9.28.2004

Ab/Normality

Is it normal to go through a writing "dry spell" after completing a project? After finishing a long series or a long poem, I typically have some days where I don't want to write, but lately it's been a few weeks, coinciding with thesis drafting.

Or: am I washed up?

So, taking a poll: do you typically pause in writing after you put together a book? If so, how long?

If not, why aren't you more like me? ;)

5 comments:

  1. Don't ask me. I still haven't finished my first collection.

    Sigh.
    Double sigh.

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  2. Hi, C.R.

    In my former blog-city blog, I posted letters with an old poet-friend named Allen Sutterfield (who often writes under the name ADZE). At a certain point our correspondance stimulated these reflections (on my part), which may be apropos to your question:

    As far as creation and revision are concerned, I find that creation is like a gas pedal, and revision like a brake -- two operations that are opposites, that are requisite to good driving, but that you can't do at the same time. And if you've been braking for a prolonged period of time -- down the long hill of editing a book manuscript for instance -- it's hard to get into acceleration mode again....it's like the gas pedal gets rusted stuck . . . perhaps a more apt analogy is to the relation between faith and doubt (which can also be compared to gas and brake...) in driving around and through the obstacles of life.
    I'm obviously driven. But I think I've taken that banal metaphor for enough of a ride...

    You can read the whole letter at...

    http://briancampbell.blog-city.com/read/754096.htm

    (The letters are kind of fun, if prolix.)

    Anyway, have patience. Take a rest. Read. Enjoy. Don't let the shoulds take over and become deperate musts. After the fallow period, fresh growth will unfurl. (I write this to myself, or at least myself in former periods, who may well be the future me, as much as you... right now, I'm enjoying a lovely time of fecundity... love that word, makes me think of MANURE, gnarled roots, that sort of stuff)

    All power to you! Congratulations on what you've accomplished. That is no small feat! (and I haven't even read it!)

    Brian

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  3. Don't you always feel the pressure to write a poem? I do. It sucks. I have dry spells all the time, and then have ferocious writing months, where I write the same poem 20 times and end up keeping 2 of them. I think I fear lack of growth the most. I'm afraid that I'm not growing as a writer. You are not alone, CJ, believe me.

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  4. Charlie,


    I'm of the feeling that it's pretty normal to have dry spells after completing something like a book. I mean, you've spent what amounts to years working on the thing. It's okay to have a cool off moment.

    After I finished my first manuscript, I didn't write for a few weeks. I just read a whole bunch of stuff. In fact, I did a lot of de-ritualizing. I read poets who were very different from my style . . .

    Then I got anxious.

    That was actually a good thing. I was ready to write then. My mind was clear. I I had an adequate amount of time to adjust to being a different artist from the one who wrote the first book.

    Enjoy the time that you're not writing!

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  5. very very normal, I would say.

    I was in such a rut for so long after finishing my book.

    I think it's the pressure or something of thinking "what's next?" combined with a bit of resting on one's laurels.

    I know it sucks though because it just feels like it will *never* end. Then one day it magically does...

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