I consider this blog to be one of my safe places so I feel no qualms about sharing with y’all that I’m currently in scary space. You see, it’s past time for me to begin my next novel and while my muse has been gently and consistently prompting me to tell her story, I have yet to write a single line. Wait, I take that back. A few months ago I wrote a scene from the many glimpses I’ve had into my protagonist’s life. It’s a highly emotional scene and I’m pretty sure it’s just one of many more. That’s precisely the problem.
Let me explain myself a little better. I’m an immersion writer. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, an immersion writer is one who gives their entire life over to their current project. They don’t just want to research being a minor league football player, they find a way to become a minor league football player. Then they write from that experience. A notable immersion writer is John Howard Griffin of Black Like Me. Immersion writing typically applies to journalists or non-fiction writers, but I’m choosing to use the term in relation to myself because I emotionally immerse myself into the lives of the fictional characters I’m creating.
This is where my resistance to starting my next book comes in. I’m at a point in my life where I’m genuinely happy and content. It’s been a long time coming and I had to fight my fair share of battles to get here. I don’t want to immerse myself in the emotional landmine that I’m sure this book is meant to be. I don’t want my muse to tell me of her secrets. I don’t want to unveil the experience of her neglect and misuse. I don’t want to know what she’s been through. I don’t want to feel the sorrow of it all. I’ve admitted before that I was once afraid to sit in the stillness of my own sorrow, so I for sure don’t want to sit in fullness of her’s.
Yet, because I finally worked up the courage to sit in my own sorrow, I know that doing so is the only way to help her make it through to the joy that I fully believe is waiting for her on the other side. The same way it waited for me. The same way it will be waiting for the readers of this next book who need to know that it’s possible to come out of a place of hard-earned despondency into unmerited grace. So I’ll sit with her in sorrow, but only because I plan to journey with her to victory.
Does the project you’re working on affect your mood? Have any advice about how to emotionally distance myself from the occurrences of my work-in-progress, without losing the sensitivity that my writing style requires? Anyone ever wanted to write one thing, but feel pressed to write something entirely different? I’d love to hear your thoughts and advice!