Writer’s Cramp is the blog and site for B. Jenne’ Hall, writer, genius, and pathological optimist. She’s written her first book, is working on her second, and she’s trying to get published. Which from all accounts seems to be as approximately attainable as the gift of flight, but who doesn’t love a challenge?

Entries in writer's block (11)


How to disassemble a book in 29,341 easy steps

While I can’t say that the last four months of blog silence is due to non-stop Book 1 revision and/or Book 2 writing, I can say that I have made a crapton amount of progress on Book 1 revisions since my post-birthday(!!) writing retreat.

Which is to say that the word count issue that’s been hanging over my head like Damocles’ Sword is no longer an issue.

No, I haven’t gotten below 200,000 words. Yet. But I have steadily gnawed at that count for months now, and got down past 210k earlier this month. The night I reached that milestone, I refrained from running down the street at 4 AM in my Killer Rabbit Bunny Slippers screaming “TWO HUNDRED NINE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED THIRTY ONE!” at the top of my lungs in order to maintain my cover as a mild-mannered nerd. I did, however, indulge in a blackberry Hot Lips soda and a celebratory dance that would make Elaine Benes look like Michael Jackson.

Success tied to the elimination of words by the dozens is a death by a thousand papercuts, let me tell you. For almost two full months, I thought I was going to be stuck at 214k forever despite steady work. Down by 211 words, up by 218, down by 129, by 16, up by 10, down by 24, up by 113. I was cutting things, but changing so much that I needed to write all new material, as well. Overall, I cut out several thousand words during that time, but it always netted out at the end of each writing day to some ridiculous number of only two digits. Sometimes up, sometimes down.

One of the realizations that hit me while I was on my self-imposed writing retreat earlier this year is that I was going to have to rewrite the book. Again. It took some weeks for that to sink in, but as I took the plunge with the first couple of chapters, it became impossible to ignore. Revisions to the first few chapters necessitated bigger changes to the next few, and the next few, and rethinking some plotting and characterization and key details, and somewhere in there, denial turned to acceptance.

The good news is that I’m only a quarter of the way through and I’m already below 210k. That number includes many earlier revisions to later chapters, so it’s not strictly true that the count is going to continue to drop linearly as I keep going. But at this point, I feel confident not only that I’ll get below that all-important 2k, but that I’ll be well below it. This is A Very Good Thing.

But that’s not even the best part. The best part is that these newly revised chapters? They’re better. They’re making the book better, tighter, faster. That’s what revision is supposed to be, making the book better, and it is, and it’s making it easier to cut things that seemed impossible to cut before. I knew it as I worked on them, and preliminary feedback from a few people confirms that I’m right.

Not everything is magically better yet. There’s a whole book left to rewrite. And I still have a notebook full of plot problems and character issues to address, fixes to make, and timeline changes to correct. The kind of knotty problems that trigger my instinct to curl into a fetal position and mumble incoherently to myself. But thanks to my dear and delightful writing coach, Jen, I have a detailed and ambitious writing plan for the entirety of my vacation to address some of the biggest items in my notebook of problems. Said plan involves not just writing goals and agendas, but menu recommendations, art project suggestions, and costuming ideas. It is seriously amazing.

So, I’m off to write things down on index cards with different colored sharpies and affix them to fluorescent colored posterboards. I’ll keep you posted as I progress through the plan. Wish me luck.


Wordcount update

I haven’t mentioned it here until now, but I recently contracted with Jen Violi for manuscript revision services. I met her at a workshop at Wordstock in October and I’m thanking my lucky stars that I signed up for her email list.

I’ve made no secret of how much I’ve been struggling with getting my word count down on my ms, and the frustration it’s engendered has been downright stultifying. When I began, I had at least 50,000 words to cut, which is about 20% of the book. Careful revision word by word resulted in only 20,000 words cut, which meant that something much bigger was going to have to go. And I proceeded to spend a year banging my head against that particular brick wall.

