The Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Writing – and Composting

I call my writing style outrageous…

… wait.

Change that.  I call my working style outrageous.

I don’t write outrageously.  The words that come out onto the screen from my keyboard are not bizarre or out of this world or strange. It’s the way they come out that I think, I wonder, is different than other writers.

Or maybe not so different, but it is what it is.

I belong to a group on Facebook called “The Dragon’s Rocketship,” which is a wonderful, warm, welcoming place for those who write fantasy or science fiction. That group is also home to a number of talented writers, some who write the most brilliant original material and very prolifically. They are fully and deeply engaged in the process of writing all the time.

Every day.

I get so much inspiration and entertainment and joy from the snippets of their writing that they post – the previews, the “look at what I wrote today” bits. It’s like having a deep insight into the mind of some of my new favorite writers. It’s a joy and a blessing.

Yet, it’s a curse.

For you see I’m not writing every day. At least, I’m not writing something that’s ever going to be published. I’m not working on the sequel of Dry Land (although I tried to but nothing worked) or the next book that I plan on putting out there on Amazon or sending to an agent. I don’t even have a solid idea, really. Scratch that. I have some ideas. Had some as recently as yesterday. I always have ideas. I just don’t have one that I really want to write.

And that’s the key for me. Want.

With Dry Land, I visited the Kennedy Space Center and a few weeks later the idea for the book hit me full on like a ton of bricks. Right between the eyes. Slapped me across the mouth. All those phrases and cliches that describe when an idea grabs hold of your brain, and buries itself deep inside. It’s happened with other things I’ve written of a more fan fiction type of venue. And it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing when it does.

But it hasn’t happened since Dry Land.

I wish I had the impetus to just sit down and write. But to do so for me feels like a chore. It feels like I’m writing empty, hollow. I need to be passionate about a story. I need to have something that I can’t help but think about as I’m trying to sleep at night, or when I just wake up in the morning. I need to have something that invades my mind as I drive to work or back home. I need to WANT. I need… to need. I need that drive. That shove. That kick in the pants to write. To get the story that’s taking over my brain out of my brain.

If I don’t have that, to me, what I do write feels forced. Contrived.

So, if you ask me why I’m not writing my next book yet, that’s why. I don’t currently have anything new that’s given me drive to write it. No new character is currently screaming in my head to make me give him life in a book. No character is feeding me bits of dialogue. No scene is being impressed deeply into my mind.

And that’s okay.

A friend of mine just affirmed that for me. She likened my (and her) writing process to a compost pile (ewwww! I know). Right now, my compost is well… composting. It’s brewing and breaking down and settling in, thoughts mixing with experiences, mushing together with ideas and fermenting with inspiration. And one of these days, my mind will take a pitchfork, turn it over and it’ll be a mass of filthy, fly-ridden, stinking… erm. Wrong metaphor.

It’ll be a supply of fertile soil in which to plant my next book. But it needs time.

So, if my working style in writing is odd or outrageous, then it’s okay with me. I’ll be happy to sit back and watch my writer friends dig through their own piles and be joyous at how beautifully the seeds sprout life. Until mine is ready.

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