Post-Novel Writing Ennui

I hate this part of writing. Hate it. But it’s as inevitable as rain in spring: you’re going to write your book, and when you finish you will be briefly elated, and then you will kick around and flail and stare at your computer like it’s suddenly transformed into some strange alien object. Words? Characters? Story? What?

I never know what to do with myself after I finish writing a book. I tell myself that I’m going to write a gazillion short stories and maybe a poem or two, plus of course 900 blog posts of splintering brilliance — but I never account for weariness, and instead of all that I maybe edit a story and write the opening paragraphs to half a dozen others. It suddenly seems like so much work, and I have just finished a lot of work, and I’m ready for something easy now. But writing isn’t easy. It’s not supposed to be. I suppose it could be if I were capable of writing something goofy just for shits and giggles, but every time I start it turns serious and becomes work again. And then I stop, because I want to write but I don’t want to work.

Eventually it sorts itself out. Either I finally find a project and stick with it — start working — or enough time has passed that I can turn around and edit the novel I just finished. I suppose both solutions are about letting time pass so my head can clear itself out and the work can start to look fun again. I love writing, so I can’t stand it when I don’t love it. Does that make sense? Some people write to have written, but I’m very much in love with the process. I’d almost rather be neck deep in a novel forever than have to go about the process of finishing it.

Now I’ve written that, it doesn’t really make sense. Or it does, but it seems like it shouldn’t. That could be a tag line for all of writing in general: Makes sense, but it shouldn’t. This is a weird thing we do, folks, a very wonderful but a very strange thing. And I wouldn’t give it up for anything, even right now when it’s driving me a little crazy.


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