How did I forget this?
The way I would feel when I finished final edits, I remembered that – the anti-climax and dissatisfaction that, for me at least, is the natural consequence of a prolonged period of focussing minutely on the weaknesses and recurrent faults of my writing. I expected that, this time. I can’t say I enjoyed it, but at least I had confidence that it would pass.
As for the next phase, at least I half remembered that, the restlessness, the hundred ideas, all discarded, the attempted outlines, all stilted and lifeless. All I’d forgotten was how unpleasant the fallow season is to experience, how little it helps to remember that something similar has passed before, how unlikely it seems that this churning is a useful part of the process.
Don’t give up on me, please – I promise I’m not about to go all tortured artist on you. I don’t talk about the doldrums whilst I’m in them, because I know that in the scheme of things they’re really nothing, and I know how irritating it is, as a reader, to have a writer whining about how hard their job is. I chose to do this, after all – and if you want the satisfaction of planting out the bedding, you can’t really grouse about the digging or the weeding. Besides, the part of me that does know and believe that the phase will pass has just enough influence to veto any premature announcements that I don’t have another novel in me. I’m only mentioning it now because of the contrast, the thing I did forget.
I forgot today, the day when the story that I merely wanted to write, that I’ve gradually, coolly prodded into shape, stops being something that I can idly toy with, and comes to life. The day when I find I can see the way the sun plays on the grain of the wooden desk and the glint of metal hastily hidden, the day when the story flows past me and I have to scribble down whatever I can catch along the way.
How could I forget that? It’s fantastic.