I turned in my latest novel to my agent about a month ago (#13, but who the hell is counting except my future grave digger, right?) and since that historic date I have been casting about for my latest project. i.e. I have no idea what the hell I should write next. Short story? Novel? A tell-all memoir from my cat's point of view? A thriller detective mega-seller? A book of laconic haiku?
I've noticed a troubling pattern over the past few years. When I began writing, I had a ton of ideas and wrote a ton of stuff, including short stories. But nowadays I have fewer ideas, only write a handful of short stories a year, if that, and pace about in agony as I wait for my next big idea. In olden times, I'd be chomping at the bit to write my next novel while still in the late stages of the current novel. Now I languish for months between novel ideas.
What's going on here? Having tried my hand at many stories, in many styles, have I exhausted the Oppegaard Well of Inspiration? If so: CRAP! I'm only 33. Am I growing too jaded, too "professional"? I used to write story ideas in blissful ignorance of their target audience, potential quality, and general sanity. Now a certain amount of forethought comes into every project I attempt, whether I want it to or not.
I don't know. Maybe I should just drink less and sleep more. Boy that sounds exciting.