When Done Means Starting Over – Part 2

“If you wish to be a writer, write.” Epictetus

Where will new ideas come from? Although I’ve got a long way to go to complete my current novel, I can’t help but wonder: what then? Yes, you guessed it. I have a tendency to skip ahead and begin to worry before I need to. I can’t seem to change that about myself. Don’t think I haven’t tried.

Part of my tendency to worry-forward has to do with knowing how much effort goes into completing a large project such as a novel. Unlike having a child where you forget the pain you went through, you never ever forget the hours of agony spent in your chair at your computer screen wondering what the hell you’re trying to say.

So at the moment I have two things I’m thinking about: where will I go when this novel is done? And, do I really want to go there? Again? I don’t have a good answer to either question.

Writing for me usually comes from observing something that leaves me with a question. Or rather several. I see a nick on a delicate hand that has never seen a day of toil and I wonder what caused it. I can build an entire lifetime around that tiny blotch. Or I might witness an interaction between two people who are in conversation, yet refuse to look at each other. Is their behaviour a function of being comfortable after years of bliss or is there something else going on neither can identify or acknowledge?

I’ve answered these questions and so many others through stories, many of which I have jotted down and brought to life. I have kept other stories in my head as company to pass the time while I waited for someone to show up for an appointment, or stood in a line at the post office, or sat in the departures lounge.

Making up stories is my way of making sense of the world. It helps me tackle the miniscule as well as the larger issues I think about. 

Okay, so perhaps I don’t need to worry so much. As with previous stories and work, I know ideas will come from my many, many questions, or rather from my need to find answers to those questions.

The only outstanding issue now is: will I commit to another large project? The jury is still out on that one, but if I’m going to call myself a writer, I suppose I have to write. Who knew?

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