Search This Blog

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Real Life and Writer's Block

This is an unusual blog post for me. Mainly because I'm writing about something I don't really have figured out yet, but I'm hoping by writing about it, I will. So bear with me, readers, as I work through this issue.

In the last six years of my creative writing work, I've had very little of what most writers would call "writer's block." Often if I came to a sticky point in writing a novel, I would think about it for a while, and usually within an hour or two (often while driving) I would come up with the solution.

In writing Reality's Dawn, I wrote in September and October of 2010, ten more short stories to add to the original five. I would finish one story not having the faintest idea what the next one would be about. I kept thinking at some point I would try to figure out what to write in the next chapter and nothing would pop out of my little brain. Yet, each time, I would get an idea quite quickly, a story idea would form, and out would pop another interesting tale.

Well, I've found out what gives me writer's block. Real life intruding into my writing world. Back early May, my real life took top priority, and sucked every bit of my attention into it. I won't go into detail here, but suffice it to say it was critical enough and important enough that it was all I could think about and deal with at the time. On top of that, I recently became unemployed, so am now seeking out a new job.

So I've done very little writing since mid-May, and hardly any of it creative writing. I've done a couple of blog post at Grasping for the Wind in my monthly column, and have written the recent character Dating Game that was put on a blog recently. And I've done some editing on my stories as they needed it. And published my Mind Game novel. But otherwise, all the announcements of new stuff coming out were things already in the works before this came about. The truth is I've written about five new lines of text in a creative story since mid-May. And I'm having a hard time getting back into writing fresh, new stuff.

The problem is, I'm not sure exactly why I'm having a hard time getting back into it. I have the time. Not as much as I had before, but still I can make some time. But the last time I tried it, I opened up the story I was working on last, Chapter 4 of Underground, and stared at it for a while, wrote those five lines, then after staring at it for a while longer, gave up. I simply couldn't put my heart into it, and I knew the story would read like I didn't. I've had trouble even opening that back up. Other things and distractions suck away all my spare time.

So I apologize to those readers who have bought the first three chapters of the book on Kindle and Nook and are waiting for Chapter 4 to arrive. My goal was to have a new chapter out every two weeks, and it has been nearly three months. But I still have it on my computer, and do plan on getting it out. I just have to get over this mental hump that has me stalled.

But because this isn't your usual writer's block, the normal solutions won't work for this. This has something to do with my brain getting back to the point of being excited to write. Not that I always feel like writing, you understand. But if I can't get excited about a story, it is hard to get up the desire to write it. I feel like the story will be as exciting to the reader as I feel about writing it.

And maybe that's the catch. I'm not excited about writing right now. The critical issues that have consumed my focus over the past months have left me little interest in writing. It's hard to go off into another world when you feel like your own is struggling to survive, or needs your fingers in the holes to keep the dike from caving in. That's it. You feel like problems were developing while you were holed up in your own world, that you were blindsided by them. So you fear the same thing happening again, and that makes writing not appealing.

So I guess the task at hand is to help myself feel that it is safe to go back into that world again. Like my character in Mind Game, I need to know the real world isn't going to fall apart while I'm off in another world. It's a security issue. So probably the first step is to take a deep breath, open that document I'm working on, let my brain think about it for a while, and see if enough time has passed that I'm past that fear. Take baby steps, but put into place some breaks that will keep me in the real world, and not oblivious to everything going on in it.

So hold onto your hats, readers. I would like to finish up the Underground series before NaNo in November hits. I've less than three months to do that, and a lot of chapters to write. I'm going to take a deep breath and plunge back into it. Life goes on, and so does the writing.

And thanks for letting me write out my issues here. And I welcome any suggestions or support. We all have to deal with these things from time to time. I hate being sidetracked, but real life happens.

No comments:

Post a Comment