Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Thought on Cycles

I’ve noticed that during the course of writing novels, I go through a cycle. Many writers seem to have similar cycles: there’s the point of conception, the drama and inspiration as you start a new book. This gives way slowly to a realization that things aren’t as they should be.

Ideas aren’t working together anymore, story threads are fraying, characters haven’t been fully realized. The momentum lags. The novel staggers. You, the writer, plod. Then – oh joy! – a breakthrough. You do good for a while, then let yourself go. The novel sags; you push hard to fix it.

I’ve also noticed a bigger type of cycle, one that spans my entire writing career. I seem to be caught in this epic struggle between improving the quality of my writing, which leads to inner-editor madness and eventual long-terms of writer’s block; and between improving the quantity of my writing, which gets me plenty of books, but none that are worthy of publication. It’s frustrating because I feel like I’m covering the same ground over and over.

Despite all this I sense an upward trend. When I track my high points and my low points, I notice that the highs are always a little greater than last time, and the lows aren’t quite so low. I think this is due to two things: the sheer passage of time, and also, my real growth as a writer.

Being a novelist is discouraging. You struggle to get published. If you are published, you struggle to stay published. It seems that our failures outrank our successes. But hey. It’s a cycle. I understand that you’re blocked again, that it’s been on and off like this for the past three months, that this is where you were last year – it’s a big cycle. Big cycles just take more time.

Be honest, now. Are you giving yourself that time?


- Creative A 

1 comment:

aaroncrocco said...

I totally agree with the cycle. I think the biggest reason we all fall into this trap is because writing is a solitary hobby / job. We don't do this around people and can't get motivation from an office filled with people. We have to constantly self-motivate and push ourselves.

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