Tuesday, September 3, 2019

September Update: Time to Backtrack

Unfortunately, this isn't going to be much of an update. I still haven't written anything.

I take that back. I wrote about a thousand words summarizing a dream I had that would make a good YA fantasy novel. But that's all I've written in six weeks.

I'm still really struggling. With exhaustion. With burnout. With what's going on with me. There have been times in the last six weeks that I felt sort of like writing, but never did. Or made plans to write, but didn't.

I haven't even managed to maintain an interest in any other artistic pursuits. I did photography for a hot minute, but nothing else since. Short of organizing things, decorating, and buying new clothes, I guess. If you can consider that creative.

It all comes down to...I don't know what to write right now. I've had to adjust my expectations as far as being a writer. Suddenly, I'm not sure what I'm doing about publication. My two finished novels, nobody wanted. So, do I try to finish the other two novels? They're so much like the things already rejected! Okay, do I focus on a book of a different genre? Do I have the energy to do that? If I do, what comes next? I don't have something else in that same tone, and I don't have any ideas for more stories in that tone, so my writing career is pretty much over before it begins in traditional publishing route.

So, what if I self-publish? Then I can write whatever I want, publish whatever I want.Whenever I want. Surely these books that were rejected by agents and publishers would appeal to a larger audience.

But what if they don't? Plus, I don't want to write anymore Druid Wars. At least, not right now. I could cut my losses on past projects and just work on finishing new projects rather than trying to clean up and finish old ones, despite the obvious time setback that puts me at. But I really wanted to have three or more years worth of releases ready to start publishing before I got to that point. I've been writing too slowly to manage that. And where will I find the time and energy to do all of that on my own, not to mention the money?

I don't have answers to those questions. It's not helping me decide what to work on.

So, maybe I should just not write for publication. What would I write, then?

I don't know.

Or maybe I do. Maybe I should listen to that quiet, whispered voice that says "nothing." Maybe if I stop writing for publication, I just won't write.

But then Rachel and I thought about co-writing this Hallmark-style romance. And I've been longing to return to the MystWatch world. And I've been excited, off and on, to start writing this new book for NaNo this year.

I'm adrift in a sea of indecision. I still think I kinda sorta want to write, but I really don't want to write right now. I'm thinking about trying the fall 24-hour short story contest this weekend. It might be a good place to start. Or I suppose it could be a horrible place to start. NaNo might be a better place to start. I honestly don't know.

At any rate. That's where I'm at. Still trying to move past my writers block, which I think is mostly caused by rejection. I think the feeling of having to go back to the drawing board YET AGAIN has taken more wind out of my sails than I ever would have expected. I wasn't able to be as resilient this time. That tells me that I might have one last round of queries left in me. And it won't be for a long time. So my biggest goal going forward, I think, is to write some books. For me. For my siblings, if they want to read them. But I don't want to write them for beta readers or agents or publishers or fans. I just want to write something for me. That's why I loved Monsters of Lawrence so much. Why it was so fun to write. Why I love it still. I want to try to find a way back to that feeling. That place. Because after writing the opening to this entry, I think that's the only thing left right now. The only way to salvage all this. I can't think about writing right now without thinking of a way to get it published. So as tired as the idea of going back to the beginning again makes me, it is necessary. That may be the only way to fix this, whatever this jagged, broken thing is inside me. I've taken a wrong turn somewhere, and now I have to backtrack until I find a trail that doesn't lead back into this darkness.

I think maybe the best place to start is to go back and read over some of my stories. The ones I love going back to. Maybe I can drum up some honest enthusiasm. Make me come up with some ideas for things I really, truly want to write about.

And be open to the possibility that maybe the stories I want to tell aren't the same, anymore. Whether that's from the constant rejection, getting older and finally "growing up", or this gradual change in faith, I'm not sure I can or even want to write about the same things I once did. Perhaps that's at the heart of my inability to write. I don't know what to write about, because what once resonated with me no longer does.

I truly hope that's it, and not that I just can't write anymore. Writing has been such a huge part of my life for the last five, ten, fifteen years. Twenty, if you count getting my degree in creative writing. A twenty-year investment in something. I'm not ready to give up on it after a few months of writers block. I went away from it for a year or two when I was doing more editing, but I came back. I have to believe I will this time, as well.

But I think it's still going to take some time. And it's probably going to be hard. Like getting back to exercise after time away from it.

For now, I'm going to enjoy being lazy for awhile longer. Listening to myself, I can tell there's still too much pain to try to push it without drying up any fragile buds that might be poking out.