Confession: I have not started my next project.
I want to start my next project. I am trying to start my next project. I am confident I will at some point start my next project ... but, alas, I have not started my next project.
Some would say this is a time of grappling and inquiry and in fact it is this act of not yet knowing that marks the beginning of the process. I agree with this sentiment—that a period of uncertainty tinged with yearning is part of the process; however, it is not what I mean when referring to my next project. I don’t want to be wrestling; I want to be writing.
For one thing, writing fiction is a terrific escape and though I have a fantastic life (and for the most part, have always had a fantastic life) I’ve also always been keen on escaping reality and what better way to alter one’s mood than to create a world of others? All I have to do is create compelling characters and give them something to long for, throw in an obstacle or two and voila: hours, days, months go by where I’m (checked out) writing.
I don’t mean to suggest that writing is my crack. It’s more that (at the risk of sounding new-agey) in order to feel like myself (dare I say—my best self?) I need to be immersed in a creative endeavor. Like, daily. And when that creative endeavor is flowing—the feeling is …
Actually, what is the feeling? I struggle to find the word. Sated. Resolute. Relieved. Proud. Thankful.
Damn. No wonder (writing is my crack) I can’t wait to get back to work in earnest.
I mean, I loved writing Henny on the Couch. Except when I hated it. But for now, I only want to think about the good ol’ days. The days when any responsibility other than writing felt like an imposition instead of relief. The days when I closed my eyes and asked myself, what should happen next, and the answer materialized: an autumn walk in Central Park, or chocolate pudding at Ponderosa, or crisp chips in green bowls, or Balduccis in the 80s or Amway in the 70s or the night Andy Warhol died … and before I knew it, I’d written a book.
So yes, I want to recreate that love affair that is creative-orderly-direction.
The thing is, unlike with Henny on the Couch, I’m not sure of the story I want to tell. Or the characters, let alone other details like tense or point of view.
So, in the meantime, I keep busy. I read—devouring the art of other (poor bastards) writers who managed to put pen to paper. Exercise helps too. Besides, it’s an opportunity to reconnect with family—I’m trying to be a better parent (more patient, attentive) and wife (more patient, attentive).
And I’m sure this is part of the writing process. Certainly if I wrote one novel, I’ll be able to do it again. (Maybe not. What if I can’t? I knew it was beginner’s luck.) Yes. I’m sure in no time, a character will present herself and I’ll be back on the literary beam.
And if not—well, there’s always twitter.
Rebecca Land Soodak's debut novel, HENNY ON THE COUCH (Grand Central) will be published Spring, 2012.
The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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