I don’t normally struggle with revisions, even when it means removing something I dearly love (but know needs to come out). The thought of removing something significant wasn’t what stopped me cold, it was trying to figure out what to remove. With such a complicated story involving multiple plots, themes, and primary characters, and everything integrated, everything I came up with seemed like it would break the story to a point that I’d basically have to rewrite the damn thing. I’ve done that once already, and although it was liberating, the thought of doing it again just made me want to pull the covers over my head and never come out.

The thing is, it couldn’t be just removing words for the sake of some magical word count. The primary focus is and always must be about making the story better. I know this. But I worried: if I remove this major character or that major plot line, and very carefully tug all of the related threads out of the story and change it all around so that it doesn’t leave a glaring hole in the story, have I chosen the right thing? Will the story be tighter? I needed to refocus, get a 30,000 foot view of the landscape, so to speak, but how to do that when I’ve been immersed in this story for years? Every direction I tried, I felt like was just sucked down further, like I’d plunged into a tar pit and was doomed to die trying to get out of it. I knew the story could be better, but I needed someone else’s input on how to do it.

That’s where Jen came in. A month alone with my book, including two read-throughs and copious notes, and she came back to me with eight glorious pages of incredibly helpful feedback: what was working, what wasn’t, what was distracting from the main plots and characters, what needed tightening and trimming. What she gave me was not a map that showed the starting point and destination and everything in between, but an aerial shot that helped me see the lay of the land and decide where and how I wanted to change the topography. (And now that metaphor is soundly beaten to the ground….)

I have some major reworking to do. I’m ridiculously excited, a wee bit daunted, and gigantically relieved. After mulling over her feedback for a few days, my first day spent working on the ms — trimming the low hanging fruit contained in her suggestions — resulted in over 4,000 words cut. As of today, I’m officially down by 10,000, from a word count of about 230,000 when Jen got the ms to just below 220,000. I feel like cracking open a bottle of champagne! (Or in my case, sparkling cider.)

Another 20,000 words to go, but I’m not so overwhelmed by that damn number any more. I’ve gotten my focus back on the story, on what needs to be done and what I want to do to make it better. I have every confidence that the word count will continue to fall as a natural result.

Putting Makeup on Dead People(Aside from her amazing powers for single-handedly keeping a desperate writer from committing ritual seppuku, Jen has also written a book called Putting Makeup on Dead People, which was just announced as a finalist for a 2012 Oregon Book Award. We have an embarrassment of riches in Oregon when it comes to writing talent so to be a finalist for these awards is a significant achievement. Huge congrats to her! Oh, and you know, you should totally read her book.)


My brain is partying in Ft. Lauderdale, apparently

I took today off from work for a writing holiday, so I’ve had the entire day to do nothing but work on Book 2. But I’ve had the worst time getting going. The conditions are right — a dedicated and inspirational writing space, reference books at my fingertips, perfect writing weather in the form of endless rain and misty clouds hanging low (weather we’ve been blessed with for going on 8 weeks now AND I LOVE IT), renewed excitement for new material, quiet cats, quiet house, mood music, at least moderate willpower in resisting the siren songs of internet distractions and game apps on my phone, and no major work catastrophes gnawing at me. (Well, we’re out of milk so I’m not able to fill my very fabulous mug with endless cups of expensive hot chocolate, but I can hardly use that as justification for not writing.)

Yet here I sit, very little written and more than half the day gone already. Assuming, of course, that my day ends at its usual time. What’s more likely is that I will be struck with inspiration later tonight and will end up writing into the wee hours. Because my brain is demented and juvenile — why write during normal daytime hours and ensure plenty of sleep when we can stay up all night like a drunken college freshman reveling in the lack of parental oversight to her own detriment? Clearly we must be OH HAI I AM A GROWNUP NOW AND I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT AND NO ONE CAN BOSS ME EVEN IF IT’S FOR MY OWN GOOD PARTY TIME WOOOOOOO.

