Refilling the Well

If you haven’t noticed by my posts, I’ve been struggling with my writing lately. And though in various posts over the past three months I have opined as to why, I think I have finally truly hit the biggest nail on the head.

I have neglected to “refill the well”, as they say.

For a while, I didn’t want to admit this as a possibility. I don’t know why. I guess I thought I was some super-creative-machine that never needed more than a day to get back to that place where I wanted to write. So, I blamed it on not writing every day, or fear of rejection, or all of these little things. Sure, they add to it, but I think the real bone deep reason for struggling is I was plain old burnt out.

You see, from the summer of 2010 until August of this year, my output was pretty high. I was writing like a fiend, partially because I lost my job in spring of 2010 and only got a part time one for the winter 2010-2011. There was a real impetus there to make these dreams of publication real (and more time), so I didn’t have to feel guilty about not going back to work.

I used that impetus to write more words than I had in approximately the ten years before that combined. Really. Part of it was the exhilaration of submitting, entering contests, getting feedback, finding a CP who gave amazing feedback even when it was hard to hear. I was learning, growing, evolving.

So, why did that come to a screeching halt in August of this year? Why didn’t signing a contract for an MS in September reignite that spark? Why was November a daily battle with finding words that didn’t totally, completely suck?

Because, I was worn down and out. Part of it is perception. Those words I wrote in November? According to my CP, who I guess I have to trust, they aren’t as bad as I think. So, my mind isn’t clear or as unbiased as it needs to be.

But I think a bigger part of it is really needing to refuel. I think I thought of that before, but I was afraid of stopping. Afraid of taking a break. Afraid of a million and one things. I kept wanting to soldier and push on.

But what if I don’t? What if I take a break? What if I immerse myself in not just books I want to read, but books on craft? What if I take a break from judging every single word against the possibility of publication. What if I just… rest for a bit? Until I’m eager to write again. Until there are a million ideas pounding into my brain again? Until I feel that impetus to write like the wind again?

What if I wait?

It’s a scary prospect. We’re always told we’re supposed to power through, to keep writing,  to always put words to paper even when it’s hard.

But what if I give myself full permission not to? Will I not be a writer anymore? Will I never want to write again? Will my career as a writer die before it even begins?

I don’t have the answers to all these questions, but I think I’m going to go download a few books tonight (even though I promised myself I’d wait until Christmas) and just let myself breathe. If I want to write (and have the time to) I will. If I don’t, I won’t. And for a while, I’ll see where that takes me.

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