I was flipping through an old journal the other morning, looking for notes on a story idea that I’m interested in playing with again, and I found an entry from almost two years prior to the publication of Memories of Ash. Turns out, I was struggling with writing and insecurities at the time.
It’s a bit strange to look back and read it from now, when I’ve overcome those particular challenges and they no longer seem half so intimidating or insurmountable. But the entry below is also part of why I no longer give release dates before a book is actually done. I don’t know what hurdles I’ll face, I don’t know when I might lose the joy of writing and I’ll need to slow down and have fun with it again. I write my best stories when I love what I’m doing, so that ends up taking priority for me. Which works out pretty nicely, even if it means I can’t make promises until I’ve essentially already fulfilled them. Ha!
Avoidance is absolutely awesome except that it must, of necessity, be stressful.
I have not written pages–have not worked on MoA–because I am deeply troubled that I don’t have what I need in it, that I won’t be able to do it–that it is Too Much Work. And so I do not work at all.
Next time, I think I will steer clear of series. (smiley face) Seriously, though.
In the meantime, I must start thinking story again, start writing. It is just another draft, another step in the journey toward making / shaping it into the story it is. Not to be avoided, just to be engaged in.
No deadlines, no forced stops. Just a fun story to enjoy and play with and let breathe.
Ask any author who is in the middle of writing a series, and a big chunk of them will probably swear they’re never going to write another series. Ask us again once it’s done, and we may be more amenable…
Finding this entry really helped me to refocus on the idea of letting stories breathe, giving them space to play.
About a week ago, one of my characters in the third Sunbolt book, which I’m drafting, did something completely unexpected with huge ramifications and absolutely no warning. I spent over two months plotting this book, and this one action has blown the last third of my plot to smithereens. Unfortunately for me, the plot is actually better for this particular action. I’ve been struggling with figuring out how to bring the last third of the book together again, and the idea of letting the story breathe from here, playing with what could happen, regardless of what I thought was going to happen, is so very vital.
So for now, Hitomi is kicking her heels in an underground room somewhere out in the desert, and I’m playing with new possibilities with paper and pen. And giving thanks that, two years ago, I took the time to write out what I was struggling with.
1 – Top center, the silver nib of a fountain pen comes down to rest on the center of a lined notebook / diary page. Bottom left corner shows very neat cursive writing on the page. To the right of the pen is a shadow thrown by the pen’s body.
2 – An open book in the background, pages blank. Laid diagonally across the right side of the book is a black ballpoint pen. To the left of it is a crunched up ball of paper with a little bit of handwriting visible on it.