Joels Journal – 01/18/2016

20151104 _JJW0542Emptying the cup

We’ve finally had a break through.

As I’ve written (at length) about, my creative gears have been jammed these past couple months.

Whether that’s a product of being completely immersed in my reporting, or not knowing where my novel is going, or perhaps a combination of the two, I’m not really sure.

What I’m sure of is that for the past eight weeks I’ve been frozen. My thoughts, usually flowing like oil from my brain through my fingers have turned to concrete.

That was, until I came across this old story.

A student goes to visit a professor, the two are sharing thoughts over tea, but the student refuses to listen to his teacher, instead he continues to talk and talk while he drinks his tea. The professor pours the student more tea, but doesn’t stop pouring when the liquid reaches the brim and starts to spill off onto the table.

“It’s full, it’s full!” the student says, “Stop!”

“It’s like you,” the professor says. “Your cup is full already, I can not teach you anything until you empty your cup.”

It just kind of clicked for me that it’s exactly how I’ve been feeling about my book.

Over these past few months I’ve been approaching it with thoughts about where I want it to go, worries that I may not be able to get it there, thoughts about character motivations, themes, symbolism, all this shit that ruins a story in its first draft in my opinion.

I know these things, and I avoided when writing my first novel and my serial novel.

So, this morning I emptied my cup.

It’s like the shade had lifted. My alarm pealed at 6 a.m. And instead of swiping my phone off onto the carpet in an attempt to hit the snooze button I was awake and immediately reaching for my laptop.

I plugged my headphones in and the words flowed.

Here’s the thing though, I wasn’t working on my novel.

In order to dump all that crap I’ve been thinking about my current project, I decided to work on a quick short story for a week or two before going back to the novel.

Going back with an empty cup.

This short story is an idea I’ve been kicking around in my head for probably three or four years. I wrote about six pages to start it off back in university.

I can’t remember why I eventually sealed it up and put it away in the trunk, but I’ve since rescued those pages and I’m giving the story a second life, refreshing the old pages and giving it a fitting ending.

It may not be the project I had in mind, but it’s got me writing again.

That’s really all I care about.

Thanks for reading,

J.J.W.