Where have all the stories gone?

22 Jul

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Well dear readers, I’ve hit a bit of a road block. Writer’s block, really.

It’s not a complete-and-total case of writer’s block; I have been writing every day for a while on a site called 750words.com (more on that later) and that’s been incredibly helpful, but the writing has been largely personal, I kind of blog-style journal full of ranting and writing myself in circles and generally typing myself into an “oh god oh god oh god” kind of frenzy.

I know, I know… I promise it really has been helpful! I’ve needed somewhere to let out all my crazies, to think through things without worrying about whether I was going to blogging or saving it or whatever-ing it later. And over the course of my writing streak, I’ve managed to shift my general writing trend from “negative” to “positive.” There’s only so many times I can write myself in the same fretting set of circles before I just don’t want to waste the energy typing about it anymore and manage to make myself find something else to write about.

That being said, this summer’s been rough. A lot of my creative energy has honestly just gone into trying to keep myself sane. Beating away the crazies hasn’t left much imaginative room for the stories to come. I’ve probably actually been keeping a lot of my imagination clamped down in a box, afraid of what my recently acting up depression might do with it. When my brain’s skies darken for too long, it can be a dangerous thing to let my imagination start wandering down my mind’s lesser-travelled thoroughfares. Sometimes, I have to just keep forcing it down the same, safe roads, just to make sure it makes it safely home and into bed each night.

But anyhoo. So, no, my imagination hasn’t been completely devoid of stories. Sure, it’s come up with some characters and plot lines and narrative voices here and there… but like I’ve said, they’ve been angry stories, and I haven’t actually invested myself in writing any of them down for fear that I will be pulled deeper into the hurt that’s born them and not find an escape at the end.

Sharp detour – as black as all of this is probably sounding, my summer hasn’t been *complete* shit. There’s been a lot of great stuff there too. But the thing is, even the happy moments recently haven’t been spawning any stories. I wandered around LACMA today for four hours and not a single painting whispered that it had a tale behind it. Normally I can barely step foot into an art museum without entire galleries shouting at me.

Sure, I’ve got the beginnings of at least half a dozen potential novels archived in my head. I meant to write them all, at some point or other. But the problem is, none of them have felt relevant this summer. They’ve all just felt… stale. None of their characters have shaken off their dust and taken up residence in my head, which is usually what happens whenever I’ve got a story that I really need to write. All the plots and characters I’ve got stored away have felt like just that – two-dimensional writing devices, not the living, breathing creatures that walk around and make noise in my mind all day whenever I’m really working on something.

I’m not sure where to even start on this problem. So, I thought I’d ask y’all for advice. Readers, fellow writers, what would you do? Got any home remedy writer’s block cures? What do you do when you don’t know where all the stories have gone?

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