Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Did you just look at me funny?



Well, did you?

Sorry. You’ve caught me on a bad day. I feel like picking a fight.

The picture I present to the world is of a fairly mild mannered mother of two, but at the moment I am a seething mass of irritation. I am a veritable cauldron of misanthropy. The man in a van [isn't it always] who cut me up at the roundabout earlier? The stroppy teenage shop assistant who ignored me because she was too busy texting? The dog owner who failed to pick up after his mutt?
Toast, all of them. At least in my mind.

The reason for all this bile is that I’m what you might call between projects. If I was an actor I could say I was resting. Basically, I have no writing work in progress. And because of this, I am B-O-R-E-D.

OK, I know it sounds a bit pathetic. It's not like I never moan when I AM writing something. I just miss having a story to think about when I’m in the shower, or driving the car or washing the dishes. No offence to the wonderful people in my life. It's just more fun having the made- up ones too.

You’re probably going to say, 'Write something then'. And it’s great advice, which I've always taken in the past. The trouble is that I’m at a bit of crossroads with my genre right now. I'm currently in the process [the brutal, hideous process] of submitting my second attempt at a children's book. I've had the usual highs and lows [and then more lows] and am still a long way from the end, but it’s hard to think about another story at the moment. I need a bit of hard evidence that I'm any cop at this genre. Don’t fancy writing adult stuff [anything longer than 40,000 words? shudder] and I’m hopeless at short stories.

The other thing you're probably thinking [especially if you are at that hard midway point of your own WIP and it's like pulling teeth] is that I should enjoy the break. ‘Go to some exhibitions!’ you might say, or 'Take a bit of time to recharge your batteries!’ And I know that’s brilliant advice too, honestly I do.
I just don’t feel like it. I prefer to do those things when I have a story simmering on the back burner as well.

I know that some time soon I’m going to open a file and just write something, ANYTHING, in order to restore my usual optimism in life.

But in the meantime I’m just off to find a small guy to hit.

16 comments:

Geraldine Ryan said...

Caroline, I understand perfectly where you're coming from with this. I feel distinctly out of sorts when I'm not writing. I can only think that it's something akin to what drug addicts go through. Something is missing and life won't be back to normal until I get that missing piece of my life - a story idea.

Yes, you can go out and see your friends, watch films, see a show etc etc but you won't enjoy them half as much as if you would if you'd got an idea on simmer.

Samantha Tonge said...

Yes, i can understand those feelings,Caroline. But my worry now is that they've driven me, in the past, to move on from a project too quickly, when really i should be concentrating on yet another major rewrite or some more fine polishing. So this time i'm fighting the urge to scribble down something new.

Great post!

Brian Keaney said...

It happens to us all - the in between books stage when you are plagued by gloom, self doubt and panic. I find the best thing to do is to read. It gives you something else to think about and you can still call it work.

Luisa Plaja said...

Step away from the small guys!

Great post, and sending lots of sympathy. Reading sounds like a good idea - or, in your case, even MORE reading?! :)

Susannah Rickards said...

Hi Caroline,
Sympathies. Something odd happens when a script we've invested in goes out into the world. It's so hard to write a line until you get feedback.

But I agree with the end of your post. Just open a book and write anything. Write your mild mannered mother makes toast of nearby strangers slasher :). Even just wittering away on the page about needing to fold the laundry sometime before the next decade can help a new project take form, I find.

Hope you get a positive response to the book.

S

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Oh, I so relate to this, Caroline - thank you! 'Out of sorts' sums it up beautifully. When there's a creative 'project' on the go, it's as if there's this underground river flowing in my life, secretly but strongly. When it dries up, I feel like I'm not doing what I'm 'meant' to be doing. It's a horrible, empty, dry feeling. I think it's a matter of timing. There will come a time when that dam that's been built in your unconscious will break down by the sheer force of accumulated creative water, and you'll be off again. Meanwhile, I suspect the only answer is to wait, read, write what you can and enjoy the world outside. Hope the flow returns very soon.

CarolineG said...

Thank you so much, everyone, for your comments. There is always a feeling, when posting about these things, that this time you really will be the only person who feels that way! But it never seems to be the case. Good suggestions here, although as Luisa suggests, I'm already a fairly obsessive reader [you really don;t want to see what I'm like if I'm feeling like this AND reading an unsatisfying book!].
But I think writing something may be the only answer...must get onto that 'mild mannered mother makes toast of nearby strangers slasher'...

Emily Gale said...

Definitely identify with this, Caroline. And I thought it would all go away when I started a new novel - but I'm still moody...so now I'm hoping it'll be better when I've passed the 10k mark and I'm really in the swing of it...I'll let you know :) In the meantime, grrrrrrr, etc!

Roderic Vincent said...

Hi Caroline,

I totally relate to this too. Am in limbo at the moment having lost the way with my current project. Reading is good. Playing internet poker is the worst possible response: that way lies writerly ruin. It's far worse than binge drinking, which at least has creative side-effects. Playing several poker tournaments simultaneously is a very bad sign.

CarolineG said...

Emily and Rodster, maybe we all need to have the equivalent of an online party to cheer ourselves up. I'll bring the cheesy pineapple hedgehog and some twiglets...

Susannah Rickards said...

Fantastic idea but why online Caroline?

I feel another Writebirds meet up coming on. Emily, you game to pop over from Oz again?

CarolineG said...

Count me in. And I promise to leave my cheesy hedgehog at home.

Susannah Rickards said...

Oh. I thought we could all wear our cheesy hedgehogs on our lapels so we'd recognise each other.

CarolineG said...

I'm afraid I've already eaten mine :)

Susannah Rickards said...

LOL

Ho hum. Guess we'll just have to build those Twiglet Eiffel Towers and bring them as ID.

Fionnuala Kearney said...

Great post Caroline! I know you;ve heard it before but this is the time when the ideas strike. Relax, breathe deep and have a pen nearby.