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 However, helping other unpublished writers polish their craft left no energy for me to work on my own skills.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 I worried that I was an as-yet-unpublished-one-trick-pony.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?