By: Traci Kenworth
The Black Hole
A void is a place where things get lost—a black hole of sorts. It can also mean many things when it refers to writing. The “void” for purposes here means those times in our writing life when we aren’t writing. We’re busy with other things, or we’ve pushed our writing into the background.
Voids happen to all of us. A tragedy hits—loss of our job. We were dealing with significant life changes. Mine was due to health twice. Before that, it was the dark period after an abusive marriage during which I had to re-discover who I was and, more importantly, who I wasn’t.
Sometimes, it can take a lot out of you, and you don’t have it in you to explore the creativity inside you. It’s like a black hole opens in your life, and you feel stuck there. It takes a lot to close it again and move back into that creative mode.
It helped me to keep a journal. Even when I wasn’t working on stories, fragments of feelings, layers of memories clawed through me. I would jot them down. Explore how they made me question where I’d been, where I was going—all on the advice of a therapist. It was this eventual journal that got me back into stories.
Soon, I was writing story bibles. They contained characters and scraps about them. Scraps about the story at hand and possible titles and world news, and with the bibles in hand, I started writing the stories. A couple of sentences at first until I built up to a paragraph and then more sections until I hit the word count.
Since I’ve been gone this time, I’m not doing word counts anymore. I find they stress me out reaching them. Instead, I go by paragraphs. More depends on whether the story is short or book-length—the same with posts. I usually do a couple of paragraphs each night till I finish the post.
All this helps keep me on track. I find more enthusiasm for my work as time goes on. I went from hesitant to just getting in there, seeing the possibilities, and exploring where things lead. It keeps the gears turning. I’d rather do it this way than set that word count and fall short. That would make me avoid the page, and I’ve come to find writing is more like visiting with an old friend/s. More of the picture gets hung on the wall each time you do. Before long, inspiration comes when you put your fingertips to the keys.
This gets you looking forward to writing. If something is pure torture, I’m going to avoid doing it. Some writers don’t like writing. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t bother. There are times, I admit, there are roots that are in your way. But just like gardening, tear them up and get motivated. Like some other writers, I’ve learned when I run into a blockage; it’s because somewhere along the way, I’ve taken a wrong turn in the story. When this happens, you have to go back and uncover it and figure out how to fix it. It’s then that you can go forward and make progress.
Were the Ideas Even Real?
“However much food you ate, as long as you were alive, you would experience hunger again, and words, however you managed to capture them, would disperse again like phantoms into the void.”―
In writing, our ideas come, and then we don't write them down, and they are lost forever in some literary void. That's why I mentioned how a journal or note-keeping helps. Click To Tweet
I have a hazy memory of my health issues, so it’s a way to secure the ideas. I realize some authors say that if you can’t remember the pieces, the story isn’t worth writing, but I can’t entirely agree with that aspect. Some of us have better memories than others, that’s all. Besides, it’s not like when I glance at that note; it doesn’t take me back to the original thought. So what harm is there in the prodding?
I’ve always believed if a story is yours, it stays with you; keep records and use these snippets when you are ready to bring the story to life. How do you think many writers get an idea in their twenties and don’t actually write the book until they are much older? It’s all the jotting down that brings that story to mind once more. There is a lot on our plates to handle from day to day. Shouldn’t we be allowed a little notetaking? Why weigh yourself down with detail after detail when we get the same effect when we pull those notes out again and get to writing?
Yes, the void can be a place of loss. But it doesn’t have to be. Instead, let it become a place to store things for a while. When you’re ready, you’ll dig around in there and find those journals, and sparks will fly. No good ideas disappear, they say. However, why take the chance? Find a nice book to keep notes in, decorated or plain doesn’t matter. What does is that you keep it available at all times. Keep it next to your bed with your favorite pen. Maybe, there’s room for a book as well. Read that beforehand, if you like. It might inspire you with an idea or two.
Going through the void doesn’t have to be harsh. Either in notetaking or in the times that we set writing aside because life intervenes. We can’t always be healthy. A loved one might need care. Graduations occur. Weddings. Life changes. Numerous distractions are waiting to put us through that ringer. The writing will be there when you’re ready. Notes will backtrack you to the thoughts you had with a particular story. It all works out in the end. Keep faith.
Bio: Traci Kenworth
Traci Kenworth writes all genres of YA as well as the occasional historical romance. She lives in Ohio with her son, daughter, and four cats, chasing snippets of whatever story she’s working on at the time.
She has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Writing saved her during a dark period in her life.
She is forever grateful to God for this way out of the darkness and into the light. That’s the type of hero/heroine she writes about, survivors and those they love. Her writings show others a way back when they think everything is lost.
Her character’s stories give the reader that most welcome gift – hope. Some other things she enjoys: genealogy, riding horseback, and, of course, reading.
Follow Traci on her adventures of getting published.
Find out what Traci is up to on Where Genres Collide Traci Kenworth YA Author & Book Blogger
Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
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