I finished a script about a month or two ago and had a weird feeling. For the first time in a long time, I didn't have another story to write. This never happens. One of the reasons for that is I'm always thinking of the next story to write, while working on the present piece. This time was no exception. The difference was, all my ongoing titles are still in development. I didn't want to start issue three until two had some progress. I can put my time into a new project. The problem was, I didn't have a new project.
That feeling drives me crazy. Personally, I feel that if I'm not writing, I'm failing. I start to get into my own head and think I"m not good enough, or I don't have enough ideas to maintain this over the long run. These are never good things to have run through your mind as a writer. It's bad enough that, while working on a story, it never feels good enough. Self-doubt is a normal feeling. For me, they always end the same way ... with triumph. After the headaches and aggravation, I'm typically happy with the finished script. You kind of get used to the self-doubt and don't let it consume you while your working.
But what happens when you don't have a project to work on? That's where you can really start to psyche yourself out. When this happens, it's time for a distraction. Suddenly, that giant pile of comics starts to get read. I had the pleasure to sit and read a novel. The thing is, I needed to keep my writing muscles going too. Reading is great. You can learn a lot by reading. But writing ... that's what I want to do. I found myself world-building a story just for fun. This may never amount to anything. It may. Either way, it's okay. Without realizing it, I found a new story to write.
I had an idea for a short that would fit my friend's book. He agreed and I wrote that. Since it's going to set up a larger crossover that is in the works, this was an important story. Then back to reading comics. Suddenly, someone asks me what I would do with a title he thought of. I rattle a few ideas. Now, not only am I world-building for this title, I'm writing my first prose story. Talk about an undertaking. (I admit, I"m excited for this one). Then, another short story is proposed and another. Now, I'm shoulder deep in stories to write.
That's how this works. The lesson here, prepare for that down time. Have something to keep you mind off the self-doubt. It'll be there. For me it was reading (something I won't be able to do for a little while). The work will come. Ironically, I'm better because of the break. I had the opportunity to study some work and now I can apply this into a new story. I also had a chance to breathe, to get away from the computer for a little while. I didn't think that was important, but it helped. Writing isn't my main source of income so financially, I was never in danger. However, if this is going to be your career, you need to make sure you have you finances in order for those inevitable breaks. I'm sure any professional can attest to the pain of looking for freelance work.
Okay, peeps. I need to get back to my writing.
Until next time.