Writer's Block, Revisited (On the other side)
I have determined that every so often—give or take two-to-four years—I go through a writing drought. This occurred during my two-year stint at a job I hated, so a good part of that drought was no-doubt due to my depression and anxiety. After I left that job and went to the next, the floodgates opened and my creative crops began to grow. It was during this time I wrote (initially), Lost Wages of Sin, Know Thine Enemy (or finished it), Sinfully Scandalous, Elevated Exposure, Forbidden Fruit, and A Friend In Need. I know there are numerous authors who can produce work at a much faster rate than this, but for me, I was cookin’ with fire.
Then last year, mid-2012, I started to slow down. I managed to finish Flip Side of Sin (which is still sitting on a shelf, along with the other two books), but couldn’t get motivated for anything else. I had (and still have) a ton of ideas for urban fantasy and other paranormal series, but aside from Flip Side of Sin, rewriting and releasing Insatiable Need, and cranking out Insatiable Craving during NaNo, my creative well was dry. I honestly don’t remember the writing process of Insatiable Craving. I enjoyed the outcome, but I wasn’t in the zone.
There are several things I can attribute to this. One year ago, I left my job at Mundania and became an acquiring editor for a much larger house. I already have one full-time job, and my editing workload is rather large, sometimes unforgiving. I’ve pushed around a few thousand words this year, played with the Lost Wages of Sin second edition and the next Insatiable book. Though I was keenly aware I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t as miserable as I was before. The words simply weren’t coming.
Until a month or so ago. I was in mid-edit, and suddenly I couldn’t help myself. As though I was invaded by a phantom entity, I was driven to open the LWoS document, and quickly cranked out two hundred words. I had to physically stop myself from writing more, since I was on a deadline. Since then, though, I’ve made a point to write every day. 500 words-1500 words. Again, other authors are much more prolific, but having the drive on top of the desire is really what I’ve been missing. I feel more like myself than I have in about a year, because writing is a part of me. When that part checks out or hits a wall, I feel off-kilter, and that feeling sucks.
The good news is, this means the Sinners and Saints series is back to the road of rerelease; I’m hoping I’ll have a solid projection by the end of the year. I am also reworking some older titles—to me, work is never finished. If you feel like you can make something better than it was, and the time involved in doing so is worth it to you, it’s something you should try.
Also, I have the rights back to all my Noble titles, which still feels too awesome to be real. I honestly thought those books would be gridlocked there forever. So while Know Thine Enemy, Forbidden Fruit, and Dark Solace aren’t available now, they will be, and rather soon. Know Thine Enemy is being formatted as we speak; Forbidden Fruit might get a face-lift, but will return before the year is out. Dark Solace is with an editor for consideration.
For a year or so, I’ve felt like only an editor, not an author as well. I sort of dropped off the planet on Facebook and Twitter as well. I think the lesson here is, I desperately need to allow myself the time to wait out the dry-spells. Forcing it just makes me feel crummy, even if the words come. During NaNo, for example, I got over 50k out, and while I’m proud of the story, it didn’t feel like me. I feel like me again, and it’s damn good to be back.
Writer's block is a real thing. And I quite like the Wikipedia article. It makes me feel much better about what I've been going through.