by Marc Chagall, 1915
If you follow this blog, you know my fourth book, H.A.L.F.: The Deep Beneath was released in January (see more about that here). As I prepare to write my fifth novel, I am plagued with what has now become the familiar feeling of fear about the blank page. The worry of "can I do this" doesn't seem to go away no matter how many times I conquer the mountain of crafting a novel.
And lately there's an added feeling. At first it was a vague worry, but soon grew to outright fear.
Is the spark gone?
Is there such a thing as a well of creative energy that we draw from but which can run dry?
And that got me thinking about sex. I'll get back to the sex part in a minute, but first a bit more about writing.
While writing my first novel (Emily's House), I felt immersed in magic. Granted, Emily's House is about a girl with magical abilities and she goes to a mysterious other dimension and time travels and what not. It wasn't just the subject matter that was magical though.
The process itself was like falling into a rabbit hole. Frightful at first, yes. But oh how amazing as the mysteries were revealed. It felt like magic. I vividly recall sitting at my desk, writing feverishly, my fingers unable to keep up with my mind. It was as though I had been transported to a divine place called "Creativity", fueled by a meandering stream of the imagination.
While writing H.A.L.F.: The Deep Beneath (my fourth book), the dark hand of fear took hold of me. The writing was less feverish and more measured. Where was the feeling of divine "Creativity"? What happened to the meandering stream?
The process of writing was still pleasurable. In ways perhaps more so. I didn't stress so much about where to put things or if I was doing it right. I had experience to guide me.
Yet I had this nagging concern that because I did not feel the strange, mysterious upwelling of creative energy, the story was not going to be as good. Would the writing be flat?
But as I rewrote, revised, got feedback, rewrote again, revised, etc., I saw that I had, in fact, written my best novel yet. And my loyal readers agree with me. Their praise of my craft shows that my writing has gotten better, not worse.
And now what I promised. Talk of sex.
Writing a novel is like having sex.
You never forget your first time. The first time was likely awkward and fumbling. But memorable.
To a virgin, sex - like writing - is a mystery. You wonder about it, consider it. Think about it (a lot) and long for it. You imagine what it will be like (over and over again), picturing in your mind an amazing upwelling of passion that culminates in the most beautiful moment in your life.
Oh, the build up. The excruciating anticipation.
And then it happened and it was …
Nice. Or maybe just okay. For some, downright terrible.
But memorable. You always remember your first time. It was the time that the mysteries were revealed.
The thing about first times? They only happen once.
But if sex was never as good - as pleasurable - as the first time, some may never do it again. Instead, sex gets better with experience, not worse. And better and better. So we keep doing it because it doesn't stop feeling good. The pleasure does not end after the initial mysteries are revealed.
We discover more mysteries. It's no longer a meandering stream but a never-ending well of discovery.
The first time may be the most memorable, but practice makes perfect. For both writing and sex.
Did this article make you think about sex or writing? :-) Please feel free to share your thoughts but remember, this is a PG blog so please keep the comments clean.