Urgh. Self-discipline is part of being a grownup too, Brain. It’s not all late-night benders and eating cold pizza for breakfast just because you can.

Okay, back to it. Wish me (and my inner college freshman) luck.


*True story: when I moved into my first apartment, I loved to lean my chair back on two legs simply because I, like every kid, was constantly admonished by my mother not to because I’d lose my balance and fall backward. I’d be all, “Oooh, look at me, I’m leaning back in my chair and there’s no one to tell me to stop!”

…and then I lost my balance and fell backward. And 150 miles away, I have no doubt my mother was laughing her ass off.


I need new copper plumbing

I’ve spent the better part of the weekend working on Book 2*. I have about 60 pages so far, about half of which is the first four(ish) consecutive chapters, the rest being scenes or snippets of scenes that will/probably/might appear later on, depending.

And I realized in the last hour or so that I need to completely scrap most of what I wrote this weekend because I’m headed in the wrong direction from where I want to be in the story.


This is part of the process. When you’re struggling to get everything on the page, you have to push, push, push to keep at it, knowing the whole time that everything you’re pushing to put on that page is going to be utter crap. Well, perhaps not crap, but not something that you’ll keep. It’s like running water to clear rusty pipes:  it’s undrinkable until it runs clear, but you have to run the water nonetheless.


*An unfortunately large proportion of which was actually time spent being delinquent from writing, because the internet is evil and enticing and riddled with temptation.


Making space

If you’ve been following my adventures on my regular blog, you know that my husband and I are planning to turn our guest room into a creative room in a few weeks, and that I’ve been as giddy as an untrained puppy about it. There’s a lot wrapped up in this room for me beyond the excitement of getting to do another project — and one that’s almost completely decorating, with little of that boring “preparation” nonsense — that is complicated and too personal to go into here. But suffice to say, my wheels have been spinning for a month or so since I decided I wanted to do this project. Or perhaps more correctly, the poor little hamsters that run my wheels have been spinning their poor little hamster hearts out.

I’ve been on a creative high for weeks now but haven’t written much, nor even edited much since my big push before and immediately after my pitch critique. Previously, that would have sent me into a negative feedback loop of anxiety, frustration, desperation, and shame; when I’m “normal”, I cannot function if I go for more than a few days without writing, so to not be writing for lengths of time makes me a basketcase.

Unfortunately, this last couple of years have been a series of long stretches of not-writing, and that hasn’t been a good thing. I’ve mentioned it before so I won’t go into it again here, but suffice to say, it’s been a real struggle to deal with not writing as a regular state of affairs for myself. And to secretly fear that it was going away. A writer’s worst fear.

But no, I can feel it there, waiting. I can feel that story percolating inside me like it always has, evolving and coalescing. Plot points, character developments, scenes and narratives and setting possibilities, oh my!

So when this sudden urge to do the creative room struck, I decided to let myself take this little intermission from that familiar writing flow that I’d been feeling during the editing/pitch process. To trust that it would still be there, waiting for me. Trust my instincts, trust that taking the time out to concentrate on the creative room, to enjoy all the excitement I get from thinking about it and planning it and making my vision a reality.

I’m happy to report that letting myself take this detour was the right thing. I’m so excited to get it done I can hardly contain myself! And in the meantime, I’ve been focusing on my other creative pursuits, namely collaging and art journaling. All that energy of waiting to start the creative room needed an outlet, and although it’ll be so much easier and more fun to collage and art journal in my creative room, I’m not holding off doing either of them until then, something my Practical Self probably would have. After all, not having a dedicated space for such activities didn’t stop me from doing them before I decided to do this makeover, so why should it stop me now? That’s my Creative Self giving my Practical Self the finger.

