The open book: what writers don’t tell writers about writing (part 3)

Caren Gussoff Sumption
3 min readDec 30, 2020
Photo by Bruce Christianson on Unsplash

I cannot write my novel.

Not can’t write. I’m physically capable of the act of writing. I mean, I wrote this.

Not don’t wanna write. I wanna. I wanna hard. And, even if I didn’t wanna, that would not be the issue. I’ve done this long enough to know inspiration is bullshit, and the stuff you write when you feel afire is not one iota different than the words you feel like you have to drag to line up in sentences (seriously, write inspired, write uninspired, go away for 2 weeks and tell me you can tell the difference. Cuz you can’t).

Not not ever gonna. I will. This is a temporary condition. Probably. Definitely. I hope. I know. Pretty sure.

Just, right now, I cannot write my novel. I show up at my computer, with my notebook and all the trimmings. I tap at keys and make marks with pens, do all the things, sans ennui or malice, as proof. But, my control is gone.

Like, poof, about a month ago. I lost all my control.

Here’s what I mean: I have a novel manuscript. It’s in 3 parts. Part 1 is pretty done. Part 2 is ready for deep revision. Part 3 is wild chaos of badness. This is all fine.

I can neither pick up the threads I see, bare and clear, before me in Part 2 nor get loose…