I am writing these words seated in the corner of a new-to-me coffee shop on a weekday evening. I had this planned, this writing break, this get out of the house break. Whatever the name; I needed it. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends this year (these past few months especially) and needed to set a date and time to get out of the house and be alone. I’d driven past this cafe a few times and always seemed to make the point of telling my husband I’d have to try it out sometime. Much to my disappointment it’s nothing special. I already know I won’t return. But for now it will do.
A friend of mine recently wrote about how she came up the idea for her second novel. I had no story. I had no characters, no hooks, no settings. So I put Sullivan in a wagon and I literally went out to find a story to write, she wrote.
I haven’t been able to get this out of my head, and not just because I’m secretly obsessed with how writers get their ideas. Suzy’s words gave voice to the struggle I’ve been going through this year: My desire to write grows with every passing day, yet I’m missing a story.
The truth is I haven’t been listening. I’ve been working extra long hours and helping my kid with his homework and trying to keep a clean house and semi-nutritious food on the table and dealing with family health issues and grieving my mother—there has been no time for much else, no mental capacity for anything else. So I stopped listening. And now, as I try my best to ease back in to writing, I hear only silence. Crickets.
Without a story, I focus on other things. I write about my mom and my dad. I exercise my writing muscle that hasn’t been used regularly for months in hopes that when a story does appear I will know what to do with it.
I ease in, because that’s all I know to do right now. That’s all that can be done.