Soon, the creative room will be ready for me to create all the live long day (and night, knowing me). I’ll have a lovely space to write in, with a different view than I have now and a door I can shut while I’m tussling with a particularly thorny plot issue. (Or, more likely, getting myself out of a plot corner.) That same space can be used for playing with paints and making messes with glitter and scribbling angry screeds in red crayon across a crudely painted background. There’ll be space for my husband to create, too, and for us to spend entire Saturdays being arty together while we listen to our usual NPR Saturday schedule. Space, too, for my dear friends to do the same, and for us to make crazy art and laugh and exclaim about each others’ talents and become closer than ever.

I’m excited for what’s ahead once this room is done, and for the possibilities it holds for me and my writing. I’m not one to believe that you need everything just so before you can start writing — I wrote my first book in all kinds of places, and in all kinds of circumstances, whether they were conducive to writing or not — but it feels luxurious to have a space for it. It feels like a tremendous privilege, and one that I earned.


Word count marathon, day 7

Despite interruptions, work continues on the Great Word Massacre of Aught 10. (Yes, I know it can’t be an Aught if it’s year 10, just go with me here.) I’ve had little time, thus made slow progress, but it’s progress nonetheless. This is a cumulative revision from the last week or so:

Starting word count: 236,303

Ending word count after revising Chapters 41 through 44: 234,792

# words cut: 1,511

I have most of the weekend to spend on revisions, so I’m hoping to clear some big swathes through the verbiage landscape. I also have Monday, which I took off (something about “a ridiculous number of unused vacation days, missy!” from our illustrious HR Director at my office) and plan to spend doing yet more revisions.

Speaking of time and the act of finding it, I’ve been thinking about John Scalzi’s post from last month about finding — or more accurately, making — the time to write. “When did you find the time to write this?” is a question I get asked a lot when people find out about my book, especially how long it is. Inevitably, the conversation turns toward how we do or don’t fit in the things we need and want to do. Scalzi’s point that you make time for the things that you really want to do is absolutely true, and doubly so for writing. As the old writing advice goes, the number one rule about writing is butt in chair, hands on keyboard.

To take it a little further, I think when writing is something you not only want to do but need to do, you simply can’t not do it. It’s not an option. I could no more not write than I could not breathe, and it has absolutely nothing to do with whether I’m published, will be published, or am even any good at it. I will forego sleep, meals, and most other responsibilities in order to write. It’s meant sacrifices, too, and finding the balance between writing and everything else is a daily juggling act for any writer no matter what their circumstances are. Really, though, isn’t that true for everyone no matter what their particular passion happens to be?

Which isn’t to say there aren’t slumps. Eru knows I’ve been in a slump for the last couple of years (ye gods and little fishes, has it really been that long?) and it’s been difficult as hell to cope with not having my daily routine of writing. Coming to terms with that reality has been as much a struggle as the actual struggles that have caused the slump in the first place. But as I seem to be emerging out of that period, I have a better appreciation than ever of just how critical writing is to my sense of well-being. And thus, how important it is to make time for it.


a little lesson on being prepared

I am on a Surprise!Writer’s Retreat. Well, technically it’s not a retreat since I’m at home, but I’ve taken today and tomorrow off work, and my home is pretty fabulous so it could be considered a retreat. The Surprise! part is because I wasn’t actually planning to do it until Monday.

The catalyst was an announcement by agent Kristen Nelson last week that she would be hosting a webinar titled “How to Write and Sell Fantasy and Science Fiction Novels”, a 90 minute pitch and query workshop through Writers’ Digest geared specifically toward science fiction and fantasy novels. Not only is the topic exactly what I need, Agent Kristen is my dream agent. I’ve been following her blog for years and if I were so lucky to get representation by her or her colleague, Sara Megibow, it would seriously be almost as good as getting published. (They focus on women authors! And in more than just the usual “women’s fiction” genres! And they love sf&f! And they’re specifically seeking more sf&f to represent! I mean really.) The kicker of the whole thing? The webinar package includes the opportunity to send my pitch paragraph to Kristen/Sara for critique! (And maybe resulting in a request for sample pages…but I dare not hope….)

