I never used to believe in “writer’s block.” Part of me still doesn’t want to think it exists, that its something we writers have to power through. There have been times in the past where a story has been difficult for me, where I didn’t know what happened next. I rarely had a deadline or readers waiting, it was just me and the characters trying to figure out what adventure they’d find next. I could take as much time as I wanted to figure it out, and invariably I did.
I’ve always written. My mother still has “books” I made from preschool about dinosaurs and horses and other fun stuff. Being able to make up stories, bring to life interesting characters and situations, was something I loved, something I wanted to do for a living. Several months ago, I was finally able to get that dream, quitting my day job to focus solely on my craft. I thought it would be smooth sailing from here on out, doing something I loved so much.
The last month has shown me otherwise.
Many of you have reached out wondering where I am, what I’m doing, what the status is on various projects. I skipped a Snippet Saturday this week with no explanation, which is unfair to you all. The truth is, whether you want to call it writer’s block or burnout or whatever other name applies, I’ve had a heck of a time writing ANYTHING for the last month.
There. I said it. I can’t write.
It’s a vicious cycle. My brain is shouting at me to write, that I can’t let the readers down or miss my commitments. When I freeze up, the guilt builds into this hard lump in my chest that makes it hard to breathe. Eventually, the very thought of writing ANYTHING, a blog post or tweet or Facebook reply, gives the same result. I mean, if I can write those, then why aren’t I writing something ELSE right? Like that story I have due out, oh, yesterday.
It’s debilitating, and has brought me to a complete standstill over the last month.
My writer friends call it burnout, and apparently it’s common among authors. At times, it almost feels like a panic attack: I think of opening the file on my computer and my chest tightens, breathing gets hard, and my hands shake. No joke, although I wish it was. A lot of folks have noticed the progress bar hasn’t moved much; initially this was because I goofed on a major plot hole and required some time/help to figure it out. The Dude was invaluable here (he gets that James Bond, action-movie kinda thing), but once I got that situated… *sigh*
So here’s me coming clean and apologizing to all of you waiting for the latest AHW installment. This month has been hectic and filled with other things, such as the Romantic Times Readers Convention (which I still need to write up), celebrating the Dude’s birthday (love you, Dorkface), and most recently a camping/riding trip of awesome. I’ve been trying to cram as much life as I can into a short space in order to get past this problem – do a bunch of stuff that is not writing so when I return its not as hard. Several friends have given me exercises to do that helped them punch through this wall and that’s what I’m going to start today.
But I wanted to say I’m so sorry for the delay and hate that I’ve let you guys down.