Friday, November 6

Reunited and it Feels so Good

I took a nearly six-month hiatus from my writing this summer.

First, I entered the RWA’s Future, Fantasy, & Paranormal chapter’s On the Far Side Contest in May. Waiting with bated breath for the results left little air for the creative muse to function. Plus, sitting on pins and needles made me a little too antsy to sit and write.

Then, I judged several entries to the Indiana RWA Chapter’s Golden Opportunity writing contest during July and August. Each one took several hours, which was time away from my own writing (but then again, see the above paragraph). Writing contests are a crucial opportunity for a new writer to learn some of the many do’s and don’ts… I know this from personal experience, so I don’t regret the time these entries took, and I certainly hope my comments and suggestions were helpful. However, helping other unpublished writers polish their craft left no energy for me to work on my own skills.

Finally, I had this exciting new blog opportunity with four fabulous ladies. With the added pressure to write something witty and entertaining every Friday, I needed time to build a reserve of blogs for it (just how witty and entertaining they are is yet to be determined).

Aaaand I took a week’s vacation (see last week's post).

So, here I am, six months away from any quality time spent on my own writing. The hiatus has taken its toll. New story ideas piled up, begging for attention I couldn’t give them. My current manuscript, which won the aforementioned contest (yay!!), clamored for intense edits. Future commitments for author signing events seemed to loom ever-closer. And the bank account turned a suspicious eye my way, wondering if this writing endeavor was just an excuse to hang out with a bunch of awesome ladies.

For six months, my computer sat, lonely, on the kitchen counter every day, waiting for me to plunk away at its keys. I avoided it. Circled it like some wary wild animal at a gator-infested watering hole. Was it safe to approach? If I sat down, would the words come? Or would my fingers be snapped off? I worried that I was an as-yet-unpublished-one-trick-pony.

Then one relaxed Sunday, I promised the laundry I would get to it “later,” and opened my manuscript requiring all the edits. Major edits. I’m not talking simple comma splices or the occasional passive verb tense. I’m talking a complete overhaul with significant plot and character changes. This was a task more daunting than writing a whole new book. Someone once said, “A refurbish is a lot more work than new construction,” and I have to agree with them!

But I forced my brain to address the issues, one at a time. I spent a couple solid, uninterrupted hours at it. Got about a quarter of the way through Chapter One. Sweated and cursed and drank a glass of wine. Wrestling a gator might have been easier, but the good news is: I’m writing again!

Sure, it’s a struggle, like getting back on that exercise bike. My brain muscles are sore from the effort, and I have moments when I think it would be easier to simply chuck this manuscript into the trash and start a new one than it would be to continue.

But I’m taking steps. Slow, baby steps. And it feels sooooooo good to be writing again! So, time for true confessions: what is keeping you from writing?

13 comments:

  1. I had to delete my comment because it was borderline unreadable, so I'll try again...

    Good one, Ava! (I really need to learn a new atta-girl, don't I?) We are so glad you joined us and I'm so glad you're getting your writing mojo back. Sometimes I think when Dickens wrote that thing about "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." he was just talking about writing, not about those two cities at all! :-)

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    1. LOL, Liz. I think you could be onto something.

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    2. I agree! Writing is definitely a bit of a love/hate relationship with our creative muse! "Writing Mojo".... I like that term, Liz!

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  2. What's keeping me from writing? Knowing I have a ton of research to do on my next paranormal. Plus after a book release, I just wanted to gorge myself with reading, and I did so, but now I'm back at it. I'm so glad you are writing again. I always enjoy reading what you write.

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    1. Fortunately, gorging on reading is a calorie-free activity! Glad you're back to writing, Jillian! Your books and characters are awesome!

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  3. I haven't taken any time off from writing, but I did drop the current WIP to go back to writing a new book in the series that got me started. Yeah. Reunited and it feels so good...

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    1. Lol. She made that title just for you, Cheryl!

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    2. It's kind of like juggling multiple boyfriends, isn't it, Cheryl :-)

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    3. Never having juggled boyfriends, I wouldn't know, Ava, but I suppose it is. ;)

      Sure, she did, Liz. And so did Peaches & Herb... :)

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  4. For me, life just sometimes gets in the way and I have to take life by the neck and push it away so I can get some writing in. And I find if I do a lot of creative mechandising at work, that seems to tire my muse out. Like she has such a hard life she can't handle two creative outlets.

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    1. Margie, you would think the Creative Muse is an endless supply... but I often find her a little spent when I have to call upon her for my day job. Then again, I sometimes find her begging for more when I do this. Huh.... she can be such a fickle gal!

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  5. I got sidetracked by life stuff--so much life stuff. And I wish I had more mature reasonable outlook like yours and was able to think of it as simply a hiatus. Not a a character flaw or a failure. Simply time away. Good news? I had an epiphany very early this morning when I should have been sleeping--a story is brewing and I'm excited! Great post, Ava!!

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    1. Call it what you want (hiatus, procrastination...), it is NOT a character flaw! Get your Writing Mojo on and put that new story to paper (as quickly or slowly as life allows :-)!

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