Thursday, August 12, 2010

Inertia, and the Art of Water Cycle Maintenance.

So, thank god I swim. Because other than swim, (ok, and a few paid mediations) I've done absolutely nothing productive in more than three weeks.

I'm in what is known as a rut.

At least as far as my writing is concerned.

As far as my writing is concerned I am annoyed, frustrated, heartbroken, befuddled and shut down. I'm sure I could add to that list.

First there have been the endless rejections on Swim Back to Me, several that have started with great hope -- a jazzed editor sending my agent a note about how she can't put it down, how the writing is gorgeous, how the mood is evocative. Then, the inevitable silence. Either that or a brief rejection at the executive board level. And then silence from my agent again.

Follow that with mixed feedback from my editor on my option WIP, Frankie Sky, a manuscript both I and my agent strongly believe in.

Now, I've got two pieces I'm working on: a women's fiction piece (I actually started a long time ago and was -- at the time -- excited about) called The Garden of Ruin and Story, and a rewrite of my YA manuscript, Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me (titles inevitably to change). But I find I open the screen on either one of them and just stare. Or maybe type a sentence or two and then switch to email or Facebook.

The bottom line is, I'm in a rut.

Utter inertia.

At least everywhere except the water.

*top photo credit Rick Kopstein,

*bottom photo credit Carol Moore,


  1. I'm right there with you, Gae.

    Do what I'm doing. I'm giving myself the summer off. Letting things percolate but not writing at all. Fall will bring fresh perspective. At least, that's what I'm banking on.

  2. Tess, I mostly have. But I find that if I'm not writing, I feel "obligated" to do things like housework and laundry. Have I mentioned that I don't care for those?

    Hugs to you. Sometimes the creative life is a bitch.

  3. Gae-I'm so sorry about the rut. I know the query process can do that to me, so I can only imagine the submission process is even worse. Keep in mind it is probably about TIMING more than anything else. Publishing houses are being SUPER conservative right now, and oddly enough that makes them grab for what they think will be TRENDY rather than what they see is really great writing.

    I hope the mojo comes back to you really soon. (maybe try to write some things you're not invested in--when I am really stuck, I turn to fan fiction because it doesn't matter, but it seems to get the gears lubricated again--short stories have also filled in there)

  4. Hart, I'm a weird writer. I never do exercises. I either walk away, or just switch to a different project.

    I did get the ball rolling a tiny bit on my women's fiction WIP last night so I felt a tad better. We'll see what a week of vacation and a fresh eye brings when I return.

    I could use some mojo, that's for sure.

  5. I am completely with you here. I have had 4 projects on the go for the last several months, and now must decide how to take them to the next level. All of them. It is stressful, difficult, and frustrating.

    But I really do believe in that "rest" thing. I think summer slows down the synapses a bit, it cries out for us to take a break (maybe even break from the usual breaks). And you have to let it. You've proven to yourself that you're a motivated writer, so allow yourself the time to rest. It's like a forgetting a line as an actor -- the more you worry about what the line is (the line you knew by heart for the last several weeks) the more your brain will skirt around it.

    Oops -- was that a platitude? I know how you hate those...

    :) B

  6. "Swim. pull. breathe. " or something like that ;)

  7. Why is it that I will look for any excuse not to write and yet I am happiest when I am doing it. The blog for me, has been like the old days of "morning pages" when I first did "The Artist's Way" I am hoping that it finally translates into daily writing of all kinds. And yet pillows need to be fluffed and counters need to be wiped. When I read Neil Simon's biography I thought "that's why he was so prolific". he would rise, get his breakfast and retreat to his writing office without a care in the world. Ahhhh but envy is an ugly thing. Hope inspiration hits soon! You are so good!

  8. I've heard you should treat writing like your job. Get up, get breakfast, put on your writing suit, and "go to work." If you can't do laundry, or prepare dinner, or any of the other stuff you "have" to do when you're at a real office, then you should treat your writing space with the same respect and NOT DO THOSE THINGS.

    Most spouses don't understand the writing life, and think of it as a carefree and fanciful party. It's not. It's work. It's like any other job, but there's no guarantee of a paycheck. It's not playtime. It's real work. And you should treat it just like a job.

    Get to work, Polisner. Time to punch the clock.

  9. Hey, Jeff, thanks for the inspiration/kick in the pants. The truth is, my family is pretty good about that, especially now that I have the "objective" confirmation that I could possibly make a semi-career out of it. The rut is in my own mind, and comes from a series of full or partial rejections on my other stuff. It just gets to you sometimes. You know. With fall coming, I'll definitely find my way back. Yep, that's right. Definitely. er.

  10. Oh, and Barb, thanks for the compliment. I'm feeling less than sure at the moment, even though I know the only one who can undo this is me, myself and I. :)