There are times in our writing lives — I know we’ve all been there — when we are between projects and struggling to make the transition from one piece of work to another. Now, I know that some writers work on two or even more projects at the same time, so they never have that empty, in-between feeling. Alack and alas, I am not among them!
I find that I need to throw myself pellmell, totally and headlongedly (love this word, I made it up!) into one project. I need to live, eat, and breathe it until it’s done. Yes, now and then an idea pops up related to something else I’ve put on the back burner and I jot it down so I don’t forget it and then throw it into a folder. But since I have a tendency to be easily distracted, I find that it’s best for me to focus my energies on one overarching goal — one writing target — and just keep flinging words at it until it seems to be finished.
Ah, there’s the rub! Once it is done — or as done as I can make it for the moment — I experience elation and a sense of accomplishment. Over time, I’ve learned to let myself savor these sensations and marinate in them for a while. But then I feel a kind of restless energy surging up and I begin looking for a new target. Once I’ve settled on it, I experience relief, which is often followed by…panic!
Why? Mainly because I need to let some pressure build up before I can really commit to something new. I need to let my ideas roll around in my head and percolate. I need to stay loose and relaxed for this to happen. Which means I need to let myself be in limbo for a while and dwell in the land of Betwixt, Between. It’s not always a comfortable place to be because it’s just a way station, a kind of mental and emotional halfway house, but I’ve learned it’s a necessary stop for me. How about you? Do you find yourself feeling adrift in between projects? If so, I’d love to hear how you handle this state. Write on.