Friday, October 12, 2007

Surrendering to Fiction

I've got a bout of fiction writing coming on. I can feel it coming, almost like you can tell when you're getting the flu.

I'm kidding with that last analogy...well, sort of kidding. There's a combination of feelings for me when I think about sitting down to write stories. Some of it is birthday-coming-soon excitement. But these days, it's tinged a bit with dread too. I think it's because I have gotten out of the habit of writing fiction. It's a completely different animal from writing prose, no matter how much I enjoy that endeavor and how creative it can be. Making myself drop into fiction is a deeper sort of surrender. When I am really "into" a story, it takes huge amounts of reserve energy (and my reserves seem low). That's probably why I haven't done it as much in recent energy is going toward other things. That's not necessarily bad, but I miss the excitement and exhaustion and exhilaration of story writing.

And for the first time in a long time, stories are coming again. I'm dreaming and daydreaming about some characters I haven't visited with in years. I'm hearing story thoughts and character voices (don't worry...I'm not hearing actual voices, just finding myself imagining dialogue between characters while I'm doing other things like cooking or cleaning or showering). I've even got a couple of rather strong visual images floating around in my mind, and they're clamoring to be pinned on paper, always a bit terrifying.

And I am procrastinating. Faced with computer time this afternoon, a whole blessed hour of it, I frittered it away. Productive frittering (homeschool planning, recipe gathering, email sending...and oh yes, blogging). But lurking in the background is that realization that I am doing everything I can to do-si-do my way around the blank page that's just asked me to dance.

I need to curtsy, surrender to the music, and get on with it.

Ever stood on this creative cliff yourself? What do you do to make yourself jump? I'd love to hear!


Erin said...

Oh, my, have I ever... Actually, I've been avoiding fiction all year. I've got this book I've been trying to write, but I seem to be at a total stand-still. I've always been sort of a write-as-you-go person rather than planning it out ahead of time, so I find myself with a lot of half- (or one-twentieth...) finished stories...

That's great that fiction is courting you, though! ;) My best advice is... don't follow my example! :-P For me, I always am most motivated to write when it's with the idea of sharing it with a particular person. I've given a lot of stories as Christmas or birthday presents; that way I have both a definite deadline to keep me on task and an ideal reader in mind to help me focus...

Beth said... that's a good idea! Think of the story as a gift and decide to give it to someone, then make sure I have a deadline. That's not one I've ever tried, I don't think (at least not with stories...I've written poems as gifts before).

I really do feel wired and almost giggly when I contemplate writing fiction right now, so it IS sort of like being wooed. ;-) My fiction muse hasn't been around much in recent years, so it's nice to hear from him again.

I'll let you know I manage to take the dive...the really deep down diving-est dive....soon. The weekend has been really full and I've legitimately not had time to write (I'm stealing minutes here when I should be working with my class). But I'm hoping I've not talked myself too far back from the edge. I still want to jump!