Writer’s Cramp is the blog and site for B. Jenne’ Hall, writer, genius, and pathological optimist. She’s written her first book, is working on her second, and she’s trying to get published. Which from all accounts seems to be as approximately attainable as the gift of flight, but who doesn’t love a challenge?

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Book 2 and the impact of real life

Boy, Book 2 is not coming easy. I know where it begins and ends and have a pretty good idea of at least some of the plot points I want to cover in between. I have a clearer idea of the themes and character arcs than I did at this point in Book 1 (or for at least half of Book 1, for that matter). I’ve known the opening scenes of this book for almost 2 years now. And I now know these characters better than I know some of my real life friends and family.

So what the hell, Book 2?

Aside from the aforementioned opening scenes — which I wrote more than a year ago — and a pretty steamy (though not explicit) and intensely passionate scene that was the result of a fantastic brainstorming idea while I was at the coast around New Years’…I have very little to show of Book 2 at the moment. It’s not for lack of ideas, either, or knowing where it needs to go. Or excitement, for that matter. I don’t know what this is that has me kind of piddly-dinking around.

Writer’s Block? No, I don’t think so. I’ve had writer’s block before, and this doesn’t feel the same. I can feel the story in there, percolating, and hamsters that run the little wheels inside my brain are scurrying around as much as ever. Oh, I still have that undercurrent of panic that I imagine many writers experience when you don’t yet know exactly where the story is going and every little plot point and character evolution hasn’t been nailed down. But in general, I have a good grip on this story and what I want it to look like when I finish it.

I’ve alluded on here before to the impact of some real life stuff on my creative life, and though that real life stuff has been getting the attention it needs in order to keep me from wanting to rub soup in people’s hair, it’s still been interfering with my creative life. Time is always an issue, of course —  it’s always an issue for anyone who has to fit their writing life in the small gaps between a full-time job and a regular life — but more with my inner creative life. There’s a lot processing through my brain, and the last year has required a lot more brain power than usual. I’ve had to switch on the auxiliary power, so to speak.

I’m realizing now that it’s been obvious why I couldn’t get back into my writing groove. There just isn’t a lot of energy left for my creative spirit to draw from, and hasn’t been for awhile. Considering that creativity really draws a lot of power all on its own (since I’m apparently going with the whole power station metaphor here), the necessity of diverting some mental energy to other stuff has meant a blackout — or maybe a brownout — on the Creativity Power Grid.

What’s frustrating, however, is that it was the ability to retreat into writing that oftentimes gave me relief in the past from the same kinds of Life Stuff that’s intruded so much now. In the past, I would’ve used some of the power generated by the Creativity Power Grid to get through some of the energy shortages on the Life Power Grid. Except in this case, power’s being diverted away from the Creativity Power Grid, so it’s a problem that compounds itself.

Aaaaaand now that the power station analogy has been thoroughly beaten into the ground….

The point is, I’m not really where I want to be with Book 2 but as with most things in life, I don’t think there’s any shortcut around the hurdle that stands between me and making progress on Book 2. I’m going to have to actually clear that hurdle, or dismantle it. It’s frustrating, but journey, destination, yada yada. And maybe this is what I have to go through to make Book 2 (and 3) the stories they need to be.

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Reader Comments (2)

How you get there may be the worthier part, but you DO want to get there, and it's frustrating not to be moving towards "there" in any clear way.

I feel confident that you'll move through the zone you're in--for one thing, you've got several important pins in the map already, it sounds like. Good luck!

April 27, 2010 at 7:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnne Hawley

Anne: Thanks for the encouragement! It really is frustrating, but you're right that I'm Doing Things. It's good to remind myself of that, even when I feel like OMG WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG UNIVERSE?

May 29, 2010 at 9:14 PM | Registered CommenterWriter's Cramp

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