Well, it’s here. The festive times. The travel-to-see-family times. The let’s-drive-around-and-look-at-the-lights times (my favorite!). More excuses to procrastinate on my latest project are here!
I made my jelly. I baked my cookies. I even got my Christmas shopping done. Now I’ve got three days of family stuff to do: the whole Christmas at the in-laws, then Christmas with my siblings, then a day to rest and clean (eek!) before my son’s girlfriend comes to visit.
And still the details on my latest WIP are hovering at the back of my mind like a swarm of gnats. And I’m getting grumpy because I’m not writing.
I tried. Really, I did. But I’m not connecting with the story. It’s really hard to write when you don’t or can’t connect with the story or the characters. I’ve revised the plot again, I’ve reviewed the characters, I’ve solidified the underlying mystery in my head and on paper. It’s terribly frustrating to write when that visceral connection to the story just isn’t happening.
It’s like I’m in a daze.
A holly daze.
Should I even try to keep going with this story? Should I set it aside and work on my fantasy? Should I start on a “next in the series” story with the characters from my other book? Should I just not worry about it and take some more time off from writing?
“No.” The door to my writing office sweeps open and then slams shut as my Muse enters like a force of Nature. He storms across the office, grabs at a shadow in a corner, and yanks a Dementor-like shade into the light. The tendons in the back of his hand and his bare forearm stand against his skin as he squeezes.
My writer’s doubt fades into smoke and vanishes.
Then he turns to me, blue eyes vibrant.
He’s got the whole Indiana Jones thing going on–wait, no fedora or bullwhip, just faded jeans and that burgundy henley shirt I love, sleeves shoved to his elbows. Add in a Harrison Ford-esque scowl, and that pretty much sums it up.
“What?” I ask, even though I think I know.
“Really, love? You have to ask?” He shakes his head and plants his hands on his hips. “You did see your writer’s doubt, didn’t you?”
“Not until you did that.” I gesture to the corner. “Where have you been?”
Now he shuffles his feet and rubs the back of his neck. “Extended pub crawl.”
“With Mr. E, right? Hey, I get it. Mae’s second Point Pleasant book just came out, and she finished the third. I expected you two to whoop it up. So don’t come steamrolling in here when I think about taking–”
“A break? Seriously? You’ve been ‘taking a break'”–he makes air quotes–“for the past few weeks. You’re done taking a break.”
His Australian accent gets thicker when he’s chewing me out. Don’t tell him, but I have a soft spot for Aussie accents. Not that I get him fired up on purpose.
“Actually, I’ve been waiting for you to get back.” I cross my arms and lean back against the desk. “Do I keep going with my latest WIP, start a new story with Sierra and Quinn, or pull out my fantasy and finish that?”
He stares at me with a look that either means he can’t believe I’m even considering my fantasy or he can’t believe I’m actually asking his opinion.
He mirrors me, crossing his arms on his broad chest. “Have you heard back about your R&R?”
“Not yet. I was hoping I’d hear before Christmas, but maybe she just does things in two-month chunks, in which case I won’t hear back until mid-January. She’s spent some time on the phone with me, so I’m optimistic, but I feel like there would be a lot of interest in that book. I’m thinking about kicking off some queries after the first of the year if I don’t hear from her.”
He narrows his eyes. I feel like a kid who thought she did something good but now isn’t sure. “What do you want to work on, love?”
“That’s the problem. I don’t know. Part of me wants to work with Sierra and Quinn again, but part of me knows I should work on my latest WIP, except I can’t focus on it. It’s like the story needs so much TLC since I dissected it that I don’t want to bother.”
“That’s my fallback if I can’t decide between the others.”
“You don’t think that trying to re-revise for the third time is a problem? Start from scratch, love. Same story, but don’t try to take what you’ve already written. You started fresh with your contemporary fantasy, and it turned out nicely.”
“Still needs lots of work.” This isn’t helping at all. “I don’t want to start from scratch. Everything’s there, I just have to reassemble it.”
“You just have to write. Write some short stories. Write a novella like your writing teacher suggested. Hell, write up a bunch of blog posts ahead of time.” He rests his hands on my shoulders and squeezes. “Write something, love. Anything. Just do it.” A fedora appears on his head. He settles behind my desk with a coiled bullwhip in hand. “No excuses.”
Er, o-kay. Maybe I’ll flip a coin. Maybe I’ll meditate on it.
In any case, may the holidays find you and yours safe, sane, and full of cheer. 😀