The Doldrums

The word ‘doldrums’ is a nautical term, referring to a stretch of sea where the weather is extraordinarily calm. Sailing ships would become trapped in these areas, waiting for the hint of a breeze to come up so they could travel on.

In writing, the doldrums is a stretch of time where you just don’t have the motivation to write. I’m in that state now, and have been for some time. This is not the so-called “writer’s block” (which I refuse to acknowledge is a real thing: there’s always something else to write); I’ve got a couple of short stories and several novellas with solid ideas in my head, and I’ve been rolling over dialog and narration in my mind. This is my normal process: I think about a story for a bit before I sit down to put it on the page, revising it in my head.

I’m just not motivated to put anything on the page. I’ve opened my editor a couple of times, stared at blank pages, written treatments. But then I wander off and do something else. There’s a lot on my plate outside of writing right now, and I just can’t seem to get in the groove to actually write anything.

So what’s a writer to do? Well, if you read my last post, you’d know exactly.

Read.

Reading is, of course, why we write in the first place. We love the written word. Most–if not all–of us have a nice stack of books we’ve been dying to get through. So I’m reading, voraciously; two books in the last three days. I’m chewing through my reading list, and it’s slowly recharging my batteries. I’m reading all kinds of stuff, too, not just in my favorite genre of speculative fiction but also crime, adventure, a travelogue, all kinds of stuff, drowning myself in words and styles and ideas.

And pretty soon, I’m sure, there will be a breeze from the south-southwest, blowing me gently back into the trade lanes of my writer’s mind.

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Filed under The Writer's Life, The Written Word

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