When a writer spends a weekend of work and fails, at day’s end, to have come up with anything exciting, where does the fault reside?
Is it the idea? The style? Or the writer herself?
Some chapters are anchors. They hold the plot in place; they establish what must be known. They don’t fly—they trudge dutifully toward that next, more exciting place. And yet, the same anchor can feel like something entirely not-good when it’s tied around the writer’s neck. The darkness is deep. And it’s a long way from the bottom.
Face it, Self. Some days are just blah. One is born there, lives there, seems destined to die there. Those stones in our shoes that ache so badly on the long walk to Story are ones we placed there ourselves.
In the Land of Blahs, we make mistakes. We judge ourselves unkindly. We throw babies out with bathwater. We do not see forests for trees.
Sometimes the Wizard of Blahs has a point. Sometimes the Wizard is telling us something we need to hear. Sometimes the Wizard knows the difference between good enough and better. And sometimes, he’s just the little bald guy behind the curtain.
I seem to recall going through something like this during the writing of The Spiritkeeper. There, too, I found myself facing an opening that lay deflated on the page, that gave the story nothing. That sad awareness led to a far better way in. That instance isn’t this one. And sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. Or the reason for it.
A long thing, this yellow brick road of storytelling. Its cobbles aren’t smooth. Its way is winding. Its destination is not clear; false directions wait all along the path, with no friendly scarecrow to point out the right one. And frankly, the journey itself is one damned big pain in the butt.
And the nastiest little secret of all: The Wizard is me.