It is October, and the topic for this month is When it all goes wrong: being a writer when you can’t write.
Over the last month or so I’ve been trying to do exactly that. Yes, thank you, I am aware of the date.
It’s coming up the end of my second year of university – I’m either a sophomore or a junior, depending which end of the degree you’re counting from – and dealing with a course that used to be two modules and now is jammed into one. And the physics lab that used to have half a floor to itself and is now one corner and half a store-room of an electrical engineering lab. And tutoring. And looking for a job which in the New Zealand economy is beyond hilarious.
So yeah, I can’t really write at the moment.
Which is why this is a day not-late.
I have been editing Against the Shadows. I have been beta-reading a friend’s very excellent novel. I have been writing, tearing up, rewriting, losing, and swearing at in Mando’a, the notes for my next project. I have been helping translate the Bible into said Mando’a. I have been noticing things and finding a useful setting for a murder.
At least I know where my notebook is. (Towel, not sure. Notebook, totally sure.)
When you can’t write new stuff? You hang in there, you wait for the tide to go down a little, and you keep reminding yourself that this too shall pass. Also: you read other people’s stuff. It’s less labor- and emotion-intensive than writing, and it’s good to refuel every so often, get some new ideas.
One of my Facebook acquaintances is right into Tumblr for some reason, and keeps sending me random story prompts that people… post on Tumblr… instead of writing themselves. The only plausible reaction is: ‘Wait, what?’
By this time next month, I will have been out of school for two weeks and still have a weekend to go before my summer job starts. I’m going to adopt one of these poor orphan prompts – wanna join me?
Next month’s topic, for which I shall endeavor very hard to be on time, is, pick a prompt from the following orphans of Tumblr and write it. Short story, dialogue, comic strip if that’s your thing – whatever.
Best of good plot bunnies to you all!
What do you do when you can’t write, for whatever reason?
Thanks for reading.