I didn’t post for the past two weekends, but I have an excellent excuse, and for once it wasn’t depression. Two weeks ago I was in Denmark being distracted by a business trip, and last weekend I was busy being extremely gay – meaning I was at Prague Pride dressed like a Gender Pirate/vampire. It was a LOT of fun. I mean, check out this bag of red wine that I dressed up as a blood bag. and my personally tailored pirate flag:
Okay, now that I’ve bragged about my cool stuff, let’s get down to the business of writing an actual blog post. I’m sure I remember how. Maybe. Okay, here we go.
This is supposed to be a writing blog. Written by a writer, with other writers or creatives in mind that can relate to the struggles. But lately, I feel like I have been doing a very bad job of it. I feel like I barely have the right to call myself a writer anymore, because I barely find energy to write at all, and when I do, it’s not on my novels. When I actually write something, it’s either flash fiction or fan fiction.
Now let me be perfectly clear: flash fiction and fan fiction are VALID. If you only ever write these things, you are a writer, you are valid, and your stories matter. I love writing fan fiction, it brings me joy, and I feel super proud whenever I manage to write a decent flash fic. But this wasn’t the kind of writing I set out to do, wasn’t what I wanted deep in my soul. I wanted to write novels. And you know what?
I really miss that.
Four years ago, when I closed my eyes and tried to picture what my perfect work life looked like in ten years in an absolutely ideal world, this is what I saw:
Waking up and having a big breakfast before taking my favorite mug of coffee into my home office, the one upstairs with a view over the garden. I’d open all three windows to air the place out while I booted up my laptop, prepared my documents and notes and turned my music on. I’d allow myself a few minutes of just sipping my coffee while the wind played with my hair and I looked around the room that was covered with maps, notes and art about my world, my characters, old and current outlines, one entire wall essentially a cork board pinned with random thoughts on my stories. I would soak up in the creativity that occupied every corner of the room, and I would glance with pride at the one row on my bookshelf that held copies of the three books I had already published. Then I would take a deep breath, close two of the windows, and get to work on my current novel in progress.
Once that picture formed in my head, it was like getting hit by lightning. Writing is what I wanted to do with my life. The only thing that made sense, that felt right, that felt necessary. And what I wanted to write was my novels. The seven I already had in my head and however many I could afterwards.
And in the four years since, how many novels do you think I’ve finished?
Zero. A couple of first and second drafts, but finished? Nothing.
I wish I knew why I haven’t worked on my novels for so long. I truly wish I knew. I can speculate, guess that it has something to do with my mental health, with self-inflicted pressure, with a fear of failure, whatever, but the truth is that if I gave you one reason for why I haven’t been working on my novels, I would be lying, because I have no fucking clue.
Maybe it’s because I’m sticking to my own rules so much. Write the books in this order, it doesn’t make sense to publish these books before that book, so on and so on. Giving myself excuses to not work on the novels I love most. Misunderstand me correctly – I love Blade of Broken Bones! I love it. But it’s not always the novel I want to write right now, and I think it’s showing. With where I am in my life right now, I want to work on my darker stories, with more tormented characters and more tragic plots points. I have even started to think that maybe it would make sense to work on the story that first created Hurst in the first place, even though I’ve always agreed with myself that this novel should come later.
My writer brain is a freaking mess, I think is what I’m saying.
I just want to figure this all out. I want to get back on a road that can take me towards something that looks like that dream image of my perfect work life. Right now, I don’t even know how to start figuring that out. But I’m thinking sharing this problem with the rest of you is as good a start as any.
After all, we’re all in this together. Right?
Thank you for indulging me by once again listening to me trying to convince myself to get back to the writer I want to be. I hope seeing me struggling helps some of you with your own struggles, and I sincerely hope that we can all get there. That we can all find our ways to the writers we want to be. I know we can get there… eventually.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some stuff to write.