Friday, January 8, 2010

Not Writers' Block, but Writers' Rest. You get that, I know.

Back to normal after the whirlwind of the holidays, right? Well, not me. I thought I'd immediately get back to Summer Must End, but I haven't. I've been incredibly lazy, mentally - lolling about on the couch watching daytime (!) TV, playing computer games, browsing on eBay, dabbling in the kitchen, sewing, crocheting. For Pete's sake, this is a writer's life? Surely not! It must stop, this literary idleness. My poor characters are still stuck at Christmas morning, where they were when I left them on December 1.

I repeat that I don't have Writers' Block. What I have is Writers' Rest.  This is a new term I'm coining to illustrate that period in a writer's life when the story is rich and rewarding, and absolutely ready, but in no particular hurry to emerge. It can only be better when it does appear. It will be like soaking fruit in sweet rum or brandy (Rumtopf) for a long, long time, and each day it gains a more intense flavor, more richness, when you finally pluck it out to savor.  Well, that's what I tell myself anyway.

So enough about the novel. I just heard from a friend I haven't seen or spoken to in fifteen years. What a delight that was. My usual weekly or monthly emails to friends are more or less the same content, as nothing huge happens during the down time - except when you pick up an agent here, you buy an antique there, sell the odd painting... But leave it for a decade or so, and you have real news! This initial contact just touched the tip of the iceberg and there'll be a great deal of catching up to do, but this first one was amazing. I had checked her "Message Source" first, because I thought she was one of those very polite Somalian or Nigerian emailers who use the subject of "Dearest Frances, Remember Me?" or stuff like that. (I avoid opening things with such overly-affectionate references.)

My friend Googled me! What a wonderful system of friend-recovery we have with search engines, especially if we're prolific with online words. I belong to Facebook, but it's never done much for me, as I use it only to stay in touch with a handful of friends and my children, and it's not open to the public. Sometimes I consider cancelling it (not as straightforward as you think), but it's not hurting anyone, that little page of mine. My blogs are posted there, so perhaps one of my kids will look at one out of the blue. The world is full of surprises.

In my current Writers' Rest period, emails and blogs are okay for me. I am in idle mode, warming the engine before I begin the final journey with this current novel.  I have no doubt at all that you understand exactly what I'm saying, so I'm not even going to ask what you think. I know you all so well, and I know you get that.

From now on, I'll be mentioning TWO long-distance friends who've been there for me over the years, through thick and thin - my friend in New Zealand, along with my friend in Oz. I'm not even going to mention how long I've known them. We girls have to maintain some mystery.

Have a good one. Give your friend a hug. You've no idea how lucky you are.


~Sia McKye~ said...

I like that phrase. Writers Rest. And really, it's more apt that writer's block, because you are giving yourself time to rest. Usually, I find other creative things to do that will keep the creative door open and it will jumpstart my writing muse. Sometimes, while doing other things, my brain is hard at work on what I'm writing, or solving a problem with a character or plotline. So really, it's not wasted time.

I have found that some things one faces does short circuit the creative muse for awhile, but I don't fight with her, I just find other things to do until she's ready to work. By that time, I'm recharged too. :-)

Melissa Marsh said...

What a very apt phrase. I understand it completely. I, myself, have been going through such a period, though I am longing to get back to the page now.

Fran said...

OK, Melissa - I'm challenging you. I'm ending my REST today!

And Sia, I said I knew you guys get it. Writer's Block is so passe...

Johanna said...

OK...I think your writer's rest is catching! It makes me feel better to know someone else has it. I think from now on, I'm just going to take off Thanksgiving through Jan. 15th as a mental vacation without the guilty feeling!

Fran said...

Johanna, enjoy it without guilt. I knew I struck a chord with this.