an update 11.29.22

I like it when creativity bubbles out of me. I like it when I can feel like there is nothing in my brain but the things I have created. When there is a break from reality and I can sit comfortably with a world that exists only because I made it that way.

It’s a way of feeling in control of what’s going on around me, even if it only happens when I close my eyes or when I finally stop having other thoughts flitting back and forth in my mind, breaking what I’ve so carefully worked to construct.

Naturally, it feels as if I have lost a vital part of me: the part that keeps me safe, cocooned. But the thing is, my creative well doesn’t continue flowing endlessly. It runs out.

I’ve thrown my pail into the well, and it’s been coming up empty. And I panic.

I start worrying about whether it will come back or not. I start to wonder if I was ever creative to begin with, or if I have just gotten lucky that I could focus on one story in my head for years on end, fleshing out the details to make my own friends and move them accordingly so they can go through the things I think would be interesting and want to explore.

But then I think about how I plan and plot and outline what their actions are supposed to be, and how the path of the scene inevitably changes because the character that I made and I control doesn’t want to go on that path.

So, I begrudgingly let them forge their way. They make messes. They dilly dally along the page. Sometimes the things that happen are easy to tie together to work with the story as a whole. And sometimes they completely unhinge the plot and I get too overwhelmed about finding a way to fix the problem.

I’ve been writing less and less since graduating college. I went into and through school thinking that writing would be my career. I’ve had jobs, I’ve left jobs. I’ve white-knuckled my way through trying to navigate being a creative person, the joints of my fingers sending shocks of pain out from how hard I’ve been clinging to whatever I thought I could control about my path in life.

Obviously, I think I’ve approached it the wrong way this whole time. I think we all do. But we can’t blame ourselves for it. After all, there’s a path we’ve all been told from a young age saying that if you follow the outline of the plot that’s been written for you, you’ll be successful.


But as I’m sitting here, staring at a long document with a manuscript that’s been four (maybe more?) years in the making, completely debilitated by the amount of work that needs to be done on it and not able to make myself sit down and do it, I realize that I’m wrong. And I’ve been wrong. And I’ve been taught wrong.

And that’s okay. It’s all okay.

One day, Lèna and Levi will be on a page in someone else’s hands and someone will be reading the absolute best version of whatever mess I’m currently throwing down in words that makes no sense to me now. It’s disjointed and confusing and messy and really, really uncomfortable.

And I’ll continue to plan, to try to control it. I’ll watch as Lèna makes the end of the book have to completely change and be rethought. I’ll probably cry and be so overwhelmed that it took me six months to think of a way to end this story and make it into too neat of a bow. Because that’s what she does. And that’s what we do in our own lives, too.

But I’ll also listen to her. I won’t try to make the original plot line work if it doesn’t. I just hope I can do the same for myself, too.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s