Know When to Walk Away
I have been slowly mucking my way through a book, two books actually. One that I am reading, and one that I am writing. And in the case of the latter, The Glass Forest, I have come to a decision.
I'm walking away.
Maybe it is as Elizabeth Gilbert described in Big Magic, and the story (or the muse behind it) has simply left me and gone elsewhere. Perhaps it will be back someday. Perhaps it will never return. But I know for sure it isn't here now.
For the past three weeks, I have sat at the computer and tried and tried and tried to finish The Glass Forest. I know where the story is going, I've written more than 2/3 of it, eleven more books with basic outlines to follow it, and I cannot find it in me to continue.
I don't know.
Every time I try, my brain goes sideways. I've literally spent the past three days on one chapter. And not writing or even really rewriting, mind you, just a sentence or two at a time before my thoughts wander, and I'm seized with the overwhelming desire to do something, anything, but what I am "supposed to be doing" - a.k.a. finishing the book at hand.
I mentioned up above that I have been mucking my way through two books. The one that I'm reading is just as hard-going. The title of it, entertainingly enough, is Dear Writer, Are You Intuitive?
And the answer to that, especially after today, is absolutely YES. I don't have to have a good reason to stop writing in The Glass Forest even if I have spent the past three weeks telling myself I just needed to knuckle down and finish it. My intuition has been screaming that fact for three weeks and I've been ignoring it, tilting at windmills.
And I really, really hope that someday I will return to it. It's a cool story and it seems like a waste of a lot of words, time and energy, not to finish writing the book. I'm a pretty down-to-earth person and I really hate walking away from all that work, but I'm done trying to force it to happen.
And at the risk of sounding completely woo-woo and off my rocker, the deciding factor was this...
Today, I sat down and said to myself, "I need to figure out whether I need to keep going on Glass Forest, or pick another project and work on that."
I wrote down the four titles I've had in mind - Glass Forest (my current work in progress), Broken Code (3rd book in my romantic thriller series), Zarmina's World (the last book of my sci-fi series) or Quit Your Job, Change Your Life (a self-help book I've been working on and off on since I took life coach training some 12-13 years ago). I then shuffled my deck and set a card facedown by each title.
The Glass Forest - The Devil
Broken Code - Ace of Wands
Zarmina's World - Seven of Swords
Quit Your Job, Change Your Life - Seven of Wands
Now some of you are going to scream "witchcraft!" And others are going to roll your eyes and tell me I've just gone over the "woo-woo" cliff. And that's cool, because, after all, YOU aren't the one spinning your wheels trying to write a stinking book, I am. And let me tell you, I have been feeling rather desperate for answers here.
For the rest of you, you are probably like me. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle of the extremes when thinking of tarot. I tend to believe that it accesses that which we already know about ourselves and just needed confirmation of. Whether you consider that intuition or common sense, the result is inevitably the same.
So here goes...
Devil card - A situation not worth trying to fix or heal. Walk away, despite temptation to stay.
Fine. Done. Not finishing The Glass Forest. But what project to take on next?
The sevens were both negative as well, one spoke of problems, the other of obstacles. So a big nope to both of those.
The Ace of Wands, indicates beginnings, new energy, and is considered a very happy card for creatives, for inspiration, and knowing what to do next. And Broken Code, as I mentioned, is a romantic thriller, so I had to smile when the tarot guide went on to say that it is considered a phallic symbol. Well, by all means, when writing romance, bring the phalluses on.
So there you are. Finishing energy, no matter how much I wanted it, was unwilling to appear for me in regards to The Glass Forest. So, tomorrow, I begin work on Broken Code. Shane and Lila will return for an encore!
And I leave you with this quote from Stephen King (and a thank you to my dear husband who quoted it to me enough that I had to go and find it)...
“The wind blows and the story comes. Then it stops blowing, and all I can do is wait, same as you. They think I'm in charge, every one of them from the smartest of the critics to the most mentally challenged reader. And that's a real hoot. Because I'm not.”
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