Leaving the Known Paths

Though I’d been up since three AM because of fire alarms going off–due, I was told by the office people, because someone was cooking at that time of the morning–I wasn’t as tired as I expected.  There were things I should have worked on last night, but I screwed around in Blender while The Graduate played in the background.

This was prime writing time, and I missed it.

Well, I didn’t miss it:  I ignored it.  I could have been doing something worth while towards getting the next story started, and I potted it.  Save for a quick short story the first week of September, there hasn’t been anything new written since the end of July.

Yes, I know:  moving in August and then again in September, that takes a lot out of your available time and energy.  Still, last week I was ready to go, and this week as well, and though I want to write, I haven’t felt the need to make a story.

There has been a strange funk that’s laid over me for a while now.  Where I once had great need to write things, these days I feel like the person I once was:  the one who said they were a writer, but who only wrote stories in their head and never truly developed anything.  I know, in part, what’s driving this:  fear.  Not fear that one day I’ll be successful; oh, hell yeah, bring that on.  If I could make high five figures every year writing I’d be happy.

No, it’s the other fear.  The one where you spend a huge amount of time and energy putting something together, but when it’s over only you and a few other ever see the results.  Yes, I write because I want to see the story as a living, breathing thing.  But I would love to do this all the time, and do well enough that I could make a living penning entertainment for others.

It’s not an easy path; it’s a damn hard one, if you’ve ever done this for real.  The known paths are the easy ones, because they’ve been walked by everyone, so they’re nice and smooth and you don’t have any worry of getting lost because the path is so well trod.

This novel that’s next, it’s scary.  It’s something I’ve never tried before.  It’s a bit out of my comfort range because it’s huge, and I’m going places with it I’ve never gone before.  I just went over a list of characters in my head, and there’s twenty-seven characters with speaking parts in the novel–and I’ve probably missed a couple.  Sure, some of those characters won’t have more than a scene or two, but they are there . . . twenty-nine:  I missed a couple of students.  See how that works?

I’m off a lot of paths I’ve walked with this one, but I imagine that’s the way most writers are when they are starting something big and new.  By now one would think I’m used to this, but no:  I always feel a little apprehension when I start a story, because there’s always this notion that I’m going to end up writing something silly . . .

But I won’t know if it really is silly until I start, right?