We all get to that point when we just can't seem to get our acts together and finish something we've started. The craft project, the sweater sitting there half-knitted, planting those containers of flowers in the garden, and yes, finishing that book. The first few chapters roll out like magic. The plot hums, the characters ooze charm and have room to grow, the setting sparkles. And then--BAM! Nothing. Everything new written is deleted because it just plain stinks.
It's happening to me now. I'm seven chapters into my fourth book in the Snoop Group series and the work has ground to a halt. It's not exactly writer's block--I know how I want the story to go, but I can't whip up the enthusiasm to write it. I should write every day, but find a dozen excuses to mess around on Facebook and Twitter or watch old movies. I write in spurts. Very little motivation. This is not the first time I've experienced The Wall.
My first four books were all published in 2010. Granted most of them were already written. All I did was spruce them up and submit. Book three, A Tangled Web, was written at the request of my editor who wanted to see a sequel to the first, Along Came Quinn. She liked the idea of the villainess becoming the heroine. So did I. There I was, a new author, editing two books and writing one at the same time. I put in a lot of long hours and hard work, but finally got it done. My enthusiasm level was high.
Then while working on Hear No Evil, that nasty wall appeared. For four long months I leafed through the excuse book (we all have one) and found ways to avoid writing. It wasn't until 2012 that the novel was finally published.
I have this habit of starting two or three books at once and alternating writing on them. If I get stuck on a plot or with a character, I can switch to something else for a while until things work themselves out. My next three books were done this way. Now, alternating can keep my mind active, but it also has its drawbacks. I didn't use any type of plotting charts or such for Deadly Inheritance. I just wrote. As a result, I ended up with a bloated, repetitive story. I spent months editing prior to submission. It was a nightmare. And even though I swore I'd never do that again, I still do it to a certain extent. I make a list of what has to happen and consult it often. Some items make it into the book, others don't.
After my experience of 2010, I found myself repeating history in 2015. I once again had four books released last year. I struggle to write new material. The Wall is once again in front of me. A good portion of the wall is constructed of distractions. My husband recently retired, and while he tries to blend into the house and not bother me during the morning hours, I still know he's there. We also have the house up for sale, so my time is often interrupted with showings, not to mention the stress of negotiating contracts--two of which have failed due to buyers getting cold feet. Grrr.
So, today I am making a firm promise to myself. I will move my computer from the dining table--where the view out the windows is gorgeous, but the boats going past are a major league distraction. I can also see the TV clearly. (Not good, but I can't tell my husband not to turn it on. It's his house, too.) I'll go back into the office area, close the door, and try to focus. I don't care if it is anti-social, I've got to do it. I have too many ideas for new books floating in my head. I need to regain my determination and discipline.
Oh, and by the way, I did manage to come up with a title for that fourth Snoop Group book--Killer Instinct.
Here's hoping your walls aren't too high or well-constructed. If you're facing The Wall, step back, take a deep breath, and call on your determination and discipline.
Have a great day!