The webinar was scheduled for the middle of the morning today, which would require taking some time off work; a no-brainer, but I was thinking maybe I should take the whole day off. And then I started thinking maybe I should take tomorrow off, too, and give myself the kind of time to write I haven’t had in awhile. But there’s a lot on my plate at work and being gone for two days on such short notice isn’t something I could take lightly.

Monday, however, I decided to go ahead. It would mean scrambling to get some things done that I absolutely needed to for work, but I could do it. And so I did.

So I’ve just finished the webinar a little bit ago, and it was so, so worth it. Some of the information was what I’d already learned about how to write a pitch paragraph and the dos and don’ts of queries. Even so, having it presented by an agent in a discussion format helped clarify the ins and outs considerably. And I did learn several new things.

The biggest: that the plot catalyst I’d identified, which is what you use to build your pitch around, wasn’t quite the right plot point. That I had the right sequence identified, but the real catalyst is just a bit later in that sequence than I initially identified. That revelation alone was worth the price of admission.

In other, not so great news: I got confirmation that my worries about the word count are well-founded. I have to really trim to get my foot in the door. I’m at a loss there, but it simply has to be done so I’ll have to figure it out.

Which brings me to my lesson for today: be prepared. I have until the end of the day next Friday to submit my pitch paragraph. My favorite literary agency has just offered their advice on how to nail a query, and I have the opportunity to get their critique. I get to, in essence, pitch my book to them. If it’s good enough, it may prompt them to request further submission of my first 30 pages. This agency has a reputation for representing female authors across many genres. Very successfully. They have specifically said they are looking to expand their sf&f portfolio, an announcement agencies don’t make very often, and certainly not for those genres. I have a finished manuscript for an epic fantasy with a strong female protagonist.


Although my manuscript is finished, the final pass isn’t. (Not for lack of desire, but because life has happened in the 4 months since I was last able to work on it.) It’s been revised many, many times, but this final pass has been incredibly helpful in tightening it up further. And I’ve been aware of the word count issue but stalled on where I can realistically make the big trims that need to happen.

So even though neither of these things will prevent me from submitting my pitch paragraph for critique, I’d be in an even better position than I already am if I had those two things done.

I will be spending the next eight days on my pitch, as well as taking a close, hard look at what I could trim to get the story down by at least 20%. (As I’ve said before, not just for the sake of cutting things out, but to make the story tighter.) I’m excited and determined. Wish me luck.


Progress, word count, and a sign that I may have a brain tumor

An extended weekend coast getaway and I have made some middling progress on Book 2. Gray skies and sea and a cozy cabin will do that to a girl, especially a writerly sort of girl, which I am. God bless the Oregon coast and all its inspirational glory.

Word count for today: 3,274

The day isn’t over yet — I expect I’ll be adding more tonight, after I’ve had a bit of supper — and I got a late start. But as word counts go, it’s pretty sad, considering I regularly bust out 10,000 words or more at a go when I’m more on my game. Unfortunately, I haven’t been on my game in quite some time, a state I don’t quite know what to do with, frankly, and I’m grateful at this point for any word count at all. I may in fact have to start regular word count posts as a means to keep the momentum, at least until I get this train back on track.

And speaking of trains, and tracks jumped thereof…three separate times today, I wrote “thrown” when I meant “throne”, and was in fact thinking “throne”. A simple mistake, you might think, but you would be wrong.

I’ve never had a problem with homonyms, homophones, or homographs, other than the occasional mistake caused by a momentary brain lapse. I have no trouble differentiating the correct usage of there/they’re/their, its/it’s, red/read/read/reed, nor even words that are not technically homonyms/phones/graphs, such as accept/except or insure/ensure. And in fact I have never really had a problem with these vagaries of our delightful language, though I certainly understand the confusion they cause others.

