Tuesday, June 21, 2011

When the end is just the beginning....or really the end of the road....

Nothing feels quite as good as writing THE END...for the last time of course.  For me, it takes several drafts before THE END is really THE END.  But even when I know I have several versions to get through before I’m really, really finished, getting to those two words is a beautiful thing.

Usually I have an idea of what I want to do next when I finish a book.  By the time I’m working on those final reads, I’m jotting notes about what I’m going to write next.  Usually.  Sometimes those notes are disjointed and random, sometimes they are cohesive and sequential.  And sometimes they are just garbage.  Twice in my career I’ve found myself with a finished novel I’m rejoicing over and a dry well of creativity I’m bemoaning.  It’s a scary thing to be a writer who’s out of ideas.

Of course I know that my creativity isn’t really all dried up, but sometimes that feeling is indicative of a greater problem.  It’s not that I don’t have ideas….it’s that I’m tired of what I’m writing and I need a change.  Several years ago I read an article in RWR about reinventing yourself and it made a huge impact on me and guided me from writing as Erin Grady into writing as Erin Quinn.  As I await the final edits on the last book in my Mists of Ireland series—the only series I’ve written—I’m finding myself dissatisfied with the false starts I’m making on my new book and asking myself why?  Is it time to look at reinventing myself again or is this the point in a writing career when the tough work through the indecision and the weak fold up their laptop and take it home?  Is the feeling of not knowing what’s next a symptom of burnout or is it natural to feel unsure after having been committed to one story line for so long?

What do YOU do when you find yourself faced with the blank page and a lack of enthusiasm to fill it?  Inquiring minds want to know….


Caris said...

Hi, Erin! I always value and enjoy your honesty about the writing process, so here's mine! For some reason I never lack for ideas when starting a new book...I can't wait to start...I pant to start. HOWEVER, put me in the middle of edits and you'll often find me staring not OUT the window, but AT the window. I'm always thinking, if I just open that $#%@ thing I could throw my pc out and never have to look at it again! LOL! I know this isn't in any way helpful...just thought I'd share!


Carol Webb said...

Wonderful post! Getting enthusiastic sometimes can be difficult. I always focus on plot, which can get me in trouble. I'm thinking if you can get excited about the characters you're writing about then maybe excitement for the rest of the story will follow.

I myself like the editing. That white space at times terrifies me. I just make myself sit at the computer and write, even if it is garbage. At least I can edit garbage into something better! Then after I force myself to sit down, ideas will start forming inside my head. I try to have faith that something will eventually come. At least something more than garbage!

Connie Flynn said...

Great post, Erin, and one that's near and dear to my heart. It does seem that most writers reach plateaus in their careers that require a re-evaluation, and if they ignore the clues their careers begin to go downhill, or often they quit. This is probably not one of those moments for you, it'a probably just an adrenalin crash because the book is done (yay!). But it's good you recognize that it may be a sign that you need to evaluate. And because you recognized it, others will too. Someone might even thank you for saving their career.

Erin Quinn said...

Caris, good to know I'm not alone in that urge to pitch the PC, lol!

Carol, I'm with you--love the rewriting processes. It's the creation that gives me hives.

Connie, you know, sometimes we just need to hear that others are going through the same thing and we're not alone (alone, alone, alone ) in our misery.

Maybe next month I'll be blogging about how I got over this slump, right? :)