Is The Absence of a Sign, A Sign?


I’ve been making up stories my whole life. I still remember being six or seven and writing stories in a marble composition notebook sitting at my (I probably shared it with my sister) kids’ size fake Formica table in my grandparents’ apartment. I dreamed of being an author with my name on the cover of a book, copies filling shelves, and entertaining readers they way I am when a good book grabs on and doesn’t let go.

I’ve published three books, which wasn’t easy, and wrote three others that will probably never see the light of day. Those were my learning the craft books. Give me a one sentence idea I could probably outline a story for you on the spot. Story ideas are my favorite part of writing.

Except recently, I don’t have anymore ideas. They dried up in November like mums left outside without water. I think it started when I stopped sleeping. Then Noodge 2 was diagnosed with a vestibular migraine and missed school the whole month of December. She’s still on the mend and I’m still not sleeping and there are no stories.

My friends tell me the stories will come back. Not to worry. Take some time for myself. But I wonder if I’ve written my last book?

So, how do we know when we’ve come to a cross roads? How do we know the difference between it’s time to make a change and just wait it out? Things will turn around. Or is the absence of a sign, a sign?

I suppose you take each day as it comes. What is meant to be will be. There is also the saying, “In God’s time” which is certainly not my time.

I ask you, how do you handle your crossroads? How do you get quiet and listen for the answer? And when do you say you’ve reached the end of the journey it’s time for a new direction?



14 thoughts on “Is The Absence of a Sign, A Sign?

  1. I have been at this spot more times than I care to mention. You and KMF and CR got me through the last one. Be around writers. Don’t go through this alone. We have all been there. Give yourself this rest time. Maybe your energy has to be going towards your kids. That’s okay. Take classes on craft. Teach classes. Do something different and not writing. You will miss it. You will come back and then you’ll wonder how you ever stopped. I promise.

  2. As someone who knows you and loves you, here’s my take: When you have this urge that goes back to childhood and when you look back fondly at that manifestation of the urge, then it’s not temporary. If you played the violin but no urge to pick it up came to you, you would be doing yourself such a disservice let alone depriving those around you from enjoying the music you make. It’s the same with writing. And, to get a bit spiritual, that urge, that in-born talent, is a gift from on high. Use it, hone it, keep putting pen to paper and, if you are waiting for a sign, he who gave you that urge will reward you for not giving up. Pick up the violin, spirit will be your bow. Love you madly, girlie.

  3. Dear Daughter, or should I say “Wonder Woman” . You are and have always been waaaaay too hard on yourself. You’re in a slump and understandably so. With what has been going on in both your personal and professional life, its no wonder that the wind has gone out of your sails. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “This too shall pass”, well, its true. I promise you when all of this is behind
    you, your love of writing with be back in full force. As a matter of fact, this “slump” might just be the
    inspiration for your next story.

    So, hang in there, daughter, you’ve worked too hard and too long to give up now!

    Love you,

  4. There’s nothing wrong with a fallow period, Stacey! Good farmers know that to get better crops, you have to let the ground rest. To get “better” writing, you have to let the imagination rest! 🙂

    Three books in three years? You deserve this time. 🙂

    Read, enjoy your family & your yoga – and when your ground’s had its rest, new ideas will bloom.

  5. Your post, along with every response, speaks to my heart in more ways than I can express. I have felt this way for quite a while. (“(Something) dead, brain numb. Inspiration won’t come.” Hubby says this one every now and again–we’re both so blank, we can’t remember the first word, lol.)

    I too, have written three books–one trad-pubbed; its sequel completed. (I hope to self-pub the trilogy in the future.)

    Part Three has been underway for about two years. I get bits and pieces of inspiration; took forever for flashes of the characters to start showing themselves. (In my last two books my leads spoke to me constantly and scenes were forever running in my head.)

    I know what I want the story to accomplish, but my brain can’t seem to sort through the mess it has created around this WIP. What was originally to be part three of my trilogy is to be a spin-off. And I have one stand-alone, unrelated story I started as a contemporary and as a historical.

    I feel your pain, Stacey. So, I went the way Chris suggested and have accomplished other things in this time span. My writing routine started disintegrating about 7 years ago; family’s needs, life’s challenges and the toll these take on my psyche have made it very hard to create a new routine and stick to it. I also relate to Marykate’s input. We’ve been given this drive for a reason; perhaps it will manifest itself in other ways, in HIS time and not ours. (Waiting just sucks–yes?).

    Take care, hang in there. Read. Do fun stuff. Focus on what needs attention sans guilt re: writing, and explore other areas of interest. Remind yourself of this: We might not have accomplished what others have, but we still should be darned proud of what we have put out there–and even what others might never see.

    Of course, had I been thinking all this for a blog-post of my own, I’m sure the well would have been dry 😉 …

    1. It seems many writers go through this. I guess the creative mind is a fragile thing and needs cultivation. And a break from time to time, but I wonder how the authors who put out multiple books a year do it? There isn’t time for them to lose the desire to write. So much to think about.

      1. Cate Masters, who I interviewed on my blog a while back, put out 12 books that particular year. That boggles me. Caridad Pineiro worked (works?) full time as a lawyer and cranks ’em out too. Idk, maybe their brains are wired far differently than mine. I just try to accept my gift for what it is and make use of it in a way that works for me. When I stress about it I do myself no good.

  6. I’m always pushing for more. I’m never satisfied. That’s probably not a good thing and might be a reason why I’m burned out, but I’d like to learn to work smarter instead of harder. This way, I’m accomplishing my lofty goals and not killing myself in the process.

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