Dear Miss Snark,
Your blog keeps me connected and energized and writing - and I'm hoping you can help now.
I've finished a novel, edited it extensively, gotten lots of great feed back from other writers and a couple of agents I deeply respect. I've started a rewrite. I'm plugging away...
Now, suddenly, I feel overwhelmed by the whole damn thing. For the last few weeks, the thoughts of approaching the work in any way or form just seems to be the last thing I want to do. I've lost my momentum. I've lost confidence. I can't seem to decide how to tell the story...where it REALLY should begin...whether or not it even matters...or why it matters that I try again.
I've had moments of thinking the work is brilliant - and I know for a fact that its my best writing ever. Even now, LOGICALLY, I believe it to be a pretty good bit of fiction, with an interesting hook and decent, well-edited line tension on many of its pages.
But I just can't do it...
Its a horrible feeling.
Have you any advice for a writer who feels defeated by her own imagination?
Stop writing for a while.
Recharge your imagination coils.
Go look at art.
Go stand in front of great paintings for more than three seconds.
Then go look at some really bad art. You can find that in museums too.
Sometimes right next to the really good stuff.
Really really look.
Keep doing it for a while.
You don't need to "know" anything about art.
Just experience it.
What makes art great is that you can feel it, as well as appreciate the skill of the artist.
You cannot do this with mass produced things, so no "retail therapy".
You can't do it with novels.
You can do it with poems but you have to read them aloud, outside, really really loudly.
Every single great artist I know (and I know more than one and fewer than ten) spends time recharging.