It’s been a long time since reams of the finished product has been seen spewing from your printer, that wondrous machine of sound and light once upon a time delivering the majesty of your work into physical form, now sitting there, dormant, silent, a black box with no mystery at all about it anymore – a layer of dust speaking of a lack of appreciation or, worse, contempt.
Your desk has been abandoned. Not tidy, mind, never that – just left, as though you got up one day meaning to return and just… didn’t. Your chair sits there waiting. A cat or two might take your place for awhile, but it’s not the same thing. The writer is gone.
Where are you now? For certain it’s not anywhere in this world. Your eyes are glazed, unfocused, your mind as far from the concerns of the flesh as your hands are from that keyboard at your desk.
Yet you breathe. Gently, to be sure, with no strain – but also with no hope, no heart. Why did you ever try so hard? It’s no easy path, being a writer.
A friend comes by and comments lightly, “Hey, you’re not at your desk, you’re not working.” And this is someone who knows you, who cares, one of the Good Guys, one of the few who understands.
Not working? Oh really?
You fade out again, staring at the sky or the wall. Maybe the TV grabs your attention for a time, but that’s just fake, you’re not really there at all, just going through the motions. You eat – do you remember what it was? You sleep, but not well. You wash, you dress, you go out when you need to. For what? Is it important? No. Nothing’s important. You do whatever you have to do and come home again. But not to your desk.
You don’t even hear your detractors anymore, those clueless souls who look upon your lack of success and judge you for it. If you are unfortunate, they will choose this time to visit too, and add lack of productivity to their list of unsavory things about you, even noting as they do so, the dirty dishes piled in the sink and the floor cluttered with mess and not vacuumed for… how long? Oh dear.
You want them all to go away, and they do eventually, friends and foe alike. Then it’s just you and that sky again, or whatever it is you’ve chosen to stare at. Your desk remains abandoned, your chair cold.
But inside your head are the flames of creativity, the powerhouse, the engine room, the raw thoughts and emotions that will, one way or another, shape themselves into visions and notions and direction. Unseen, unknown and unappreciated by any other, the spirit that is yours reaches out.
Working? Yes, you’re working. Hidden creativity is still creativity. Does anyone really think that books are given to authors fully formed? Every writer – every artistic creator – has to work at their creations. That means time spent staring at the wall or the skyline, uncommunicative and uncaring. Thinking. Unproductive? Not so.
The emotions roll over one another, flows of energy mixing, swirling, parting, whispering suggestions as they go. They dance again, different notions, different flavors, some swelling with pride and hopefulness. Some wash away, some stay. Then, like two pieces of a jigsaw coming together, something clicks.
You blink your eyes.
You might have something, you might not. It’s minor as yet and might not be worth your time. You focus on what you’ve got and try other things around it, looking to see… Yes, another piece goes in there and if that piece goes in there, it could mean… oh my god.
Your heartbeat quickens. It’s taken months but now you’re onto something.
Before you know it, you’ve got a picture, a strong emotion, a story. Something has walked out of the rubble of whatever you had before – or maybe over it – something, someone coming for you. No, you’re not going to get away, but then you never intended to get away – you’ve waited for this moment a long time.
The characters number more than one now, and come forward shining bright with promise and with adventure, with challenges and problems you can’t wait to embrace. You were looking for a story to write? Wow. They were looking for a writer. You’re not busy? When can you start?
You smile. You sigh and close your eyes. Now, you tell them. I can start now.
Take me wherever you want me to go.
Godspeed to your creative processes, everyone.