Never-ending Stories

Ladies and Gentlemen, there is more than one Neverending Story. Sadly, many of ours will never be so influential . . . at least in the 1980s.

Sometimes we want to come to the end of a project by seeing where the ideas and words flow, but here is where inspiration exists in a less-than-glowing sense. What if the words just won’t come, whether you have the time or not? What if there is no time and the project is just a burden on your back? What if it seems to join an endless assortment of other never-quite-finished projects, like clutter in a closet attaining unbearable status?

I won’t tell you to feel a certain way about it, but I want to assure you. The words and characters are perfectly ok with waiting. Words remain written even while we may take breaks, twist, and turn before we get back to them. And that’s a good thing, because you might have a long time, hitherto unimagined, for you to bring their message to a concluding mark.

Time concerns are a real and powerful thing. Here is what I can do. Here are my suggestions. Make a backup of your writing project, somewhere safe. You can chose a day to get back to it (maybe next November, the write-a-novel month), mark it on a calendar, and leave the project alone. Let it leave your mind and get off your back. Clean out your closet or don’t, but leave the project alone: sometimes you have to prove to yourself that the world goes on without it. You are still you without it, and, although writing is a great many things, it is not a cross to carry. (Admittedly, maybe deadlines are.)

Or, take time to do exercises. You can use your project or not, depending on how you stand with, on, or under it. Take a chapter and summarize it in a few sentences. Add in your personal goals (develop x, y, or z, have a sentimental moment, etc). Outline the piece. Sketch out characters and their development. If so inclined, you could map out the setting or wax poetic on the landscapes.

Sometimes being a writer includes large periods of waiting and that’s ok. It lets us develop and makes us rest, even if sometimes we don’t want to. And, by rest, I recognize that resting in one area of life often means being consumed by another so little “rest” is actually felt. But what can ya’ do?

Sometimes inspiration points in a direction other than closure. We have to admit that can be a reality. Sometimes a new project comes up, in writing or anything else, and isn’t it ok to allow ourselves to follow that? Not in some weird chase after fly-away emotions, but in the sense that opportunities are now and sometimes previous projects aren’t a high priority? Even if it seems destined to be your greatest opus.

When I say, “Go for it,” there is no expiration date to it. Go for it!

What do you think?

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