After another re-read and edit, I have given (the hopefully almost) final draft of The Art of Breathing to a friend for another read through before it goes to the copyeditor. The Art of Breathing is the third in my series of crime novels set in Scarborough: The Art of the Imperfect (https://goo.gl/JrGat2) and The Art of Survival (https://goo.gl/6RPzk5) came out in 2014 and 2015.
I feeling strangely flat and de-motivated at this point. It is undoubtedly as Alan Garner describes it when he talks about his creative reservoir being low and in need of filling (The Voice that Thunders, 1997). He explains how when this comes upon him he feels ‘totally incapacitated’ and has to endure ‘self-loathing’.
I quoted Garner in my book Pathways through writing blocks in the academic environment (https://goo.gl/k360PX). Here I also explore the role of shame in writing. In an interview in 2012, Anne Tyler said the best way to write is to believe no-one else will ever read it, as, she suggests, thinking about an audience is a sure-fire way of halting the pen. I can no longer pretend that I am not preparing The Art of Breathing for publication, the copyeditor is engaged, the schedule is set. Shame and trepidation walk in. Publication is exposure, revealing parts of myself through writing, putting my work out there and declaring it is worth reading. For me, this evokes enormous shame. And from Tyler’s comments, I suspect I am not the only writer who struggles with this.
Also not working on The Art of Breathing has left a hole in my life. I’m guessing it might be like when a beloved child starts at school, those hours are now my own, but what do I do with them? What I have been doing is clearing a space – a physical space on my shelf (oh how I enjoy a good shred) which I intend will become a psychological and creative space.
I have other novels to write in my #Scarboroughmysteries series, but perhaps there is something else bubbling up? A project around the healing aspects of writing fiction, possibly? For the moment, the space is there, and I am waiting to see what, if anything, will begin to permeate it.
How do you feel when you complete a piece of writing and send it forth into the world of readers?