I haven’t written any fiction in over a month. Not a poem, not a story. Nothing.
The last time I tried, the whole experience was fraught with pressure and guilt, me sitting there at the computer talking to myself: Come on, come on, you can do this. Write something. Anything.
The occasion was a Halloween short story contest in a writer’s group I belong to. The group hosts these sorts of things several times a year, and generally I like to do them because they impose deadlines, and I most definitely work harder when I have a deadline and someone to (potentially) disappoint on the other end.
Anyway, the participants were all given a story seed: some image or phrase that was supposed to be woven into the story. My seeds were the Ivy League, a woman who used to be a twin, and a lonely knot. You could choose from among your seeds or use them all.
And I had nothing. I sat at my computer for days; started story after story, then deleted what I had written. I stressed over it, cried a little bit, and then I made a decision.
I just put that bag down and walked away.
2015 will go down as my most successful writing year to date. I’ve had six stories and eight poems appear in various places. I wrote a good bit more. I graduated with a Master’s degree. I just needed to give myself permission to let that be enough.
Since then I’ve read books, worked in my garden, and watched a lot of TV and movies. The ideas, the voices and the stories, are coming back, swirling around in my mind, whispering in my ear. This week I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner for nearly 20 people, so I’ll be busy as hell. Still, the words are coming back, so I might just sneak out for a while to write.
Today might be the day.