Last spring I was unstoppable. I wrote “Summer’s Circle” in a month and was well underway with a second novel when bad news came along and.. stopped me. Since then I’ve been puttering around. Editing a little. Writing a few lines here and there. I managed to string together my first short story in years. But I failed to pick up the momentum I need to get serious work done.
Sometimes writers block is just about discipline. You need to sit your ass down at the computer and force yourself to write. You need to schedule writing into your schedule. You need to plot, outline, edit. You need to make yourself do the damned work.
Sometimes it is about something else.
Creating isn’t quite like other jobs. It requires a certain energy. And it seems that sometimes trauma, drama and upheaval can suck all that energy right out of you.
I didn’t write when my daughter was sick. I didn’t write when I was pregnant. And I haven’t been able to write while I sorted out the recent changes in my life.
In the past I’ve tried to fight my way through it and the product has been a little bit of pretty crappy writing and alot of frustration and self doubt.
But I know what I can do when I’m ready. I know now that with good pacing and discipline, when the curtain lifts, I can produce really great work in a really short amount of time. So this time around I refused to let myself stress out about it.
I did the work I could. I edited. I participated in my writing crit group. I plotted and outlined and blogged and pitched and all those other good things that go along with being a writer.
And this week the storm clouds finally cleared. An older manuscript revealed to me why it was hung up and how to fix it. I have been writing a chapter a night ever since and the story, which was conceived back in 2012 is growing and unfolding before me.
Writing again feels amazing. And I’m glad I spent the down time productively as well instead of wasting my time staring at a blinking cursor.
Writing fiction is a job that requires all sorts of approaches, but beating yourself is never one of them. Sorting through your life, getting good with yourself and being open to the flow can be just as important as the hard work and discipline.
Happy New Year. Hope your 2017 is your best writing year yet.