Never, that is, until recently. In the last few years, I’ve noticed an alarming problem that has me a bit freaked out. Have I suddenly begun confusing there/they’re/their, the bane of most English users? Do I now struggle with whether it’s it’s or its? Am I now conflicted about whether the word I want is accept or except? No, no, and no. Again, except for the occasional brain lapse, these give me no trouble.

But recently, I have found myself typing words that are different than the ones in my head, homophones that I’ve never before struggled with and in many cases, didn’t even think about as being homphones until I found myself typing the wrong word all of a sudden. Like today’s repeated use of “thrown” when I meant “throne”. It wouldn’t have been a homophone pair I ever would’ve thought of if I were listing them, and yet my brain made the connection and took it upon itself to order my fingers to make the substition. Even as I was typing the word, I was thinking “throne”, yet I typed “thrown”. And even after I was aware of it, I kept doing it.

It happens in blog posts, emails, texting, book writing…I’m doing it frequently, discovering homophones that never before occurred to me. It wasn’t that I didn’t recognize before that the word I’d intended had a homophone equivalent, but simply that they were never connected together for me before unless I was specifically trying to think of homophones. We’re not talking about common, everyday mix-ups here. And it’s happened to me so often now that I’ve lost track of all the different pairs that’ve popped up, and I’m constantly discovering new ones (thrown/throne is my new one today).

Other homophone mix-ups I’ve made since this whole problem began:  roil/royal, bawled/bald, sordid/sorted, brood/brewed, wrapped/rapt, nose/knows (this one happens to me often now), righting/writing(!), chews/choose, sewn/sown, rigger/rigor, praise/preys, coulee/coolly, wheeled/wield. Those are just the ones I can remember at this moment, far from a complete list.

It’s got me so freaked out that the day that I substituted “eyed” for “I’d”, I googled demon possession and brain tumor pathology. Because seriously! How is this not a sign of something being majorly frakked in my noggin?? My brain is melting together, you guys! The orderliness of my previously awesome cerebral cortex is breaking down into chaos!

I have an alternative theory that my synethesia is spreading…that in addition to my spatial-sequence synesthesia*, where my brain has made connections between the flow of time and the three-dimensional world, my brain is now forming connections between words that have similarities. This would be a far cooler explanation than a brain tumor, and it’s the only reason I haven’t fled to the nearest neurologist’s office for every expensive brain scan available.

Or it could just be that I’m getting old and losing a bit of my mental faculties. But I think I’ll stick with the synesthesia theory.


*(For those new to the show, yes, I have spatial-sequence synesthesia, which that link up there explains very succintly:  “In spatial-sequence, or number form synesthesia, numbers, months of the year, and/or days of the week elicit precise locations in space (for example, 1980 may be “farther away” than 1990), or may have a (three-dimensional) view of a year as a map (clockwise or counterclockwise).” My synethesia is strongest in relation to time, but I experience it with all number forms (hence the number form link). And that is the cool fact about me for today.)


Book 2 and the impact of real life

Boy, Book 2 is not coming easy. I know where it begins and ends and have a pretty good idea of at least some of the plot points I want to cover in between. I have a clearer idea of the themes and character arcs than I did at this point in Book 1 (or for at least half of Book 1, for that matter). I’ve known the opening scenes of this book for almost 2 years now. And I now know these characters better than I know some of my real life friends and family.

So what the hell, Book 2?

Aside from the aforementioned opening scenes — which I wrote more than a year ago — and a pretty steamy (though not explicit) and intensely passionate scene that was the result of a fantastic brainstorming idea while I was at the coast around New Years’…I have very little to show of Book 2 at the moment. It’s not for lack of ideas, either, or knowing where it needs to go. Or excitement, for that matter. I don’t know what this is that has me kind of piddly-dinking around.

Writer’s Block? No, I don’t think so. I’ve had writer’s block before, and this doesn’t feel the same. I can feel the story in there, percolating, and hamsters that run the little wheels inside my brain are scurrying around as much as ever. Oh, I still have that undercurrent of panic that I imagine many writers experience when you don’t yet know exactly where the story is going and every little plot point and character evolution hasn’t been nailed down. But in general, I have a good grip on this story and what I want it to look like when I finish it.

