I haven’t worked on my book for a month and a half. The last time I sat down to, I gave up because there was no energy there. Even though people seem to like my story and are eager to find out what happens next, I am simply not compelled or inspired to work on it.
So the question becomes: do I force myself to continue? When I look at how much work I’ve put into this project, it makes me feel like I cannot quit; yet when I look at how much work is left to be done, quitting feels possible. Not only possible, but a relief. An unloading of some great burden.
Which makes me ask: Am I simply being a quitter? A coward? Afraid of hard work, and lacking the determination to follow through?
I used to work. Like a real job, with real hours, and real pay, in a real office. I quit because I sensed it was killing me, in some subtle yet fundamental way. Now I’m a cartoonist and like to think of my “work” as play. When you look at the “works” of Bill Watterson, Dr. Suess, or Shel Silverstein, you can see they are playing. They are having fun. It’s THAT which makes their “work” great. Now of course it still takes effort and patience and skill. But when you’re playing, everything aligns and feel effortless.
The truth is, I don’t know what I’m capable of, and this book doesn’t feel like it’s helping me discover that anymore. I like to think of the mind as a receiver, like a radio. If I’m tuned into one station all the time (the book), how can I discover anything new? There’s something out there which wants to be discovered, but I won’t find it if I’m circling familiar territory.
The graphic novel has helped me get to a place where I’m able to pick up more “radio signals”, and I’m not saying that I’m definitely ending it. But I am putting it aside for now, and casting my fishin’ line into the depths to see what else turns up. It’s a little scary, but the unknown always is.