My Month of No Writing

My self-imposed hiatus from writing is over. I needed to take a break because I’d just published another novel and wanted to get caught up on things I’d neglected while working on that book. I stepped away from the keyboard, did some housework, and started reading again. So did I cheat by writing?

Well, I succeeded in not writing any new fiction, but I did revise two short pieces. One I needed to submit to my critique group and the other I’m considering submitting to an online journal. But it was easy not to start on a new novel project—too easy.

lazy

I have a serious case of the writing blahs. It’s not because I don’t have an idea for another novel. In fact, I have four ideas, in various stages of pre-writing. But I have no enthusiasm for working on any of them because I’m questioning everything to do with writing.

Actually, that’s not true. I don’t question why I write. I always have and will continue to make up stories, some to write down and others to keep in my head, because that entertains and challenges me. So I guess what I’m really questioning is publication—what to publish, how to publish, whether to publish at all.

I’m a little angry at myself about all this indecision. I thought I’d settled this long ago. I’ve been published for two years now, and I’ve stated that my true aim for publishing was only to share my writing. Now I’ve done that and even had the thrill of total strangers telling me how much they loved my stories. So am I whiney and shallow to be dissatisfied?

That’s only one of the many questions draining my energy. Every time I think I’ve weighed the pros and cons of something I’m questioning, the whole thing slips and slides and flips on me. I talk myself into something and then talk myself out of it. Clearly I don’t have any solid answers yet. But I think I’m going to have to find some before I regain the motivation to start writing another novel because, right now, my Muse is just lying there, inert with the blahs.

Can you relate?

Maybe a good smack would help!

For once, I’m thankful that thousands don’t follow this blog. As a writer, I seem to be having some sort of breakdown—in public. Several times during this year, I’ve mentioned my next book. It will be this novel. No, forget that one, it’s this novel. No, not that novel, this novella. No wait, it’s going to be this short story collection.

For once, I’m thankful that thousands don’t follow this blog. As a writer, I seem to be having some sort of breakdown—in public. Several times during this year, I’ve mentioned my next book. It will be this novel. No, forget that one, it’s this novel. No, not that novel, this novella. No wait, it’s going to be this short story collection.

In the last two weeks, I’ve had discussions with two different writer friends about my proposed short story collection. Both of them responded with, “Is that what you want to write?” My answer was yes, but I wonder if I lied. Not consciously. I’ve had a bit of fun writing stories, but enjoying something and doing it well is not the same thing.

Am I just killing time writing short fiction because I can’t decide which novel to write? After reading the beta feedback on my last story, I realized I’d actually written two incomplete—read failed—stories. Or did I write the bones of two chapters for a novel?

I had already made notes on such a novel after writing a particular short story almost two years ago. The main character of that new “story” was a secondary character in the first. So, I guess now I have nearly three chapters of that novel written. Even so, I’m not sure that’s where my heart is.

Yes, I have a problem. Heck, all I had to do was read back through my own blog to identify that problem as fear of failure. And I already know the solution—WRITE. So why aren’t I? Well … uh … I’m beta-reading for a friend, and it’s time to start getting things in order for Christmas, and I just discovered Words With Friends on Facebook, and, and, and …

Maybe I need a “personal writing trainer”, someone who will stand over me with a scowl, tapping her foot until I figure out what I really want to write, and then glare at me until I type a hefty number of words each day.

But, above all, I need to quit blogging about my next book before it’s written!