The first word document I started after I broke my leg last year was titled “Writer’s Block.” I don’t know why. I wasn’t actively writing at the time, and had nothing that could be “blocked.” But, that’s what I called it. The document contained poems, lines of poems, then, finally, what I wanted the female main character of a potential book to be like. That character, it turns out, was November Blue Harris.
That was almost exactly one year ago. Since that time I’ve not suffered from writer’s block. In one year, I’ve published three books, totaling 236,000 words, and have written far more words than that.
As I near the end of each work, however, anxiety overtakes, and my thought process goes a little something like this:
“This is the last book I’ll ever write, I’m sure of it.”
“Where the hell am I going to get an idea for another book?”
“They’ll hate this one, so what’s the point.”
“What if they love it and they want more? I have nothing more. There’s nothing left to write about.”
“Oh….oh!….YES! Okay, never mind all of that, I’ll work on xyz next. Okay, phew.”
And, the process repeats itself with each book.
Concluding “In the Stillness”, however, was the closest I’ve ever come so far in feeling like I had nothing left to say. The problem, initially, was that I finished writing my first draft of “Reckless Abandon” on December 23rd. I planned on getting through the holidays without having to work on RA, as it would be with my beta readers, then I would look at their notes, make changes, etc…Well, on December 25th, I sort of accidentally started what became “In the Stillness.” I was having a bad, BAD day and…it just came. Less than eight weeks later I finished the most personal and emotional work I’d ever written, and one that was the longest by 20,000 words.
I was exhausted. Drained. Emotionally and physically. Yes, physically exhausted. In order to lighten the heavy mood that ITS put me under, I dove into the third book of the November Blue series, which is Regan’s book. In the words of Julia Roberts from “Pretty Woman”: Big mistake. Huge.
What I *should* have done, was take an effing break. “In The Stillness” made me deserving of one. Instead, a lot of things happened in my personal life, so I started tearing through Regan’s book to help me heal from that, and from that “mood” ITS put me in. It wasn’t fair to me, it wasn’t fair to Regan and his friends, and, ultimately, it wasn’t fair to you all. I struggled. I had a few chapters written then stopped, for something like 3 weeks I didn’t write more than a few pages. I started to panic. Worst of all, I started to ignore other voices that were in my head.
Unassigned, unfamiliar, loud voices, begging me for attention. Those of you in my Randall’s Readers group on Facebook saw a few lines of dialogue from those characters. Lines I needed to get out of my head and put somewhere because they didn’t *belong* in Regan’s book, and I wasn’t in the mood to address them.
Then, last week, I chose to address them. I’d written roughly 15,000 words in Regan’s book, and got myself to a place where I felt I could pause for a minute and see what these other voices in my head were talking about.
Then, the words came. A lot of them, all at once. The story flashed in scenes, some vivid and some hazy, through my head until I was left teary eyed and making an outline. I’ll get back to Regan’s story, I promise. He’s not going anywhere, and neither is Georgia. But you need to listen to me when I tell you that I’m more excited about this current project than anything I’ve written- even more than “In the Stillness.” I’m not kidding. I’m remaining tight-lipped about this story, unsure if I’ll even give any teasers to it, not sharing the genre, not giving any names of characters yet, nothing. Just trust me when I tell you that I intend for this to nestle deep inside you and make you root…and I can’t even tell you yet what it is I’m hoping you root for, because it’s making me misty-eyed thinking about it.
Thank you to everyone who has supported and believed in me so far. It is because of all of you that I believe each book can be better than the last. It is because of you that the anxiety comes. Not because I’m worried that *I’ll* never write again, but because I’m focused on not letting all of you down. I write for me, sure. I always have and I always will. But I keep writing because I have stories inside me that I believe you’ll really want to read.
Now, I must go. I have loads of words that are demanding exit from my fingers, and this is not where they need to be deposited. 🙂