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This blog is the often amusing, sometimes dangerous den of two British writers of contemporary and paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. Most of our stories are based in the UK and our heroes and heroines are passionate Brits - yes, passionate Brits exist! Come on in out of the cold, pull up a chair and see for yourself...

Monday, 28 April 2014

Dry Spell

I'm pretty sure after the amount of posts I have written if I were to say my brain works in a funny old way, well, you would no doubt agree.

I have been very open and verbal on my writing, and more than often, lack of writing, mainly because although most of the time I feel ashamed that I can often find it difficult to concentrate and therefore write - but there are usually good reasons for this - I'm not ashamed to say that I do find it hard. And I often write posts such as this, because if you are an author who goes through these dry spells where words will not flow no matter what you try, my hope is that by reading about another author going through such times it will help you feel better, not so alone with it all.

These last two years have been a bit crazy, not so much for me, but the people around me and yes, I am part of a family where if one individual gets a cold we all know about it within the hour. It's been a rocky two years for a number of reasons. A part from writing my latest release, Truth or Dare? I have not written anything new in the last two years, wait, I shall rephrase that I have not completed a story in two years. I have three projects that I have added words to here and there - one at 8k, one at 10k, and one at 15k - which I have hit walls with and decided to leave to one side until I figure out where to go with them, and I will eventually, because my brain tends to lock things away for a while, stress me out, and then throw ideas and such at me when I am least expecting it.

Like today, I was stood in the shower and the end of the Blood Series played out in my head. I always knew what I wanted to happen as the grand finale for the series, but I had no idea how the characters were getting there, and in all honesty, between where Cranberry Blood finished right up to that big ending I still have no idea what their journey is. I'm a panster who plans as she goes, worst type of writer, but it felt good to be shown that ending. It felt great to see that my muse hasn't abandoned me, or that I am losing my imagination, because that has become a fear or mine over the last two years, that I am losing myself and the ability to create, that I'm not cut out to be an author.

Sounds like an extreme thought, I know, but that is how I have been feeling. Now, I would like to say as a reader it might not sound bad that I haven't completed a book in two years, but along with any author reading this, I think you will understand that it isn't really a good thing, and maybe even understand why such a thing would have me a little bugged out.

In my head an author should, at the very least, write and complete one book a year - word count doesn't really matter, though if it is a story under 10k writing another book would be good, right? - and publish one book a year. To me that just seems like the right and proper thing to do, and it looks like that is the basic flow of an author. So, for me to have not wrote anything in at least a year, well, in my eyes it's really bad.

So stress kicks in, doubt. I have spent many an evening staring at my computer with a blank brain, questioning why it has become so difficult to write, wondering where the itch to write has disappeared to, wondering if I was kidding myself thinking I could really be an author.

All very negative thoughts, but I have been very frustrated. The godsend of the last two years is that I have had the rights for 4 of my books reverted back to me. So, I self-published one in November last year. I submitted another, which should be released this year, and I am preparing to self-publish the next two in august this year. So, even though there has been lack of writing, I have still had and will be having releases, which at the moment is giving me the time to whip some new material up.

A few posts ago and mentioned that I had signed up to Decadent Publishing submission call, Beyond Fairytales. You may also recall me stating I was stressing out about the story idea, and that it eventually came to me in two parts, and while I was doing very mundane activities like dusting my room. Well, I started the story a month ago, but between my silly day job, and a big family event I didn't really have time to get much further. In the last four days I have managed to add 1.7k to the story. It's not tons, but it is something, and I can't tell you how good it feels to write.

Along with that small bit of progress I have had dialogue from my Werewolves on and off in my head the last couple of weeks.

What is the point of this post apart from me whining and having a crazy brain? I guess it's that a) my brain is funny, I have been stressing that I can't make words happen, or I don't know where I am going with a story, I have basically been pushing to create and write something because I am so sick of the fact that I haven't I may have actually blocked myself.

This Saturday afternoon just gone I was stood bored out of my brain in work thinking about how I just didn't have the energy to stand there doing nothing. You know something is wrong when you're losing energy over nothing. My job isn't difficult. I have shifts, which are a pain, but it isn't difficult. The main problem is I have no interest in what I do. I work because I need money to pay rent and bills like we all do. I literally feel my soul curling up and dying every time I step in there. I mentally and physically don't want to be there and as crazy as it sounds it exhausts me. I realize that might sound lazy and that is what I have been accusing myself of being for the least two years. Lazy. I've ignored the fact that work has affected along with stuff that's going on with my family, and my depression, and I have basically been bollocking myself for being idle, which I kinda have, instead of pushing myself to try and write I have procrastinated.

Yet my brain is still firing story ideas off at me. I'm still getting segments of scenes that belong to books I have already planned to write as part of series, and I am dying to write all of these stories.

I guess what I am trying to say is, authors when you have these times when you cant write look at what is going on around you. Everything takes its toll. Others problems as well as your own can weigh you down and exhausted you. Being unhappy over jobs and anything else can pull you down.

It has taken me two years to figure this out. It has taken me two years to publicly hold my hands up and say, "Hey, I haven't been writing." I'm not happy about it, but maybe I needed the break; maybe there is a bigger reason for why it has been hard these last two years. All I know is after having a bad evening the other day I told myself that even if I am tired, or feel that my brain is empty, I need to sit down at my computer, open up the document of my current project and read through it. Place my headphones on, hit play on my project playlist, and even if I just pad a scene out, or add 100 words to the story, it's something. I need to get myself back into a routine, because apart from editing all my re-releases, I am out of the habit and flow of writing, and I for one believe we authors do get into a kinda rhythm and routine with writing. I need to find my way back in. My imagination hasn't disappeared. My muse hasn't abandoned me. Life has just been crazy and my head decided that there was too much going on. I'm not happy that it wouldn't let me escape into my work, but then maybe it wanted me to pay attention to reality, figure what I want out of life, and that is one thing I have been trying to figure out these last two years; what I want, what my goals are etc.

I have already started trying to sort my self, and life out. My aim is to write full time. Despite the fact that I haven't had luck these last two years, I love writing; I love creating. I'm not happy when I am not creating, and that is something I have definitely discovered about myself recently.

Authors, if you hit a wall you will eventually find your way around it, over it, through it. Give yourself some time. Take a little break. Set yourself a time period, but dear god, don't procrastinate. At some point you have to sit back down and try to write. Books wont write themselves, and getting yourself stressed isn't going to help. Push forward a little bit each day. Trust yourself.

I'm determined to shake this dry spell off, and If I can do it, you sure as hell will be able to.

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