Actually…we never really went away. We just got crazy busy, all three of us, with end-of-semester duties and grading and that kind of thing. ‘Tis the life of the prof.
Our unplanned hiatus inspired us to talk about how writers sometimes get interrupted and can’t write for long chunks of time. It sucks. But it happens.
Sometimes there’s just a tidal wave of life stuff that crashes over you and you can’t put words down for a while.
So how do you get back to it when you get that creative space back in your life? Listen in on this episode of Fiction School to find out how, my friends!
NOTES FOR EPISODE 32
- Tommy starts the show by singing and spilling Diet Coke all over himself.
- Then we apologize like crazy for missing a bunch of weeks of the podcast, because when you’re a professor, sometimes you just get buried by work and papers and grading and graduation ceremonies, and hell, it’s just hard to tape a show. We’re really sorry. But WE’RE BAAAAAAACK!
- And sometimes this is what life is like: we just get too busy to be creative and sit down and write. It sucks, but it’s true. There are life rolls we all go through.
- We discuss the ways we’ve been writing during this busy period: Jody works in big chunks on the weekend; Baker hasn’t done shit; Tommy’s been decompressing after turning in his book to his publisher a month ago.
- Does it count as “writing every day” if you’re not in front of the laptop or working the pen on the paper? The creative process keeps your brain working on your project even if you’re not actively putting words down, maybe.
- But Jody disagrees. “Only writing is writing.” At some point, you have to get the words down on the page, no matter how long you think about it. THAT’S the difference: a writer is somebody who takes the step of getting the idea down on paper, then revising and rewriting and revising and rewriting it until it’s great.
- Hey: whatever happened to layaway?? There’s kind of a creative process like that, where you put ideas on layaway and keep paying on them until you’re ready.
- The dark side of finishing a big project: there’s this huge void, so how do you move on to the next thing? Jody’s energy is proportional to how nervous she is about where she sent it. Baker’s usually excited to start the next project and can’t wait to get rid of the current one. Tommy just finished the third book of the trilogy that he’s been working on for TEN years… He’s got plenty of ideas, but the voice and writing habits still feel similar to the old project. He’s searching for new creative energy and difference.
- Starting a new project can be easier if you start it in a new place or environment, or work in a different way (write by hand instead of on the computer). Making the next project very different can energize the creative process.
- You can also get too involved in the research part of writing, and keep putting off the actual writing because of the research. Writers have to be careful of that; but it also helps to consider everything you do as research. Any experience a writer has can end up in a story or a book.
- We talk about Tommy’s great essay on writing research.
- To get back in the saddle if you’ve been away for a long time: start small. A blog post. A speech. a letter to a friend. Make yourself write 1000 words in an hour, no matter how good or bad. Self-imposed deadlines can help kickstart your habit back into gear.
- We end with an existential question: How many books do you have left in you? It’s helpful to think about how writing is part of a lifelong journey. We’ll always be writing, we hope, for the rest of our lives.
We really missed putting out the podcast for these last few weeks, but now we’re back on it. Thank y’all for your patience and for the emails I got asking if we were okay and alive and still friends. (We are!) There ain’t much drama behind the Fiction School curtain.