My Lifeless Novel

I started a novel almost 10 years ago.  It’s still in the beginning stages of the story.  Here’s the problem:

I can’t write the story if I can’t “see” the story.  By that I mean, when I was writing those many years ago, my process was, well, different.  I would sit, for hours, or lay in my bed looking at the ceiling and visualize the story I was telling.  It was as if I could see it playing out on a movie screen in my head.  Then, I would write non-stop for hours.  I would write what I just “watched.”  Now, though, as tired as I am from work, I just don’t have those silent moments to sit and visualize anymore and it’s so incredibly frustrating for me.  I miss my characters!  They had such interesting personalities and the story I have for them is simply incredible.  I still very much want to share it with everyone.

I’ve reached a point where I desperately need a career change but I feel completely trapped in my current career.  I work manual labor, have since high school, and it’s all I’ve ever done.  My resume is quite impressive in that field…but really all it takes is hard work and commitment to a task to build an “impressive” manual labor resume.  Problem is…my talents don’t lie in just lifting and stacking heavy things, I can do and do well many other things.  I just don’t have the experience listed to prove it.  Nor have I wasted 4 years of my life and 35 thousand dollars on a slip of paper to wave around showing I’m “qualified” to do jobs I’ve never touched before.  In essence, I’ve been typecast as The Grunt.

Over the years I’ve sought new ways to inspire myself to write, even if it was just little bits at a time, and I have done so.  But, those little bits were dry, emotionless and truly felt like “filler.”  That is NOT what I want in my story.  I don’t want sections of the story to exist purely as word count.  I’ve tried writing a separate, unrelated novel, hoping that would recharge me.  It didn’t.  Now I have 2 novels born of great ideas that sit dormant.  I’ve tried blogging hoping that would spark something.  It does, for a short time, but the main issue, of not being able to sit and visualize, still remains.  And, usually, my blogs go the way of the dodo.

Which brings me to now.  I thought, maybe, I would try to work on some short stories in the hopes that successfully completing something will be the spark that gets me burning again.  I thought it might be fun to make these short stories be background on various parts of my original novel.  In my original novel when the main characters finally arrive to the new world, the reader would get a little bit of that worlds history.  To accompany that, one of my short stories could be all about that world.  More detailed and filled with more information.  It would give more depth.  Likewise I could give more detailed backstories to some of the other characters within the story.  Understanding their motivations better and creating more or a connection between them and the reader.  This idea does excite me…but I worry that history will repeat itself.  I’m worried that next to my unfinished novels will sit multiple unfinished short stories.

What I need is outward motivation, proof that some interest in the stories exist, giving me a feeling of a feigned deadline.  Knowing someone actually WANTS to read it so I better get to writing!  Maybe the short stories will help and generate interest in the characters and places.  All I do know is that I have to try something.  I can’t do nothing.

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