Now that it’s a new year, and work on the cottage is over, I’ve been trying to get back into my writing routine. But the thing making it difficult, is I’m getting writing hangovers.

I’ll be walking down the street or around the supermarket, and I’ll think it’s weird that I’m “here” instead of “there.”

The easiest way to explain, is to compare it with book hangovers.

Book Hangovers

Like many others, when I finish a really good book, I find it hard to adjust to reality at the end. It’s a thing, “they” call it a book hangover. As Leandra Beabout reports, there’s a definite sense of loss you have to work through, the more exciting and intense the story is, the harder it is to get over.

Back to the Writing Hangover

It’s been a while since I wrote anything much, and at the moment, I’m trying to ease back into the flow with short stories. Pacing myself at the shorter end of the spectum before diving in at the longer end.

A bit like easing into the ocean or a cold swimming pool – the seasonal simile that springs to mind now we’ve had a couple of sequential days of warm weather. Even Clever Girl takes her time, paddling about at the edges before launching into the deeper water.

I suppose that’s useful for checking the current – in the flow of stories too.

Writing shorter stories theoretically means the hangovers are smaller, but by their nature short stories are more intense. you slip out of your usual reality, and for a short time, become someone else.

The Creative Voice

All writers are different, but I’m the kind of writer who doesn’t write so much as take dictation. Whether that’s the voice of a god(dess), or a muse – perhaps Calliope (epic poetry), Melpomene (tragedy), or Thalia (comedy).

I don’t know where the voice comes from, but it’s been quiet since the stroke. Psychologists and neurologists call it your Inner Dialogue, and all I know is that it’s talking so much I can barely keep up!

Then again, sometimes a character scratches at the edge of my consciousness. Sometimes they call to me from books I’ve read, other times they’re my creations.

Like Vee, the ex-triad main character from Never Going to Be a Hero hiding out on Mephisto Station. About whom I’ve just written a new story and sent it off to a magazine.

Or Georgia Garside from Taipan vs Brown. (New novella in the publication queue).

The End

Yes it’s hard, but that’s probably why Kay Bolden describes it as a kind of drunkeness (the story is behind a paywall, but you can get the gist of it with the free excerpt). She goes so far as to say that’s what Ernest Hemingway meant when he said, “Write drunk, edit sober.”

He meant allow the process of creation to intoxicate you and edit later when your hangover has passed.

Kay Bolden

So. I’ll keep writing, easing myself into the cold waters of story, until (mixing my metaphors), I reach ground effect and can take off once again.

Writing hangover be damned!

For more Haiku, click here.

Photo of space shuttle view outside the Earth by NASA on Unsplash


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