Re-engaging the gears

When I am working on a story, there are always a few little problems I need to solve. Maybe I need to invent some way for the hero to escape, or I know two necessarily scenes, but not how to connect them, or I need a scene to make a character more sympathetic, or maybe even just trying to think of a good title or place name. So while I’m thinking of more immediate things, my subconscious is always worrying away at these little bones. My mind likes to feel busy, and so I like to have a go to problem to think about when I have extra clock cycles (especially in the 30 seconds between when I go to bed and when I fall asleep).

Normally this is no problem, because I always have some story going. Even if I don’t work on it for a couple of weeks, my subconscious is still solving problems or coming up with useful additions without me really noticing that it’s doing it. In fact, sometimes I can’t work on a story until my mind turns it over long enough to get a couple of major issues resolved. Even when I am close to finishing up a story, I usually start mulling over the next story, in preparation for writing it.

However, after I finished my last story a couple of days ago, I haven’t really hit on an idea that I’d like to write next. I think this really might be the first time since I’ve started writing (just under 3 years, would you believe it!) that I didn’t have a story that I was actively thinking about. It turns out, not having something churning around back there gives me a vague feeling of unease. Just one of those things you don’t realize is missing until it’s gone.

Several times a day, when I’m not really thinking of anything else, my mind will just go totally blank for a second. You probably assume that having a totally blank mind is my default state, and thus I would be very comfortable, but it’s as if my mind just gives me a nudge every now and again, like, “Hey, we’ve got nothing to do in here!” It’s like being in neutral: the engine’s running, but it’s got nothing to do. The drive-shaft is not engaged.

Probably by the end of the day, I will have settled on a new story idea. I’m looking forward to it! I didn’t realize how fulfilled my mind has been since I started writing, and how thoroughly the itch has become accustomed to being scratched!


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