The frustrating thing about the way my creative process works is that it's absolutely absurd from a practical make-a-living standpoint, but dammit, it actually does work creatively. My writer friends have learned to accept my weird way of working, and even my editor and publisher are patient, but I don't know if I will ever be able to quit fighting it.
Yesterday, (Monday) was a prime example.
As you know, I haven't been feeling great. Mid-morning I dragged over to a coffee shop to see if a mocha latte might scrape the skim off my brain, and sure enough, I got some writing done, using the idea the washing machine gave me. (See post below). But then I was out of ideas, possibly because there wasn't a washing machine at Starbucks. So, for the rest of the damned day I did nothing but surf the web, because once again, nothing was moving on the book. And yet, I had a familiar internal feeling that things were perking (to continue the coffee theme), and that they might even brew something before the end of the day.
All I had to do was wait. I am an effing waiting master. As somebody said, "The secret to successful waiting is finding something to do in the meantime." Well, yes.
So I surfed. I e'ed. I cooked supper. I planted and watered fleurs. Then, about 6:45, as I was scrubbing a pan at the kitchen sink, I got the epiphany I was waiting for, and it is a doozy. I love it, and it turns my next chapter, which I was worried about, into something much more edgy and interesting.
Yay. But sometimes that process takes weeks or months.
This is no way to earn a living, but it seems to be one writers' way to write a novel. When experienced writers tell you that you should write "any way that works for you," they (we) mean it. There is no "way" to write. There's only you and the words and they come fast for some people and slow for others and all you can do, if you want to be true to your own well of creativity, is catch them when they bubble up, if they bubble up. You do have to be ready with a bucket, and you need to know how to use said bucket, which requires some skill. I used to be able to force words to the surface--or at least force something up--and if you can do that, then good for you, truly!--but that has been mostly impossible for me to do for years. You can believe that, or not, but I'm telling you, speaking as somebody who had years of experience in successfully "forcing" it, when you can't any longer do that, you can't. You just fucking can't.
I don't like this way of working. I really don't. I'd much rather be able to crank it out. But until and unless my process changes again, this is the only way I have to work. Personally, I think it sucks, but what do I know? It's also true that our whole deadline society is insane, so really all I'm doing is trying to fit creativity--which has no time lines--into boxes where it can't fit and won't go.
I need a Renaissance patron. We all need one. Our patron can pay our rent and publish our masterpieces whenever we deign to hand him one, and we will then be free to let the creativity wells bubble at their own maddening, irrepressible, unpredictable pace. Yep, that's the ticket. Who's with me?