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Image from Flickr, Diamond Hoo Ha Man

I’m in a position I haven’t been in for a loooooong time.

I don’t know what to write next.

I first came across Camilla Hall’s story in 1999 and always knew that her story was worth a book. The next year I wrote the first essay that would appear in my memoir, and I knew my story was worth a book, too. So for 23 years, I’ve always had at least one book project in the works.

And now I don’t and it feels weird. More than weird; it feels stressful! That’s all on me: I put pressure on myself to produce. I will be teaching creative writing starting in the fall and as a teacher of writing, I feel that I should always have some writing in the hopper.

I’ve been mulling over writing about beauty and how my idea of it has changed over the years, but it’s just not coming together. I came across the story of a British artist who was killed in the Spanish civil war and it’s intriguing (and a lot like Camilla’s story), but there’s so little out there on her that I don’t think it could be more than an essay.

Part of me is a little tired of research coming off the Camilla book. Research takes so long! So then I think, maybe I will write personal essays. But I already wrote a memoir; I cannot think of another aspect of my life I’d want to write about in depth.

I want an idea to GRAB me. If I’m completely enthralled with a story, then research is no problem. When I first came across Camilla, it was like a lightning bolt hit me. I had no doubt there was a book in that story. I want to be hit like that again with inspiration.

One thing I thought about doing is digging in some newspaper archives and see what piques my interest. There are a million fascinating stories from the past just waiting to be told. I’d like to find one!

Any advice?