Originally Posted: September 10, 2012
It takes a lot of courage to look—to really look I mean, at work you did a week, a month, a year ago. To sink down and breathe, trying to locate the impulse that brought this image or character or phrase to life in the first place… At least, that’s how it is for me.
I’ve been away from my writing for almost a month and now, trying to return, I’m experiencing all the familiar doubts—all the questions about whether this was any good, or whether I had anything important to say… And even if I did have something to say, does anyone care to hear it? And what was it I was trying to capture? It wasn’t a shout or a proclamation that sparked these characters to life, but something much quieter and more green; a question, a nagging, half-forgotten memory, an impulse like the gentle tug at the end of a mile-long fishing line.
If you’ve been away for a while, like i have, you may even wonder if it’s gone now–whatever image first brought you to your story. Chances are, though, it’s still there… given time, and a strong dose of forgiveness.
Just like coming back home after a spell away, you must resist the impulse to stare at everything with an overly critical eye. You must give yourself a moment or two to fall back in love with characters and places you may not have seen for a while..
As Walter Mosley says, the ‘real’ world, with all its lists and demands, all its banter and bills and bustle, will every day threaten to smother the small but living pulse of your writing… But given time and compassion–a few days in a row of showing up and being present and curious–the spark will almost certainly re-ignite.
Posted by: Dori