Writing Through The Mist

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. ~Anaïs Nin

Lately, I’ve been feeling as though I’m in a fog. Not in my every day life, but my writing life. I have a story idea in my mind but can’t seem to get my brain in gear. It’s as if the story is far off in the distance and I’m in the foreground squinting my eyes to see.

I’ve tried not to make it a big deal. There are other things I can busy myself with, other stories to be revised; notes to be made. There is even cooking and cleaning to do if I am desperate enough. Always, there is a book I can pick up and read. But it’s difficult to feel settled hearing the whisperings of this story inside me, niggling, taunting— “Write me..”

The ground work for this next story is already in place. The characters exist, and for weeks now I’ve been living with a vague sense of where the story will go.

But today, I had a break through. I caught a small glimpse of the sun through the mist and fog, and I ran with it. Suddenly, the story began to unfold before me, details began to reveal themselves to me. All those vague plot ideas came together and made sense.

I jotted down the storyline at lunchtime, in the notebook I carry with me to work. I love when a story, that once seemed murky, begins to make its way though the fog and mist. This doesn’t mean the story will simply write itself. I’m sure along the way the fog will overtake me again, but for today I saw the sun and I was well pleased.


Have you ever felt as though you were writing through the mist? Did you wait for it to clear or did you trudge your way through until you made it through to the other side?

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17 Comments

  1. Trudge through create dead stuff. On the other hand it may get you through the block when you come alive again and you can always tweak the trudge sludge to make it congruent with the mood of the story and characters.

    Reply
    • Thank goodness for tweaking, Carl. A lot of greatness can came through during that process. The important thing is to keep on writing. :)

      Reply
  2. Melanie

     /  August 18, 2011

    Glad to hear it. I just love the photos!!!

    Reply
    • Thanks. We didn’t run into any fog until we hit the tree lot. It’s was kind of weird. Glad I had my camera. :)

      Reply
  3. It’s amazing what the threat of cooking and cleaning can do! lol I’m glad to hear you got a breakthrough, Laura. Sometimes I need to do something else for awhile and let the ideas simmer in the back of my mind. They’ll come forth when ready. Otherwise, it’s almost torture to try to write.

    Reply
    • I’m not sure, Patti, but I believe that the threat of cooking and cleaning has inspired many wonderful works through history. I do find that if I go on the assumption that everything will eventually become clear, it usually does. Takes patience, however and faith. :)

      Reply
  4. The same thing happened to me yesterday while out on my run. Its been a few weeks since I’ve done any solid writing on my second novel. Instead, I’ve busied myself with working out small details and doing character studies. The work needed to be done, but I was itching to write – I just couldn’t figure out how to bridge the gap between to major plot points. Then about halfway through my run yesterday, it hit me! I finished my mile in record time so I could back to the house and write it all down. :-)

    I’m so glad you had a breakthrough! Thank goodness for notebooks you never leave at home!

    Reply
    • Good for you, C.B. I’m not a runner, but I’ve heard that running is a great way to clear the mind and hep us to focus on our creativity. Why is it when the answers come , they seem so simply? I just love it!

      Reply
  5. I feel exactly the same way with every new book I write. And that happens while I’m in the process of revising the current manuscript. One time I finished a final draft and I didn’t have a new story forming in my head. I was distraught, believing that it was over, there were no more stories. That terrible feeling lasted 2 years, and then one day the mist passed and the story emerged. Hallejuha. What a great feeling.

    Reply
    • Glad I’m not alone, Joylene. I wonder if we ever stop wondering if the fountain will dry up? Gee, that might be a topic for a blog post..

      Reply
  6. Beautiful photos, Laura. I sympathize. I’ve had a heck of a time keeping the fog cleared this year. I hope your fog stays away for a good long time.

    I don’t try to write through it. I usually try to write something else. But now I’m thinking maybe I should threaten myself with housework … it might clear that fog pronto! :-)

    Reply
    • Thanks, Linda. I sometimes turn toward something else as well. I tend to get bored easily if it doesn’t come easy, but turning that turning to something else might just last a few days, or it could even be a few months. Yeah, the threat of housework is always scary for me..

      Reply
  7. fivecats

     /  August 20, 2011

    Very nice photos of fog. It’s not easy to get a good image.

    Reply
  8. Thanks, Five Cats. The picture was shot about 7 in the morning. The fog seemed to have appeared from out of nowhere.

    Reply
  9. Gorgeous photos, Laura, and an apt analogy. I sometimes complain that my brain feels like it’s stuffed with cotton batting… the thoughts get muddled up and mired down in it. I write anyway, knowing that it’s going to be garbage, but eventually the debris will be pushed aside and better words will find their way through. I’m glad you’ve had your breakthrough. Happy writing! I’m still on vacation, writing only odd bits but working up enthusiasm for a fresh start when I get back.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Carol. I seldom go any place now without my camera. I’m sure you are the same.

      Stuffed with cotton batting…sounds like a good way to describe it. Will enjoy seeing you back and blogging at the end of August. Perhaps one day I’ll take a vacation.

      Reply
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