Looking for the Words

I’m going through a little dry spell.  I know it isn’t full-blown writer’s block because I’ve played that game before and it wasn’t fun.  And it isn’t a lack of ideas either.  In fact, it’s a dearth of ideas, a plethora of ideas, and utterly overwhelming torrential down pour of ideas – this is part of the problem.  And it’s weird, might I add.  The source of the problem is me.  Despite all the ideas, every time I write something this week I hate the way it sounds.  Nothing is coming out right, and nothing feels like it’s flowing the way that it should.  I am off balance and it is frustrating the ju-ju-bees out of me.

I’ve tried working on a variety of projects – I typically have three or four books going at once – but that just made everything sound muddy in my head, if mud has a sound that is.  I think it does – that kind of sloshing/slurping/slobbery sound made when your shoe sinks into it and you have to defy the laws of physics to get your shoe back.  That’s how everything I’m writing this week sounds to me: messy, gloppy, and sloggy.

Part of the problem is that I’m so overwhelmed by work right now that I can barely keep my days and nights straight.  Seven classes is just too many, and I should never have agreed to this schedule.  But I did, and for the remaining six weeks of the quarter, I’m stuck with it.


Another part of the problem is that I know that in six weeks I will be making some dramatic changes.  Actually, the changes start next week when I go to Connecticut and start training as an instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature.  The excitement I’m feeling at getting this new direction in my life is taking away my focus from writing.  And last night I turned in my resignation to one of my teaching jobs.  I know it’s going to take them by surprise, and there is some apprehension on my part about the reaction I’m going to get from my resignation letter.  I wasn’t obnoxious or anything, I just don’t think they are expecting me to completely quit.  Cut back – yes, but not to completely quit teaching for them.

Another part of my distraction is that last weekend (as I wrote about previously) I saw an old friend from high school.  I’m not sure why I’m so discombobulated over the whole experience,

but I keep replaying it in my head, and experiencing the same nervousness I used to feel in high school when a cute guy talked to me.  I’m going to tap into this at some point and use it in a book, but right now it’s just annoying and odd.

I know that each of these things is contributing to my distraction, and that each one is also diluting the voices of my characters in my head so I can’t record what they’re trying to tell me with the clarity that needs to be there.  I’ve tried brainstorming activites, free writing, and even meditation, but when I think I’ve got it under control and I sit down to write, I find that everything I’m writing sounds muddled and inconsistant. 

My hubby thinks I’m being to hard on myself.  He reminds me that first drafts are supposed to sound terrible.  I agree – but not this terrible.  And I’m getting tired of fighting it.  I may just need a writing vacation for a few days; a chance to let all my inner crap settle to the bottom so that the right words can float to the surface and become clearer. Maybe with a few days off, the need to write will get so compelling that it will shove all the nonsense out of the way.  And maybe sleep would help.  Four hours a night is obviously not enough for me.

I guess, with that thought in mind, I’ll call it quits.  It’s almost 2:00 a.m. anyway. 

Good not-writing!


2 thoughts on “Looking for the Words

  1. Hey K.J.,

    When the pros have trouble I know I have problems!

    You are making a living as a writer, so you have done something most of the rest of us will never do.

    I talked about my need to find inspiration just a few posts ago (the MerelFest one) so I do feel your pain.

    Hubby is right though- too hard on yourself, kid.

    Dr. B

  2. kwjwrites says:

    Everyone engaged in the creative process experiences some version of this, or at least I believe that’s true. I’m two days into not working on books, and the itch to get get back is already there. But I’m forcing myself to take the whole weekend off.

    Thank you, kind sir, for your words. No wonder I like your site so much!


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