Authors have a lot of ups and down moments. Sometimes more down than up, so aspiring authors especially, here’s some sage advice…
Learn to take the good with the bad of this business, but don’t let the bad consume you.
Learn to let go before you drown in your own angst and craziness.
As much as you want to think you do, you don’t always have control over the voices in your head, nor your Muses that come and go. You can be 150% invested in your WIP (work in progress) when you start it, but there are hills and valleys, boulders and sometimes walls that come crashing down when you least expect it.
I’ve learned this — been on this terrible yet interesting curve — since October. I won’t bore you with many details but health issues for myself and one of the dearest members of my family, plus other every day upheavals have kept me on a non-stop roller coaster and I admit, it’s been terrifying. And this past week it all came crashing over me like a sea of waves that pulled me under and to some dark places.
No author is immune to writer’s block or a story just not working. I know many of my author pals could say stop whining, plant your ass in your chair and put the keyboard to work. I understand it, have said it myself to others, but when the darkness is so consuming — and LONELY — it takes literally every ounce of strength I’ve had to muster in order to just open the laptop some days. The words just stopped, but the voices of these particular characters haven’t stopped talking, it’s just they aren’t getting anywhere. The flow has ceased, the gears on the wheel have locked up, leaving me floundering in doubts and uncertainty. It was a gripping attack of suffocating under the guilt that I couldn’t push through and feeling like a quitter.
I’m an author — heck a woman — who finishes what she starts, leaves no man or woman behind and can’t just say … I’ll move onto the next story. I’ve never, ever worked like that. Ever! It’s completely foreign to me to conceive that folder with ***WIP Name*** staring at me from my files, those characters waiting for their happy ever after. And I’ve proven the fact I don’t give up since I’ve been on this book since October. I haven’t spent this long on a story since the very first book I ever wrote eleven years ago. But after a long talk with the husband, and the wonderful and heartwarming sage advice from my fellow Evernight Publishing authors who heard my plea of … what the heck do I do???!!! … I know it’s time to close the book. Literally. The WIP will be set aside, for the first time in my writing career I will give myself the control and do what I haven’t done before. In order to save my sanity and to find the sheer love and joy I normally find in writing.
I have no choice. It’s either that or sit and do diddly-squat until the WIP starts to work again. And that could take many, many more months. I’ve had a poof of inspiration for something different that is in very early outlining stages at the moment, and will move onto a sequel that I know readers are waiting on. I will find the love and joy in other characters for a time, more voices in my head that are arguing with others for their time, and find my way back … to myself. The writer. The lover of the written word and the lover of gritty stories. Plus, being the A-type woman I am, I want to be back in the driver’s seat so to speak. I don’t always have full control when writing but it’s nice to kid myself I suppose. *g* I’ve lived and breathed written words for over a decade, wearing various hats within this business, but the blood I shed now belongs to me and the characters. I can’t let any of them down. I have a folder of 13 different WIP titles, all with documents inside of story outlines (long, lengthy buggers!), images and song titles for many of them, and voices in my head, so there’s no lack of inspiration or story ideas. I’m truly blessed for that.
So, all in all, authors (new and seasoned) need to realize that it is okay to have those moments of doubt and uncertainty, and to also give ourselves up to letting characters/stories lead us. We write for our readers of course, but we also write for those heroes/heroines in our minds and hearts who want their story told. We authors need to learn when to let go sometimes. Some may read this and think I should have closed the book on the WIP long ago. Perhaps. Many may also mumble that I’m griping about nothing, that it’s easy to close one story for another, but I kid you not, it’s not as easy as it seems. We have this innate need to hold onto the stories that are within us. To have them be told and to cherish each character/story as if it is our last.
However, I’m learning. I guess it’s a good thing too since I am a believer that no matter how bestselling, how seasoned an author is, if s/he is no longer learning then something is wrong.
We live, we learn …
We must write…
Until next week,