Last year I had a long hiatus from writing when I experienced several deaths in my family. I was frozen, unable to write even a grocery list.
I can relate to the post today by my guest, M.H. Vesseur. And like he points out, the writing hiatus, while painful to get through, can yield a better story. I call it percolation of ideas. And like with coffee, percolating can be a good thing.
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If you can’t keep up with Steven Spielberg, try Stanley Kubrick
by M.H. Vesseur
|Snow Forest, by M.H. Vesseur|
The true test of authorship is not when things are going smooth. It is when something gets in the way of you and your writing. And when it stays that way for a long time. Did that ever happen to you? It happened to me recently and I learned a valuable lesson in its wake. I’m happy to share it with you here.
“If you can’t fix it you’ve got to stand it”
Because of an extremely busy time at my work I felt compelled to abandon the writing of a novel for approximately six months in a row. It is simply too painful to long for writing and see it blocked time after time, day after day. My work needed my full attention so it was better for my peace of mind to pause the spin-off novel I had just started. The thought that kept me going, is the closing line from the short story Brokeback Mountain by E.A. Proulx: “There was a large open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe, but nothing could be done about it and if you can’t fix it you’ve got to stand it.”
Henry Kissinger was right
So I pushed the novel and everything connected to it to the back of my head. Not that this was easy. Nor was I happy about it. I just kept the thing deep inside, while I attacked my work like a robot. Like Henry Kissinger said: “The urgent drives out the important.”
Then, after a month or so, something unexpected happened. Somewhere in the deep of my unconscious, the unfinished novel kept crawling around. Ideas for plot enhancements and character enhancements started to float to the surface and present themselves to me. It happened to me in a streetcar looking out the window. It happened in the shower. Doesn’t matter. I wasn’t thinking about plot enhancement or character enhancements, I swear! I thought I had the story figured out, thought I knew where I was going.
But my subconscious showed me new ways to write it. The story that was supposed to be “on hold”, had started to move around in my head. From it came ideas way beyond my normal way of working. From it came the desire to up the ante.
If you can’t be Steven Spielberg, be Stanley Kubrick
After seven months I was able to reboot my writing. It started terribly slow, but I was happy to pick up where I left off, with a new attitude. As I write this guest post, I’m reminded of the difference between filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick. While Spielberg makes movies in a dazzling tempo (frankly I’ve stopped counting), Kubrick tossed ideas and screenplays around for years and years. They were both successful in their own way. Kubrick didn’t really want to work on a movie for eight years, it just happened to him. But the slow pace surely influenced his body of work. Stuff happened that doesn’t happen to Spielberg because he works so fast. I’m sure this applies to Stephen King as well. They’re all champions in their field, I must add. It’s just that if you slow down, unexpected things might happen.
So if you’re ever in a situation where you are unable to write for a longer period of time, relax and let it happen. Letting go of your writing goals for a while can trigger underlying thoughts to surface. Stuff worth giving a chance. You’ll be writing again before you know it, and probably be better at it.
|Acid Asset by M.H. Vesseur|
Carl Pappas, the bizz jockey, is feeling good about the prospects of environment-friendly plastics he’s discussing on his radio show “The Boardroom”. But as he soon finds out there’s something not right with the company behind it. Can the bizz jockey protect a lonely scientist against the schemes of a large corporation that smells money? Or will he be unable to stop a revolutionary asset from becoming really acidic? Buckle up for a race against arsonists, corporate crime, dogs, bullets and a dangerous industrial zone in the middle of a blizzard, softened only by some real team spirit. Available in every Amazon store as ebook.
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Unexpected ideas can come from the fog of a writing pause.You can connect with M.H. Vesseur here:
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