|The Real Green Gables|
Since I last posted, I’ve resettled into a writing routine (as of right now!). What am I working on? A third Marielle novel, this one set on Prince Edward Island. (By the by, exactly one year ago today I arrived on P.E.I. to begin my own adventure there.) I don’t want to share many details too soon because details tend to be fickle and whimsical, but for now, the novel is going well. I know I should be optimistic, but, honestly, I’m holding my breath about how its progress will continue, because for the several months that I’ve had this idea and begun working on it, it evaded my interest and enthusiasm.
Surely you’ve also felt completely unmotivated about working on a project that you know you should be excited about. Days and weeks go by, and you’re feeling more and more unhappy about being “forced” to do it until you just want to slide it off your plate into the trashcan. That was me with this novel. Friends had made some suggestions that added to the plot, and I thought I was set. I began to peck at it but couldn’t manage much, especially on the days I did my editing jobs. I realized this couldn’t go on – either I’d have to get serious about it or drop it altogether. I went with the former because I knew there needed to be a third Marielle installment. And now, several weeks later, it’s captured my heart and I love writing it.
How did I get to that point? If you’re trying to overcome reluctance to work on one of your own projects, writing or otherwise, maybe something here might help:
- After hours of editing, I couldn’t stand to be on the computer anymore once I was done for the night. So I pulled out a good old-fashioned notebook and handwrote a few pages. It was slow, but at least it was progress, and a change of place and position loosened up my creativity.
- Tweaking what I’d already written to match the new plot ideas gave me a context for picking up where I left off after a long absence.
- Photos fed my visual-hungry brain and reminded me why I love Prince Edward Island.
- Research answered some questions and helped me craft atmosphere and details.
- Reminiscing about my own P.E.I. trip gave me inspiration for characters and settings.
- Poetry made me fall in love with words and imagery all over again, and writing tips made me want to try them out on my own creative work.
- Reading some of L. M. Montgomery’s beautiful writing (the P.E.I. author of Anne of Green Gables) inspired me more than anything else – after all, she is the person who ignited my work-in-progress in the first place.
So the next time I feel stuck, I hope can remember to take the time to search for inspiration to fill up my dry well. If we have nothing to draw from, how can we keep producing?
What do you do when you feel stuck?