I’m at a strange stage in my writing life. Remember that book I lost and was rewriting this past spring and summer? Well, incredibly, I finished it a few weeks ago. It meant so much—at the beginning of the summer, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to write again, and a few months later, I’d finished my second book. God is good.
Of course, this book (tentatively titled Paperless) needs ginormous, mind-boggling, depressing amounts of editing, but I’m not going to worry about that now. No indeed. I’m putting it away for at least a month or two. But therein lies the problem: what to do in that “month or two.”
Last summer, I finished my first book, one that has sadly been lost through a computer crash, and I had the idea for Paperless already brewing. That November, I wrote the first draft of it for NaNoWriMo, and I’ve been working on some version of it ever since. But now it’s finished, and I have no more book ideas, a feeling I haven’t had for over two years.
It’s not that I have no ideas. Numerous bits and pieces, most of them from old books I’ve lost, are floating around in my mind, and there are many characters, themes, and places I want to use. However, they are currently simmering in my subconscious in a thousand scattered pieces, and what I need is the glue that will hold them together and bring the plot of my next book to life. Actually, I have ideas for three different books (one fantasy, one historical fiction, one some kind of in-between that I have no idea how to categorize). But none of them are anywhere near a real outline or plot yet.
Part of me is rather panicked—it feels unsettling not to be working on a book, and with NaNoWriMo looming, I need to know rather soon if I have a book idea for it. But part of me is enjoying this period of rest, of thinking and dreaming and letting ideas ferment and grow and sprout. I’m trying to let all these fragments of a story simply steep. I don’t want to rush into a story, force it when it’s not ready, and do a sloppy job because of my haste when, if I had waited just a few more weeks or months, I could have created something far better.
Of course, it’s a balance—at some point, I’m going to need to sit down and pound out a plot, wrangle all these ideas into submission, formulate them all into some coherent list. Planning a book certainly involves work. But for now, I sense that I need to hold back and keep amassing ideas.
All of this is actually helping me trust in God more. Ultimately, it is He who writes my stories—He gives me the ideas, the wisdom, even the fingers to type them. When I feel frustrated—why isn’t my next book coming? why can’t I figure out what I’m supposed to be writing?—I’ve been trying to go to Him, submitting to His timing, and praying over whatever writing venture He has in store. Because, yes, God definitely cares about my writing—and yours.
If you’ve been wondering whether I’ll participate in NaNoWriMo, the answer is that I honestly have no idea. I’ll keep you updated, but until then, check out last year’s series on preparing for the beast and remember to trust God, whatever stage of life you’re in.
So—where are you in your writing life? Have you ever been in a waiting period like I?
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