The Will and the Well

I have a book coming out soon! More on that this week. I promise. Along with having a book, I have a prospective series. That means, I have a book to write. Two books, actually. Not to mention getting the word out about the first book. Are you tired yet? I am, but there’s no rest for the writer. It’s time to write the next book.

Listen closely. Do you hear that shrieking, crashing sound? That’s my will colliding with my well. My will says get busy on that book. My well– that being the creative well– says “I got nothing.”

In the process of revising the first book, I emptied my well. Now I have to replenish that well. Lani Diane Rich, who is an amazing teacher of practical writing advice, says that the way to replenish the well is to engage with story. That means reading books, watching movies and TV, playing video games, whatever floats your boat. If it has characters and a narrative, it’s story. Good advice. I set out on my holiday weekend armed with the very best of intensions, and we all know where those lead; where am I going and why am I in this hand basket?

I had plans to watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy. What better way for a fantasy writer to fill the creative well than a little Tolkien? What I actually watched was lots of Littlest Pet Shop and seemingly every Charlie brown holiday special ever made. My creative well growled in frustration. Instead, I tried to engage by reading, and I did do some reading, but my internal critic kept telling me that I’d better not enjoy it too much because I really ought to be writing. I’ve decided that my inner critic is Faye Dunaway from Mommy Dearest– all demanding and controlling and fixated on appearances. Finally, I decided that music might be the thing to fill the well. It isn’t strictly engaging with narrative, but it’s art and it’s powerful. I perused iTunes and sampled the soundtrack from the new Thor movie. Chaching! It’s haunting and forceful and epic. And I now have my soundtrack for my next book. Sure enough, just one time listening through the soundtrack, and I started getting ideas.

The moral of the story? If it comes down to a Thunderdome match between your will and the well, put your money on the well.

Posted in Writing
One comment on “The Will and the Well
  1. Exactly!
    I admittedly am unpublished but I have a novel I’m trying to revise and I stepped away from it for MONTHS just reading and listening to music and letting my brain rejuvenate so the muse didn’t slap me every time I tried to churn out words.

    Let yourself enjoy it. Just a little. I promise it won’t hurt a thing.

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