Feeding the Well of Dreams

Every writer has a favorite writing time. I found that my best time to write is just after the coffee is brewed, dog fed, and just before I fully wake up. I have written in the afternoon and even the early evening. To write at those times I have to do a number of rituals– turn on the music, light a candle, stare into space, tap my heels– before I can write.

When I write half-asleep, I can feel the story well instead of trickle. I type fast and I don’t second guess myself. Writing that early must turn off my critic that wants perfection.

But I can dry up. I have written without feeding the creative well. During those times I have pushed to get a novel finished. When I published it on Amazon, I felt that rush of relief. Then there is nothing. No, little bits of scenes to tantalize my imagination. No, little bits of dialog to stun me.

It’s disconcerting to lose that ability to write the next words. To type nonononononononononono and nothing else comes out of my fingers.

So I found a solution. I don’t write all day long. I don’t consider it a job that must be done eight hours a day. For some reason when I do that I lose. I discover why other writers swear at writer’s block.

My solution is I need to feed the well of dreams. In the good old days before my illness, I worked in electronics and I met people through my work. I could watch, observe, and comment on people’s idiosyncrasies.

Things have changed drastically. If I am around people for extended periods of time, I can get every virus, cold, and infectious disease. I must get my feeding other ways.

I need to do something that could fix my attention in much the same way that writing does.  I can read tons of fiction and enjoy it. I can study the structure of fiction and tear apart a story. But, I need non-fiction to feed the well.

When the critic, the logical side, is engaged in an academic treatise on mythology, it is so engrossed that it doesn’t bother me when it comes time to write. In the same way that I need to walk every day with the dog, I also need time to study new subjects. I have studied quantum mechanics, biology, and even some psychology. Any soft or hard science is fair game.

Everything I read and study is grist for the mill. Everything goes into the well.

Many years ago when I lived in a drama-filled house, I learned that to be happy, I needed “balance in all things.” So it’s the same with my life. I am not just a writer of fiction. I am also a reader of science, an observer of nature, and a seeker.

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