‘On Writing’ is pretty much the bible for writers. Part-autobiography, part-writer’s toolbox, Stephen King’s no nonsense approach to writing is cited by more ‘how to’ lists than coconut oil. On writing. Notice how it doesn’t examine the corollary - on not writing.
Not writing is familiar to writers. Staring at blank pages, saying a prayer to a truant muse, talking about writing. But not writing.
I’m not writing at the moment. Well, I am. Lots and lots of client work. But of my own writing, niks, nothing, rien, bugger all.
But you should write every day. Writers write, after all.
Sometimes it’s about timing.
Whatever is looking to be birthed, isn’t quite there yet. Bits and pieces float about, and I waft about with my net catching them. But it’s not a novel. Or a novella. Or a series. Or an essay. It’s more of a feeling. Parts of a plot. Snippets of character. Sitting down to write doesn’t feel right. It’s not ready yet. Note that word ‘ready’ - read, this novel is not ready to be read, let alone written.
But you should write every day.
And that’s advice I’d give to anyone. Yet, there have been these fallow periods in which nothing happens, nothing at all. And they tend to coincide with my own life’s cycles, this ebb and flow (in case you’re wondering, I’m not in the flow part). A year ago, almost exactly, I found the ground pulled away from me, leaving me tumbling to find the next step. Through good friends, I managed to hoist myself up again, bewildered, disorientated. Did I write through this time? Yes, and a novella was born. But since then, while my life finds its own groove, my creativity has been dislodged, shaken up, unsettled.
Not writing is time to read. Not writing is time to watch. Not writing is time to observe.
Not writing is waiting for those bits and pieces to take root, in their time, to start telling me their story. I can’t force them. Or threaten them. Or cajole. Or bribe.
Not writing is trusting this part of the process. Not writing is opportunity to re-read ‘On Writing’ and savour every word, as I prepare for the next adventure in my writer’s journey.