I go through phases. I know this. For months on end now, my favorite snack/meal is peanut butter with bananas on toast, drizzled with honey. Yum. Before that it was Instant Ramen Noodles with shredded cheddar and chopped veggies. Before that? Cottage cheese with avocado, walnuts and honey. And before that… well, I was pregnant, so I was only allowed certain things. None of them Brie, Sushi, or pineapple soft-serve sundaes from Dairy Queen *grump*.
But I digress… This post isn’t about food. Really, it’s not.
I have come to understand I also go through phases with my writing. I leap through periods of incredible creativity, where I can’t seem to stop my wicked little mind from derailing me on a current project or pastime, and my husband will ask me just what I am doing when I am sitting in front of my computer, giggling, sobbing, or squinching my face up like a wrinkly apple, fingers never stopping. I tell him I am doing Kegels and to leave me to my workout. He gives me a funny look and, ripped from my groove, I tell him to go use his Google-Fu to find out what that is, muttering to myself and trying to regain my muse, who has decided to jump head first into a hot tub wearing her new shoes and a tumbler of whisky, when my attention was diverted.
Then, as suddenly as the proverbial plot bunnies hop into my realm and begin leaving story idea eggs all over the place *squish*, they vanish into thin air (or take off on their helicopter bikes back to the South Pole) and I go weeks without a single thought to a WIP, or a new idea to outline. They sit, dusty, onloved, crying out for my input, and I ignore them. I open them up, re-read them, then close them in favour of the latest Jude Deveraux whispering architectural descriptions, or a Harlequin Blaze catergory monthly (or two, they’re like sinful candy, you can’t just read one) steaming beside my (steaming) cup of coffee.
To give it a description, you could say my hobby writing goes through the rigors of feast or famine. But, I prefer to think of it as the ebb and flow of a tide, or the swaying of a tree in the wind. Much more poetic and less abrupt, don’t you think? I follow the circadian rythmn of my Mind’s Eye, or I walk to the beat of my own drum…. *♪…All we are is dust in the wind…♪*
I am quite sure the Cliché Police are going to beat down my door and fine me at any moment, *hides*.
So right now, I am in a reading phase, and have done very little writing in the past month. I am reading everything I can get my hands on! I’ve resorted to stacking the books up on my bedside table, and powering through them. I read three or four books a week. I’ve exhausted the free Harlequins I downloaded, and at this moment, am halfway through the last book in my unread stack of Value Village finds. I’m not sure what to do after that. I may resort to attempting my husband’s collection of Alastair Reynolds. He calls it, Space Opera science fiction. I’m scared. *shudder*
I suppose you could say in my reading, I am working on becoming a better adapted writer to my chosen genre, or researching what the “good romances” read like. I know that I do read like a writer now, and find detail errors much easier to pick up, or issues with character congruity and growth. I routinely pick up on plot holes, or bad research. One book I could not even finish, because the author had the horses lapping water like a dog, and whenever the horses were being harnessed, she called the bridle a “brindle”. Seriously? Where the heck was her editor? *shakes head*. Bad sex scenes are ditto. “Love grotto” and “cattle prod of love” are not descriptions I want to read when the two lovers are gettin’ jiggy with it.
Now, when my husband looks at me and says “You’re reading again?” I just say “It’s not reading Dear Husband, its research. Now massage my feet. The hero is about to discover that he has found his twue lurve and make sweet monkey love in the back of a Phaeton with a closeted wanton, and its heavy reading…..” (I don’t really say that last part, but I think it. Maybe ESP will kick in someday….I never get that foot rub)
Eventually I will gravitate back to my writing. I have no deadlines, I have no overwhelming sense of hurry on this. It is my time, my creation, and if it takes me ten years, then so be it. I am sure my husband thinks its a bit of a waste of time if I never produce anything, and sometimes I wonder myself why I am travelling the path of sixteen WIPs with no endings. But then I hit the next phase of creativity from destitution and characters that weep for my attention, and I am happy again. So I learn to live with it. Every time the plot bunnies visit me, the stories inch further forward. ☺
So tell me fellow writers, what are your phases?