Sunday, December 21, 2008

Writer's Rust

Between teaching in Germany and then abruptly flying home for a family emergency, it has been several months since I wrote any fiction. I'm not an author prone to Writer's Block, which I define as emotional anxiety that prevents either working on a story-in-progress or beginning one despite a clear idea of the plot and characters. When I have a story in mind, I can usually work on it steadily, with frequent frustration but not keyboard-stilling anxiety. But last night I reread the opening to the YA fantasy that I stopped work on when I arrived in Germany, and discovered that I definitely have a case of Writer's Rust.

This feels approximately like the Tin Man in THE WIZARD OF OZ. I remember how forward motion felt, I want to move forward again, but as I read my paragraphs, I couldn't seem to get the writing machinery in gear. It creaked. It felt too unfamiliar. I couldn't move fluidly among my own words or concepts.

I have been through this before; it happens every time life forces me to stop writing for more than a month or two. Unfortunately, no Dorothy with an oil can is going to loosen me up. What's needed is a few weeks of daily application, of several hours a day, until the writing joints in the brain move freely again. Also unfortunately, this is not likely to happen until I return from Germany for the second time. So I put away Roger Kilbourne and his peculiar, fantastical mental problems until I am in position to attack the metaphorical ferrous oxide in my own brain.

But not without regret.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Walter Mosley: "5 pages of crap is better than zero pages of Pulitzer Prize winning writing."

Reminds me. I need to do some more writing myself.