On Slow-Filling Aquifers

I have a blog post mostly written, which I was going to post yesterday. I got distracted before finishing it, thank goodness. When I went back to finish it, I realized that it was not so much a blog post as it was a message. Sent from my subconscious to my waking mind, I needed a little time and distance to recognize it as such. I shelved that post and wrote this one instead.

What was the message? It's best interpreted as, "Stop trying to be a writer. Either BE a writer or give it up entirely and move on to other pursuits."

My writing is on hiatus for a while. Attentive readers of this blog (if any still exist) will note that my blogging is, too. With NaNoWriMo looming on the horizon, I'm left to wonder if that's exactly the kind of kickstart I need, or if it's only another gasp of onanistic futility.

The truth is that I've got nothing. I can tell you what I'm thinking and feeling at any given moment, but it seems I've completely misplaced my ability to make up things about people and places that don't exist. With that absence of ability comes, not just a reluctance to once again stare at a blank screen, but a fearful recoiling from the writing process.

Everything besides writing feels more relaxing, more pleasurable. What gives me pause (and what makes me continue to hope I might one day be able to write again) is that few other things are more satisfying, or give me anything close to the sense of accomplishment. After fighting this hiatus, this down time, this forced literary layoff, I've decided to give in to it and take rest from it. Willfully eating lotuses? Perhaps, but I find myself on an island where lotuses are the only things to eat.

Why so dry, guy? It's possible that my aquifer is just slow in refilling, but it's also possible that my life has too many fresh wells drawing too much water. For that, I have to wait for the world to turn and turn and turn again before I can again take up my pen.

||| Comments are welcome |||
Help keep the words flowing.


  1. doesn't most people go through these kind of phases where you just can't do that one thing you want to do? I don't see it as writer's block as I'm sure, some people do think it is. I think you just need time to do other things and get back to writing later, right?

    hope you get back to your writing soon. have a great day.

    1. Thanks, Lissa. I'm trying not to see this as writer's block, but it's certainly a real phenomenon. There's nothing fake or Munchausen about it.

  2. I did the same thing a while back. I hardly wrote anything for six months, then one day I sat down and hey presto! a story came out of my fingers.

    "They" (you know, "them") say the best thing to do is write the next book. Sometimes, the best thing to do is go out and do stuff. Something will happen to give you the prod, and you'll be writing without even realizing. For example, I got to swing an honest to God scythe this weekend (much faster than a weedeater for thicker weeds, it turns out), and I'm sure it will find its way into a story at some point.

    So don't despair. Just go with it, call it a break, and enjoy yourself while you're waiting for the writing spark to rekindle.

    1. Every now and then, I get a glimmer, but nothing that ever lasts more than a few sentences. I'm trying to enjoy the time away, learning as much as I can about my own writing processes while I'm not writing.

      I used a scythe once. They're amazing, aren't they? You can easily see how a team of guys could mow down 100 acres of wheat back in the old days. It also brings life to that old metaphor from World War I, "went through them like a scythe".

  3. Anyone who can toss Homeric references in as casually you can, Tony, has something to say that's worth hearing. Or, at least, is able to say it in an interesting way.

    A slow-filling aquifer. Could be. I do like the image. Perhaps because my own blog has withered for lack of input from me. Perhaps because my own writing is flowing like treacle. Or perhaps because the image is striking in and of itself.

    Re-reading your last paragraph, Tony, I'm struck by the poetry of it. Enjoy your hiatus. Be relaxed with it.

    When the world has turned enough you can again pick up your pen and illuminate the world for us anew.

    1. Thanks, Kevin. Turns of phrase and decent paragraphs, I can still manage. It's running together long strings of coherent narrative that is failing me at the moment.

      And I'm glad someone got the reference to Odysseus. I was prepared to let that go flat as an incomprehensible throwaway, but it's nice that it connected. ;-)

  4. I think creativity comes in phases, a bit like the seasons. Perhaps you're just in the winter phase at the moment, which means spring is always coming.

  5. Nothing wrong with taking some time to let the well refill. Writer sometimes becomes a label we try to live up to, when really you just need to do whatever makes you happy. Don't worry about it, but for the record I check your blog almost every week for new stories. Just be happy doing whatever makes you happy.


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