The Well of Words

First things first: yes, I know I managed to miss an entire week of posts, and yes I apologize, and yes I will tell you what I was filling up my time with.

Unfortunately, it is a little bit of a tale of woe – but like all the best stories, it has a happy ending! I spent most of the week putting together a thirty minute presentation that functioned as the culmination of an entire school-year long internship and writing an analysis paper. To make it worse, this week I have to write another paper…but it will be my last one, not just of the entire semester but of my ENTIRE DEGREE!!! Graduation is just three weeks away y’all. We’ll get through this.

But the happy ending is that I also finished my book this week! This was my Camp Nano project, about a girl named Ruby who ends up needing to live with her grandparents – in their seniors only community – and a homeless boy named Glass. I wrote 60k in 19 days, and I have officially drafted 161k words in 2014. Three books. And that brings me to the point of this post.

Sometimes we’re going to run a little dry, my fellow writers. We like to think we can go on forever, chugging out words and spinning stories, but we’re not invincible and we’re not endless. I still have tons of ideas floating around and some new books to write that I am super incredibly excited about. But I’m holding back. First, because it’s absurd to have so many drafts sitting around without polishing them up into actual viable books, and second, because it’s time for a little rest. Ruby and Glass was a struggle in many ways, which I will share in future posts, but part of the trouble was as I got to the end, I could feel the well running dry.

I knew exactly what I wanted to say. I knew how the story went. And sometimes it was everything I had to find the words to tell it. This, my friends, happens to us all at some point, and it’s one of the clearest nudges we can get that it’s time for a drafting break.

Does it mean you can’t do revisions? No. But even those you might need to take a break from. Maybe it’s because, like me, you’ve spun out a seemingly impossible number of words in a short amount of time, and your brain just needs time to recharge. Maybe, also like me, you’ve got a million other things happening – I’m finishing grad school, trying to find a job, and getting ready to move five hours, all within the next month. I’m pretty good at setting those things aside, after all I see writing as both my passion and my rescue from all the other things that can happen in the world. It’s delightful to immerse myself in a universe over which I have ultimate control, even if most of the time my characters are constantly surprising me. But there are times when the world is going to demand our attention, especially with big events such as my graduation, my sister’s graduation, and my move, and we need to be okay with that. Those are events we don’t want to miss, events that feed our writing, and even if our brains didn’t tell us it was time to engage, we wouldn’t want to be so separate as to miss out on our own lives.

This is your reminder that you are a well of words. An ancient well, with still waters that run deep, but your well has to be filled from somewhere. If you’re feeling tired, or really struggling to bring a story to life, maybe it’s time to think about tapping into deeper springs, or let yourself be filled by the rain. My rain, today, is drafting this paper. Even though I don’t want to, I know it will help me move on from worrying about it. My rain is also watching Pride and Prejudice on this stormy afternoon, packing up parts of my apartment, and doing relaxed, no pressure brainstorming for future books as well as reading several great books. Whatever you need to fill up your well of words, make sure you make the time for it. You do no good as a desert wasteland in which no stories can grow. Take the time, tap into your deep springs, and fill your well.

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