Dead Winds, doldrums and why I write.
After I wrote my memoir, with help from a professional writer, I thought I was done with the craft. After all, my goal was to share how I went through life in the wrong body, and that would be it. I hoped that, at best, my memoir might prove helpful to anyone going through something similar. It was also cathartic for me.
Then, something happened. I had the bug, the writing bug, that is. From that moment, I wanted to learn more about the craft of writing. Hell, I just wanted to write, and write and write.
So, I took a minute to examine my natural inclinations as a reader. That proved interesting as I knew I had read all genres over the years, yet one genre was always certain to catch my attention; the thriller genre. I’ve read tons of books. From
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie novels to Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
I also love Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, Thomas Harris, Kathy Reichs, Karin Slaughter, Douglas Preston, and Lee Child. The fact is, I have a rather eclectic taste when it comes to literature. When I was younger, I would treat myself to reading the greek classics like Homer’s The Odyssey, The Iliad, and many others.
Here’s the thing, a few weeks ago, I had gotten to the halfway point, this is a subjective estimate since this is my very first novel, and I’m going on what seems to be a ballpark estimate for thrillers. So, once I was where I estimated to be the middle point of the story, I began to slow down, unsure how to proceed with the story. I felt bogged down, uninspired even. It was as if I was on a sailboat, smack in. The doldrums is where trade winds converge between the northeast and the southeast. No winds mean no movement when one is equipped with sails. So, it’s a good thing I can paddle.
As I began writing this novel, I was inspired, and ideas of plots and subplots came with little warning, often flooding my mind, much like a tsunami. Then, slowly I got focused, seeing the plot and character arcs develop. It was like being on a ride. All I had to do was follow the inspiration. The doldrums were waiting, the edits of inspiration seemed to die, and I was left floating on a dead sea.
I waited for my inspiration to reappear, to show up and guide me to the conclusion of my novel. When I realized that I would need to make it happen, that inspiration was not something outside of me but rather the expression of my creativity, I found it again.
I wasn’t finding the right words to continue the story, so I decided to write, write and then write some more. I would fill in the blank sheets and deal with fixing them later. My main objective is just this; write.
I find it easier now. I have a good and cherished friend, a writer, and we do the Zoom thing once a week. We catch up on what’s happening in our respective lives, and she is a wonderful listener. I get to share my writings openly. She makes suggestions at times, and overall, I feel liberated from all the doubt I develop as I advance in the story. I have also been fortunate that other authors have helped me. You know who you are.
I try to set loose goals such as word count per week; it is helpful in that I can see my progress. Mostly though, I just write.
I write because I need to express myself through the creative process. After a few decades as a paintress, my body developed issues, particularly my drawing hand, and I can no longer hold a brush for more than a few minutes without feeling pain. My eyesight is no longer as sharp, and I no longer feel the joy I once did working in that medium. I needed to make an important change.
I knew that I couldn’t simply cease to be creative. Creativity is as much a part of me as my blood. So, a light came on after deciding to write my memoir and seeing how I could use my imagination through the medium.
Writing is a different medium, yet there are so many similarities between drawing and painting that I soon felt I was born for it.