Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Overcoming Writer's Block: An Inspirational True Story (Part 1)

I used to be quite the prolific writer. I wrote a series of 6 ya novels in seven months, only to learn that, by industry standards, each book was actually the length of 3 ya novels. Therefore, if I divided them into industry-sized ya novels, I wrote the equivalent of 18 ya novels in a span of 6-8 months. Then, though it was challenging and a struggle at times, I slogged my way through the 7 vampire novels in The Superior series in 6 months. Yes, this was during a time when I thought I was slow and uninspired. I had lots of bad days. Of course, back then a good day meant writing for 16 hours straight, churning out 50 pgs in a day, a novel in a week.

Then came a dry spell. Oh, the horror! I had writer's block. I went back and edited some of those bazillion books I'd churned out during the year. I soon found inspiration for a dystopian series, though not particularly original. I wrote 3 of those novels before running across a short story that inspired me to write 3 other ya sci-fi novels.

Wait, I'm not done yet.

That summer, I struggled through a YA novel, and got within chapters of the end before being distracted by a supporting character. I wrote a novel about her instead, and then one about her best friend, then one about her brother (also close to finished, but left without the final few chapters). This entire writing frenzy/binge/burst occurred over two years.

Now you can hate me. 

Around this time, I began dating the man I later married. But, I stopped writing. I was not inspired. I was busy, so I shrugged it off. I had lots going on in my life, and I'd had a few dry spells before. I figured it would last a month, and then I'd go back to churning out a book every few weeks.

I didn't.

As time went on, I became increasingly suspicious that my writing career was finished. I tried to console myself with the knowledge that I had a huge backlog of unedited novels to edit and publish. But as any writer knows, editing is a whole different thing from writing. Writing is creative. Editing is analytical. Writers don't write so that we will have something to edit. We write because we have stories that demand telling. Stories that will not let us rest until they are birthed from the rankest recesses of our brains.

Writers don't write to publish. While writing my first series, I didn't care that no one had read my writing or even knew that I wrote. I knew. My characters knew.

Now, I had no characters. I had no stories clamoring for release. I was barren.

I was blocked.

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