Simply put, I haven’t been writing for the last couple of months. I’m not ready to call it a writers BLOCK, mainly because I am not convinced that such a condition really exists. It’s more like I am out of balance, so the creativity just isn’t sending me to the page. I’ve had a lot of my mind lately. I traveled a lot this summer– Portugal, Spain, and Morocco. It was a wonderful experience, but I mostly just scribbled in my journal. Then, my favorite aunt passed away after a lengthy illness, and this broke my heart. So I haven’t been much interested in playing with my imaginary friends. That’s what I call my novel-writing because I engage with the characters as though they are in the room with me.
I’m telling myself not to worry. That the writing will come back. It always does. I have to just have faith in it.
Though I haven’t been writing, I’ve been reading. Mostly books that haven’t yet been published. When the reviews come out, I’ll let you know. I’ve also read some really exciting manuscripts that I have been honored to blurb. (Get ready; 2014 is going to be tremendous for black women writers. I’ll post about the books individually as soon as they are available for pre-order. Seriously.) I know there are writers who don’t like to read while they work, but I am just the opposite. Reading inspires me and reminds me how much I love everything about literature. It makes me eager to join in the conversation. I don’t worry about being influenced by another author– I hope for it. To be influenced is to grow. And it’s a connection between one artist and another.
I’ve got a really exciting retreat coming up and I hope that my characters are packing their imaginary suitcases because I’m spending three weeks in southern France at the La Muse Inn. I promise to post photos once I get there. This isn’t Paris– it’s more like a sleepy little village with a population in the low three digits. And my French is limited to ordering breakfast, so I will be forced to listen to my own mind instead of social butterflying. It’s good, it’s what I need.
I’ve had to turn down a number of really sparkly invitations in order to take this time, but it’s the right thing to do. In a busy world, it’s hard to settle down enough for the kind of deep contemplation required to create a world with nothing but paper and ink.
Wish me luck.