I’ve alluded on here before to the impact of some real life stuff on my creative life, and though that real life stuff has been getting the attention it needs in order to keep me from wanting to rub soup in people’s hair, it’s still been interfering with my creative life. Time is always an issue, of course —  it’s always an issue for anyone who has to fit their writing life in the small gaps between a full-time job and a regular life — but more with my inner creative life. There’s a lot processing through my brain, and the last year has required a lot more brain power than usual. I’ve had to switch on the auxiliary power, so to speak.

I’m realizing now that it’s been obvious why I couldn’t get back into my writing groove. There just isn’t a lot of energy left for my creative spirit to draw from, and hasn’t been for awhile. Considering that creativity really draws a lot of power all on its own (since I’m apparently going with the whole power station metaphor here), the necessity of diverting some mental energy to other stuff has meant a blackout — or maybe a brownout — on the Creativity Power Grid.

What’s frustrating, however, is that it was the ability to retreat into writing that oftentimes gave me relief in the past from the same kinds of Life Stuff that’s intruded so much now. In the past, I would’ve used some of the power generated by the Creativity Power Grid to get through some of the energy shortages on the Life Power Grid. Except in this case, power’s being diverted away from the Creativity Power Grid, so it’s a problem that compounds itself.

Aaaaaand now that the power station analogy has been thoroughly beaten into the ground….

The point is, I’m not really where I want to be with Book 2 but as with most things in life, I don’t think there’s any shortcut around the hurdle that stands between me and making progress on Book 2. I’m going to have to actually clear that hurdle, or dismantle it. It’s frustrating, but journey, destination, yada yada. And maybe this is what I have to go through to make Book 2 (and 3) the stories they need to be.


Writer's block, sort of

Still waiting for that kindling to catch fire. It’s not really writer’s block, but almost completely due a horrible stretch of months in which I’ve had absolutely no motivation to write. That it so completely foreign to me that it’s just as bad as the things I’ve been trying to deal with and process.

Writing is my outlet, it’s my refuge. Whether I’m writing on a current project or am inspired to start a new one, or even just writing in my journal, I honestly cannot remember a time since college that I wasn’t actively writing (college being a time when I had no time to eat, let alone anything else). I won’t say that I write every single day, because of course life happens. But writing — and this story that I hope to publish in particular — has been a part of my life every. single. day. Whether it’s working out plot or character issues while I’m driving (an excellent time to do brainstorming) or doing research or revising already-written chapters, or actually, you know, writing, I devote at least two hours every day to one or all of those tasks (what I collectively call writing). It’s not something I even have to make myself do, I just…do it. I can’t imagine not doing it.

Well now I can, of course. And not having that in my life as regularly and dependably as the rise and fall of the sun has only amplified the unsettling disconnectedness of this period I’ve been working my way through. I know I can’t force it, that for whatever reason, I have to go through this right now, in the way that it’s happening. But wow, do I feel like unequipped without that outlet as a copiing mechanism.

It’ll come back, I know. I don’t even have anxiety that it won’t, despite that brief panic mentioned int eh previous post. I think that knowledge is probably the only thing sustaining me through this strange period, otherwise…well, I hate to contemplate the alternative.

But in the meantime, I feel like the clock is ticking. The clock is one of my own making, of course, but it’s there. I have things I want to be doing, things I’d planned to be doing by now. I should be further along by now, should be querying at the very least, and have a nice solid start on the second book. I should have my synopsis finished, and…

…but I can’t continue that list or I really will freak out. Something, something is telling me to trust this feeling and let the rest come when it comes, to ignore that impatient tapping of the foot and the paranoid worry that all eyes are on me wondering, “when are you going to get moving on this already?”.

In good time, in good time. Trust in that.