Since I started writing and editing fulltime in 2012, I’ve always had looming deadlines, either set by my clients, other authors or even by myself. While preparing to do a series of presentations on my great grandfather’s Civil War journal that I published several years ago, the most pressing deadline of the summer fell away when a group of us decided to disband a box set of paranormal romances. About the same time, I completed a large project for a client when his book was published successfully. The opening months of 2017 found me diligently working on the revisioning of the first three books in the Behind the Love series and writing the fourth book, Behind the Door. I finished all the revisions, editing, and promoting by the end of May.
I finished the presentations by mid-June. I came home with all work pressures lifted. And now I scan my desktop, book shelves, and notebooks filled with notes for partially started novels. While working with the Civil War book, I decided to re-do it and add additional material that I discovered while preparing and then meeting Civil War buffs in Michigan. I probably will do a whole new book after I finish the research.
But which of these projects shout out to me? Which one is the over-eager student in the classroom, bouncing up and down and raising her hand to be noticed?
The truth? None of them. I have glimmers of interest in one or the other, but the glimmer fades before I have time to turn on the lamp above my computer. I wrote some in my novel notebooks while traveling as ideas came to me, but nothing leaped off the page and grabbed me by the fingers and pressed my hands to the keyboard.
I’m not panicked, and it’s not writer’s block. I’ve been writing steadily since I returned home. This post marks my fourth blog piece in three days.
I’m not even marketing this summer. People don’t buy books during good weather and vacations with family and friends. I’ve wasted more marketing dollars in June, July, and August than I’m willing to admit. This year, I decided to gear up for the fall with the publication of the second book in Rivals in Love series. I released the first book, Love on Trial, in May but didn’t do any marketing for the book since I wanted to release it when the second book was nearly done in September. Two chapters and lots of notes are all I have for Love on Board.
My first paranormal romance awaits creation. I have copious notes and had begun reading paranormal romances exclusively. I’m reading a book on writing the paranormal novel. Several chapters are written. This was going to be my summer project so I could meet an early September deadline for a multi-author box set. When we canceled that project, my enthusiasm for the project deflated. I can’t say why because the research and elements of the plot were coming together for me. And I love the setting in North Florida. The working title is Suwannee River Dreams. Maybe if I go back to my notes and the opening chapters, I’ll be inspired once again.
Another novel rests in the back of my mind and in a journal notebook set aside specifically for this contemporary work of fiction. It’s a saga and will explore the lives of five people from college in the 1970s to the present day as they face empty nests, retirement, illness, and deaths. The working title is Four Women and a Man. All their lives are intertwined, but until one of them dies, they have no idea how much. Only two of them know everything, and one ends up dead, and the other is the man in the title. I’ve been taking notes on this one for a few years. I’ve developed character backgrounds and worked on how I might handle POV. It’s time to work on this one, but I find myself unable to sit down and devote the time necessary to develop what I believe will be a lengthy work covering four or five decades.
Perhaps I should start by writing a short story. I have made a commitment to other authors to write a time travel short for inclusion in a time travel anthology. This topic intrigues me. I’ve decided my heroine will travel back to the 1920s Chicago to the place where her grandmother found her first true love, but she had to leave him without explanation. A locket she inherits with her grandmother’s picture inside from that time sends her back to that place to help the man left behind find resolution.
I’m ready to explore other genres in my writing, and I believe I’ve come to the crossroads of where I want to venture next. It’s not a bad place to be, but it certainly is a departure from my usual modus operandi.
If you made it this far in my ramblings around the corners of this junction, thank you. I’m writing this post in hopes it might make things clearer for me and give me focus. Perhaps it has done just that because what I’ve accomplished in the first half of this year might indicate I need a vacation. A real vacation where I don’t feel the pressure to constantly push and push to write and sell books. If you’re an Indie Author, you know the challenges to continue to sell. When I’m away from my desk, my sales trickle down to almost nothing. It’s the nature of this path I’ve chosen, but I’m burned out with it all.
It’s time to give myself permission to stop, look around me, and feel the spark of creativity once again. If I don’t sell books, I don’t sell books. And I will survive, and those notebooks and partially written chapters will be waiting for me when it’s time.
Perhaps it’s that invisible muse telling me it’s all right to rest and recharge. If that is the case, I’ve been given a great gift. Time to sit on the porch and gaze at the mountains and hold hands with my husband who sometimes feels neglected when I push myself so hard.
What are your thoughts? Does any of this sound familiar to you? And how do you handle it? I would love to know.