Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Wall

When I sit before the keyboard, even when I do so with intent, I am never certain of what will come.  Sometimes ideas for stories arrive in bunches, all trying to shout loudest to gain the attention of that part of my brain that starts composting and composing (I often confuse the two since both require the ferment of everything I can recall.)  Sometimes I need to be working on a story on X subject that my mind, like an eager puppy, jumped on.  Other times I intend to deal with a completely different subject that screams so loudly for attention that I MUST try to write it.

And there's the rub. In the fervor  of enthusiasm I sometimes hastily begin to compose the masterpiece while the story idea is still fresh and will continue until exhaustion forces me to stop. Sometimes enough  residual energy remains that I am energized to continue to expand and enrich the draft when I next face the keyboard, but sadly, not always and, to be completely honest, hardly ever.

Yet when I touch the keys and begin seeking words equal to those that followed that initial burst of creativity I discover that they, more times than not, come hard.  Even when I fight to wrest every word that will propel the story forward I still fail.  Even attacking the draft from a different direction is to no avail. I am unable to recover that spark that made me so hastily write more words than I am now willing to abandon.  I question if I burned the candle of creativity too fiercely?  Should I have written for another hour or two?  Did I simply not think through the task I faced or fail to define the path the story had to take? No matter how much I try I cannot move the story forward yet am unwilling to admit defeat.

So the piece is shelved, trunked, or simply set aside, waiting for my return.... someday.

However, and often enough to feed my writing addiction, the words flow golden from my mind to the keyboard, each sentence perfectly formed and fraught with meaning. The prose created is crystal clear,  unambiguous, and well-defined. On these rare occasions, no matter how long I am away from it, I can return and continue to the very end.*  When it is finally submitted days after, I bask in the glow of a work well done.

But then comes another morning when I sit down to write.  Before I touch the keyboard I ask myself which will happen; will I face that impenetrable wall or not?

I never know until I begin.

*Usually after only four or five edits


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