Jan Stafford Kellis

It Doesn’t Look Like I’m Writing…

I started writing my third book. It’s roughly outlined and I have extensive disjointed notes designed to capture my bright ideas in cryptically phrased snippets. I already know the contents of the table of contents and the appendix. I even have a list of glossary words! But I’m at a standstill.

I haven’t written more than a paragraph in the past week.

Of course, writing involves mental effort and angst and mind stretching brainstorming sessions. The physical act of writing or typing is the only visible proof that such activity has occurred, but it’s difficult to measure the hours spent agonizing over each word in the first sentence before it is recorded for the first time (I’ll revise it several times before exposing it to another reader).

I’m hoping this slump is actually a subconsciously energetic session of word jockeying and theme building, and tomorrow I’ll start writing chapters at a time, so compelling I’ll be unable to close the laptop and focus on the view outside the window. I’ll probably wake up in the middle of the night to record some ephemeral notion, earmarked for inclusion in a specific passage. It’s time to focus. Again, hoping the subconscious has been fine tuning all along.

A speaker at the seminar I recently attended in Madison, Wisconsin said (I’m paraphrasing): Every writer experiences an uncontrollable urge, a compulsion, a desire within their soul, to write. Every writer absolutely can not survive without writing and must do so every single day, except right now.

She went on to assure us our subconscious minds are working on our craft even when our fingers aren’t, and we should relax and allow our powerful, magical minds to operate and eventually produce pitch perfect prose.