Don’t worry – this isn’t a post about the “right” way to write or why you’re doing it wrong. (Trust me, I’m doing a lot wrong myself but hey, it works. Mostly. Sometimes.) This is more of a philosophical dilemma I’ve had, especially in reflecting about Lady Blackmyre.
As I told my friend Raelyn in my regular update today, I wish I could write faster.
Now you might be snorting with disbelief, because it may seem that Lady B came in a flash. I wrote 40K+ since May 1st to finish her story and it’s in fairly polished shape already. Not too shabby.
But what I mean by “fast” is all the prework and thinking that writing normally takes. I can’t sit around and wait for every story to come to me in a flash like Lady B. That was rare, sadly, but fun. Most stories require planning (for me). Or at least some mulling in my head about what I want to say, who the characters are, how they struggle on their journey, etc. I’ve shared all kinds of tools over the years on different ways to plot and brainstorm.
Great. But what do you do when the problem isn’t the brainstorming — but the writing?
See, more and more the last few months, I’ve been struggling to just write. My output seems to have dropped. Exhibit A: I have nothing on submission right now, and counting Lady B, I only have two completed stories that I could consider submitting. (I have other partials and shorts that would need too much work to consider hauling out and working on right now.)
Exhibit B: After August, I have nothing scheduled for release. That scares me. A lot.
But the more I think about what I ought to write and plan to write those things, the slower my brain seems to work. What is that about?
I’m glad I wrote Lady B, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the “right” story I should have been working on. That’s Lord Regret’s sequel. But he’s not cooperating. Why? I have no idea, don’t ask me! I’ve brainstormed. I’ve plotted. I’ve played with tarot. I’ve tried setting up a project in Scrivener. Not once but twice! I’ve free wrote some stuff.
It’s just not there. It’s like floundering around in the Grand Canyon with a firefly to light my way.
I love the story world. I love the characters. I love the new world I was taking them to. I know the villain (and she’s almost as wickedly delicious in her own way as Majel). Yet I can’t get the words on the page.
Sometimes that’s the way it is.
So do I write on the “wrong” thing that my muse thinks is pretty darned cool – so that I’m writing something….
Or do I continue to struggle on the “right” thing that’s not going anywhere?
If I stick with Lord Regret and grind through a few rough, ugly chapters (I’ve re-read passages where the muse is not engaged, and trust me, it’s ugly — it’ll all have to be rewritten completely), will he finally open up and cooperate? Or will the whole book be that brutal?
(Note it’s not contracted, or I would have no options. So far, I’ve only contracted finished works, so I have complete flexibility in what I do, at least as far as my contractual obligations are concerned. Note however that flexibility is not always a good thing for a Gemini! It can make me feel schizophrenic.)
Why can’t writing the right thing be as easy as writing the wrong thing?
Keep in mind I have a day job, so it’s not like I can dedicate four or more hours a day to writing. I can’t keep grinding and spinning my wheels indefinitely or I’ll never get another work contracted. On a normal day, I have an hour in the morning (if I get up Dark & Early, hahaha, that hasn’t happened in awhile) and maybe an hour at night in between dinner and family stuff. A 30-45 min lunch but only if I skip my exercise routines (winces, I’ve been bad about that.)
I have to write in between work, monster squabbles, cooking, dishes, laundry, and That Man’s quality TV time. Lately he’s been taking the monsters two nights a week to the pool after he gets home, so I have an incredibly precious hour of blissful silence after dinner to try and get some work done.
That’s all I have. I can’t sit for hours — which is days or weeks for me — at a time beating Lord Regret up because he won’t cooperate.
How do you get a sullen assassin to bare his soul? If you know, please share that information. I’ve asked Gregar but he just laughs. *mutters something unpleasant about the Shadowed Blood*
To write right — or wrong — that is the question.