Creative Doldrums

I’m stuck.  Petra, the novel I worked on during November and finished at the beginning of this month, is done.  I’ve revised it for errors, I have a couple people reading it over for me, and for all intents and purposes I’m done with that novel until those people give it back to me with their ideas.

Contrary to feeling jubilant, this leaves me feeling…aimless.  I quit my job (granted, it was my four hour per week job) in order to pursue my dream of getting published.  When Aidan goes down for a nap, I fire up my laptop and stare at the most infuriating sight in the world: an insistent, blinking cursor.

I’ve got nothing!  I came up with a possible novel idea last week, but when I sat down to start it I felt like I couldn’t quit get a handle on my approach to the story.  First person or third person?  Set before or after or during the inciting incident?


Everything I started was awful.  Just awful.  So then I started a short story based on another idea I’d had, but I hated that one too.  Suddenly I was feeling less “wannabe novelist” and more “idiotic idea-less person”.

So, I reckon I just need to keep writing, even if I hate every single thing that I come up with right now.  It’s just such a dismal prospect after the ease with which I wrote Petra.  I swear that novel wrote itself.  Everything about it worked for me.

Now I’m in the creative doldrums, which is a horrible place to be.  You know what, though?  Maybe you guys can help me come up with my next idea!

These polls will be open for one week, and then I’ll take the winner of each category and write a brief excerpt of the novel you helped me write and publish it on my blog for you to enjoy.

Thanks for your help!

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10 thoughts on “Creative Doldrums

  1. Have you read Jim Butcher’s blog post about how to write a book? It’s on his site… could prove helpful.

    They say write what you know, so I’d stick with a Mime in the 1900s.

  2. I’m not a book writer, but I thought Gretchen Rubin’s ideas looked good:

    She also recommends this book (No Plot? No Problem!):

    Oh, and I vote for Siberia either early 1900’s or present day. I have a friend who was born there, and it sounds like a much more interesting place than I thought!

  3. -Matt, If I can find the post I’ll definitely check it out. I have Stephen King’s memoir “On Writing” on hold at the library, I can’t wait for them to get it in!!! Yes, I am quite an authority on miming, which is strange as I’m such a loud person…

    -Lisa M, That was a very helpful resource, thanks so much! I think she’s right: writing, like any discipline, should be done every day regardless of whether or not inspiration strikes. As for Siberia, I’ve been researching it lately and it IS interesting! I’m not sure what I’ll do with my research yet, but even if I never use it, it’s always fun to learn new things!

  4. Hey don’t always feel like it has to be a novel. Writing is what counts. Try writing short stories (lots of online resources for prompts) or even write correspondence to people, by hand, as a character. That’s a load of fun.

    Sometimes great novel ideas spring from short writing exercises!

  5. Pingback: Story By Committee | Parsing Nonsense

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