On Collaboration

I’m pretty much 3 months into this motherhood thing. It has been since…November since I wrote more than 100 words at a sitting of fiction. That hurts.

At my peak of writing a year ago, I was putting out a minimum of 1,000 words a day. That’s two solid pages of text, which is just about enough to get one idea across. I’m a member of a writer’s group and I reliably was submitting new material every other month. A daily writing regiment cleans my mind and makes room for the next bit of inspiration. I was writing constantly, planning the night’s output in my head, collecting tidbits, habits, situations, that wound their way through my imaginary life and then into my work. There are pieces of every person I’ve ever met in my characters, remixed and mashed up. Maybe it wasn’t pro-level, but it was regular and I enjoyed the predictability of it.

My writing fell off sometime around month 3 of pregnancy, between the morning sickness and the constant preoccupation with my future, I just lost track…I couldn’t collect information any more and I was too exhausted from just dragging my quickly swelling body around to unload the tidbits I already had. My brain filled with inspiration wasted, gone rotten from inattention, until finally, inspiration stopped coming altogether. That was October.

In desperation, I tried rehashing old stories, but I was so disgusted with myself, with my inability to do something interesting or even vaguely different that went no where. I joined National Novel Writing Month and everything. I completed one day. I haven’t written since.

In the last month, I’ve tried again and again. I have snatches of the beginning of things laying all over my hard drive. But putting the excuse of my infant aside, none of it stuck. It was like all I had were ideas, but no flesh to attach to them, I had facts but no inspiration.

So, I’ve decided to steal someone else’s. Looking back over my “body of work” (a fancy name for my flash drive) I found that at the points when I felt most devoid of the magic of writing, I turned to someone else to provide some spark. I’ve always enjoyed collaborating with other writers or thinkers and have written quite a bit with other people – I love all of it, even if it isn’t fit for any publication other than our emailed stories back and forth. There’s some wonder there in bouncing ideas back and forth, some mystery as you wait for the next chapter in your mutual story to come back to you. I pour over those old jointly-written works with glee, watching as we weave our tales together, around each other’s plot points until we come to an end that is satisfying to us both. God that was good fun. I wonder idly if my inability to jumpstart my own engine is a sign of some dearth in my writing. Perhaps I am not a creative person, not truly so. Perhaps not.

Some people are artists, they invent. Some of us are crafts folk – we work the clay we are given.

Wish me luck as I begin at this new piece of clay…

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Published in: on April 19, 2011 at 4:48 am  Comments (1)  
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  1. You WERE creating…I had the same complete wall jump up in fromt of my creativity around month 5. I couldn’t make ANYTHING. Honestly, it comes back…slowly, the same way as sleep eventually comes back. I promise.


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