Whenever I get a new story idea, I feel like I’m in a dream. Everything feels so real, so alive, and I want to soak up every single moment of it. I want to capture it all into words before I wake up. Because, I always wake up. And, when I do, it all just slips away, as always happens when one leaves a dream. I can still remember everything, but the passion I felt, the life, it’s gone. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to reclaim it.
It’s gotten so that now, when I get an idea, it becomes a race against the clock. As if I need to get it all written before I wake up. Much like Cinderella needing to leave the ball before midnight, it’s as if I need to write each new idea before my enchantment ends. For, if I wake before the tale is told, it will go unfinished for all eternity. And, there’s nothing sadder than an unfinished story.
Which means my computer is actually a very sad place. You can ask any one of my family members and they will tell you I am notorious for starting books and never finishing them. But, the thing they don’t understand is that I don’t quit because I want to. I quit because I have no other choice.
Or, that’s how I feel, anyway.
I’ve been working on the sequel to the book I plan on publishing next. I’ve even made a vow to myself that I’m not going to publish book one until book two is complete. It’s a big goal for me because I’ve never actually written a sequel before. And, this last month I’ve been so excited about it.
And then, at the beginning of this week, I woke up. I didn’t even realize it at first, but I just sort of stopped even thinking about this story. All of the emotions and effort that had gone into it before just disappeared. I went from being so excited about it to not even really caring. I want to finish this story because I made a vow, because I want to publish book one. But, I don’t want to finish this story because I love it anymore. I’m awake now. And, I don’t know how to fall asleep again and dream the same dream.
I spent Friday night trying to write anyway because any professional writer knows that “just write” is the greatest cure to writer’s block known to man. And, it worked- for 85 words. That’s when I started crying. I cut off midsentence and everything. So, I set the book aside and decided to work on it the next day- because everything always looks brighter in the morning, right? After all, none of the great writers ever worked at night- they always worked in the morning.
Well, morning came and inspiration didn’t. I still feel nothing about this book. I still have only one reason for wanting to write it. I now have a new story idea begging me for attention. But, I’m still going to finish what I started.
Because, living in a dream is no way to live at all. Waiting for passion and inspiration is no way to become professional, no way to get a job done. So, I started a document of ideas for my new story and I’m locking it away until my sequel is done. And, tomorrow, I’m starting Camp NaNoWriMo (https://campnanowrimo.org/sign_in) where I intend to get this baby finished if it’s the last thing I do. I’m going to write like there’s no tomorrow even if what I write doesn’t mean anything to me. I don’t know how well my story is going to turn out, but a finished flop is better than an unfinished bestseller. Because, a book can’t sell if it isn’t written. And, unlike the real world, dreams don’t come from lying around, from relaxing. They come from hard work and determination. The only way to rediscover passion is to look for it by dedicating myself into the thing I want to be passionate about.
I’m going to finish this book because I am tired of feeling like a quitter. It is so easy for me to feel uninspired, to grow distant from my work and just give up. But, every time I do, I feel like a piece of me dies. Like, something precious is stolen away from me, only there’s no way to apprehend the thief because the thief is me. Giving up is the best way to cheat yourself. Because, it’s so easy to lie to your heart and tell yourself you’re making the right choice. It’s easy to say that you can’t do something. But, as one of my dearest friends is always saying, “The man who says he can and the man who says he can’t are both right.”
I may have woken up from my beautiful dream. I may never get my passion and fire for this book back. But, I doubt that’s true. I think, all that it takes to reclaim a dream is to pretend you never woke up. To keep going until you’ve fooled your heart into thinking you’re asleep again. Because, if we can fool ourselves into quitting why can’t we fool ourselves into winning too?
I don’t know how this book is going to turn out. But I’m going to finish it. And, I’m going to keep safe that piece of me that dies when I quit. Because, there’s only so much of me and I really want to live. Because, as Peter Pan once put it, “To live would be an awfully big adventure.”
And, what writer isn’t looking for a grand adventure?
How about you? Do you have a dream you’re trying to reclaim? Do you have any special method for regaining inspiration once it’s gone?