Let’s talk about writing and life. I write and life happens. As a general rule, I’m a prolific writer. Writer’s block doesn’t usually get a big grip on me because I have a great way of dealing with it: I just write something else. Either something else in the same book (so everything’s written all out of order and I have to assemble it later like a jigsaw puzzle) or I switch books. Sometimes I’m writing several books at the same time just to escape the full effects of writer’s block.
That’s not always the most practical approach, just so you know. If you don’t have to finish a particular book by a particular time, it works. But if you have deadlines, either self-imposed or by an agent or editor, that’s not going to work. I don’t have deadlines though, so I can do what I want.
This is where life happens. There have been a few things going on in my life that have me extraordinarily stressed out. One thing is going to resolve itself either in my favor or not (most likely not) in the next few weeks, and waiting for it has me gritting my teeth during the day now instead of just at night. My dentist (appointment next week – also stressing me out) is going to have something to say about this. Another thing that’s related and stressing me out is going to resolve itself very likely in my favor but that’s going to take about three more months, and there’s a deadline I have to meet in about three weeks first. I’m not ready. Oh, and my son’s science fair project is due in two days, he’s not ready. Another time on that.
So, I’m writing (A Thousand Words Novel #3, if you’re curious), and writer’s block strikes. Fine. I move on and start Be Careful What You Wish For #2. (Which I should have been working on already, yes, I know that.) I get a few thousand words into it, lose focus. Not good. Move on and pick up a Young Adult mermaid novel I started a couple years ago and then lost on a writer’s block binge. Nope. Hmmm. A really unique contemporary werewolf romance? No. Huh.
Okay. I’ve been here before. It’s one of those rare times when I have to make a decision. I can force the issue and bleed for every paragraph and write a couple of thousand words a day, but this isn’t National Novel Writing Month, and no one’s looking over my shoulder counting those words. And I know that they’ll be good, but it isn’t worth it. There’s no deadline, there’s no reason for the frustration.
Option two: I can revise something that’s waiting. By revise I mean take something I wrote and do my own first self-edit before sending it to alpha & beta readers and my editor and all that nonsense. Usually books get more than one round of revision, and time has to elapse between rounds so I can kind of forget it a little. Thankfully, I’m forgetful.
Option three: I can take a few days off and just read, read, read and not even open Scrivener (I write & do early revisions in Scrivener, not Word, if anyone’s wondering. When I write on my phone/tablet, it’s in Evernote, and occasionally in NotEverything by SoftXperience). Normally I read a little every day, or a little more every other day. It balances out. You have to read a lot to be a writer. In this case, I’m talking marathon reading. Like stop and read five books back to back sort of thing. Okay, maybe I’ll take a break for Minecraft (that’s new – The Girl’s fault) or Plants vs Zombies (that’s really new and The Boy’s fault) but otherwise, just read. The kids are trying to ‘balance’ my life. How adding video games balances me, I’m not sure.
The point of this? Life happens. Writer’s block occasionally wins. Occasionally. It shouldn’t be allowed to be the crutch that many writers use it as. Cowboy up, kiddies. I don’t have to let it win, I can push through it, it’s just sometimes not worth the frustration. I’m not working on a deadline. If I had a publishing house contract, I’d be writing something very different right now, but I don’t.
So, I’m going to go grow some giant mushrooms in Minecraft, then I’m going to tap my fingers and wonder when Transitions is going to come back from editing (new cover for that is in ‘coming soon’ on my website www.toribrooks.com), then I’m going to do some revisions on the sequel for Chrysanthemum because it is still longer than I’m comfortable with. And I have some new books to read. That will get me through the weekend.