I am a reader who reads across genres and I write across genres too. Now that I have debuted with a book of speculative stories, I have been wrestling with what to do next. This wrestling is not just being done on a logistical level but on a psycho-emotional level as well. Having created a speculative platform, I have this little voice in my head saying I need to stay in that zone. BUT I have a novel that is not speculative that exists as a full 320-page first draft.
What got me to the point of putting out Ancient, Ancient was a desire to honor my work. I spent so much time complaining about the fact that I did not have a novel that I decided I needed to step back and acknowledge what I did have. What I had was enough stories to make a collection. Publishing the stories has been amazing. Coming from the perspective of honoring what I have (and from the logistical perspective of building on what I have before I start creating new things), the clear next move is to do a second draft of the novel that exists. However, as yet I have been unable to get in psycho-emotional alignment with that path of action. Without that alignment, everything I work on is an uphill battle. I can’t create the inertia I need with my own emotional support of my efforts.
While discussing this dilemma with me, a friend described a workshop she recently took that examined the concept of inheritance—specifically the habits and attitudes we inherit from our families. She helped me draw connections between my hesitations and my family patterns, by asking: Where are your blocks coming from? How do your parents block themselves from their own progress? What are the parallels in your life? What is so troubling and exciting about creativity is that it is linked to our emotions. We produce or don’t produce for a myriad of dizzying and often hidden reasons. If productivity were all about creative spark and skill, there would be a lot more art in the world. After examining my blocks, I decided that I really need to build on what I have and not create anew. It makes absolutely no sense to write a complete novel draft and leave it unrealized.
I thought being freed to work on this novel was the end of this conversation. So imagine my surprise when I went looking for the files for first draft of the novel and stumbled upon *another* novel–one that I don’t even remember creating?!?! It has been outlined and the chapters are all written (with dialogue and all) in shorthand. It has a full story arc set on a fictional island with diverse characters and situations. You know your relationship to your creativity is not fully realized when you don’t even know all the riches that are in your store!
Consider this a public service message: For the good of humanity and your own wellbeing, unearth your riches, clean and polish them, and present them in the world. The world is hungry to receive your work.
Be well. Be love[d].
Kiini Ibura Salaam