stretching myself again, I feel like what I am trying to accomplish feels manageable. I’ve made some incredibly good progress on the first thing I wanted to show you for 2023, and you may hear about it soon.
This idea is “work.” It’s not something I love-love, but something I think people will like and that I think would be good to get out there. It’s not one of the ones I’m super passionate about but it has a strange doability factor that means I can get motivated to work on it pretty easily.
So I was going along fine working on that. But as so often happens, I was lucky enough for an idea to appear and cut the line.
Blame the office. Back when I worked in an office regularly, my time going to and from places, observing the world and people-watching was often a source of inspiration. Just encountering strangers and random people throughout my day, at work, or going to and from places, could often jar something loose. But I haven’t been an in-office worker since the pandemic began. I mostly have to rely on my own imagination and memory of other people. There’s lots to work with, but rarely that mysterious catalyst.
As it so happens, I did go into the office last week, and on my way home I sat with some people on the train. There was no interaction between us but I eyed them a little as they spoke and an idea started to form. I don’t know where it came from — really it has nothing to actually do with them, but gradually as the ride wore on the vision started to become clear for a new story, something new to do.
Quickly I went through the usual stages of early creation: the gem of the idea, the refinement, the exploring the possibilities… and then the negativity, the checking it against everything else I’ve done or plan to do, the sudden and abrupt dislike of it. I wondered if maybe my craze for the idea would pass.
Then I got home and sat at my keyboard and my fingers started to move. I liked what I was getting out of myself. And then before I knew it, it’s five days later and I’ve got 10,000 words written and the idea has taken on a life of its own, in ways I didn’t originally expect.
I love it when that happens.
It’s the organic, pure joy of writing. Not forcing yourself of feeling obligated. Just the pure explosion of creation that feeds and sustains itself until it’s spent. That’s a great feeling, the one I always look for, the one that has pushed forward all my favourite works.
I hope that when the time comes you get to enjoy the end result. Even if not, at least I had this feeling.
Thanks and be kind,
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