Thursday, September 4, 2014

Front and Center

I'm going to be 100% honest: I haven't truly written anything in over six months. And yet, I'm still calling myself a writer? It makes little sense, even to me.

Now, that's not to say I haven't done anything. Believe me, I have. Countless ideas and plots and summaries and characters and outlines have been dreamed up, but they always whimper and die within a short period of time. This probably has to do with the thirteen days of hell January of this year, when I holed myself up in my room and rewrote probably 90% of my book, A SEA OF HOLLOW HEARTS. It was worth it, and I don't regret it, and I've gone into this whole spiel before so I'll spare the recap.

Anyway, I've tried and failed to write many times since then. I've even tapered out on my querying and nudging. A month went by before I sent out another batch of queries, and unlike previous ones, this included only five queries. Maybe it's because so much has changed over this past summer. And when I say a lot changed, I mean a lot. Familial changes that uprooted everything normal; social life changes that I don't regret in the slightest but seriously sapped up a lot of my time; a job that I loved and was SO sad I had to give up in order to move with my family from Arizona to Idaho. That job--and the people (specifically one person) I met there--made my summer turn out so much better than I could have ever hoped for.

And no, looking back, I don't regret any of it. I wasn't as active on Twitter, my blog was filled with dust bunnies, only updated because of the queue I set up back in May when I thought I wasn't going to be home at all from May to October. I didn't really keep in touch with my internet friends as much as I should have (bless my critique partners/absolutely wonderful friends for putting up with my texts, though!). I attempted and failed Camp NaNo because of said job and said person.

But all of this boils down to the plain and simple fact that I'm scared I don't remember how to start a book and follow it through to the two blessed words "The End." It's not that I can't outline, or can't come up with characters, or can't even come up with a plot. As a matter of fact, right now I have a blank Word document open, waiting for me to start typing away at the story that's been eating at me for a while.

What scares me most of all about that is what if this continues after I sign with an agent, or get a book deal, and I'm expected to write another book or--she says with hope--the sequels to my pirate quartet? Because that's definitely most scary of all. I used to think it was because I didn't have time, but I have scores of time now in Idaho and nothing's happened. I used to think I couldn't write a book unless it had pirates in it, but I tried that and I know it's not true. I used to think I wouldn't be able to write another book that didn't center on Kaia and Alek, but I know that's not true, either. I mean, I have multiple manuscripts eating up space on my hard drive. (I'll never delete them because they serve as reminders I wrote scores of books before ASoHH.)

I guess it just comes down to me. I've lost my writing mojo; the juice I ran on has run out. So how can I get it back? Is there some magic phrase or some such thing I can say to get my fingers on the keyboard and actually typing out a story? I've read books in my favorite genre (epic fantasy) that have gotten me aching to start a new tale. I've seen favorite authors of mine rise up in their careers and felt motivated to keep plugging away. I've talked to my critique partners and they've been more than encouraging, and yet I'm still not writing.

This turned out to be a lot longer than I'd anticipated, but it feels good to get my fear off my chest and out of my head. I hope I can find the strength to start a new story, because writing means so much to me. I love impacting people with the words I write, and I love the thrill of telling stories and creating worlds and fleshing characters into people. But if anyone has any advice, I'd be thrilled to hear it.

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