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