So… not long ago, I observed that it had been almost a year since I finished anything.
Now, most people may not see that as much of anything since the truly great writers took years to complete their pieces. I’m not one of those, though. Things only take years for me when I stall out in stupid ways and can’t get past myself.
I found it somewhat bitterly ironic that I had a story that I’d put off for almost ten years done in about a month, its sequel done four months after that. A book I put off for two years was done in less than a month, same with another.
I guess my point is: when I write, I’m fast.
Perhaps too fast.
Over the period from 2011 to 2013, I completed forty some novel sized stories. By novel, I’m going with Nanowrimo’s fifty thousand word definition, since all of them have at least that much, some much, much more. It’s hard to define otherwise because some people don’t see my stuff as complete or as separate pieces when I do.
What people tell me about that number, other than its inherent insanity, is that what happened was burn out. What I needed was time off. I needed to take time to do things other than write.
I am a writer. I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m not writing. I’m not interested in much outside writing. I am tired of being burned by television shows and books and movies. I’m tired of having things I object to based on my personal beliefs being in almost every form of entertainment, of having no refuge from those things. I have to accept that they’ll be there if I watch television or movies or read books by others. I don’t have a choice other than avoidance.
Well, avoidance and my own fiction. I became more and more enamored of the worlds I created because I didn’t have to have them there. Oh, yes, bad things still happen, and people still do things that they shouldn’t, but they’re not the main characters, the ones I spend time with and care about.
So I found, I suppose, that my writing became not only a sanctuary but also a means of control, finding this place in the world and keeping it safe from all that stuff that is against what I believe and what I want to see.
It’s hard to accept criticism about your safe place, and it’s hard to share that safe place, especially when many people don’t want that safe place. They aren’t bothered by the things I am, and they don’t see the choices I do as wrong.
I had a whole battle with myself over whether or not I should even write with the way I believed, if writing itself was against what I should do to keep my faith. This is not a new debate. I’ve had it several times over the years and when I think I’ve settled it, I write like crazy. When I question it again, when I think I’ve done wrong, I can’t write.
This last year has been filled with lots of debates with myself, lots of failed projects, and a lot of writer’s block. I’m still in the middle of that last one, and I just had to put away a couple of projects because it’s clear to me that even though I find nothing objectionable in them, I’m not capable of working on them in a productive way.
I have eight major projects that I’ve tried and failed on since I last finished something. Doesn’t seem like much, but when I used to complete a novel a month or so, I feel it. I sometimes think I shouldn’t complain, but I cope much better with the things in the real world when I’m writing, and the real world has been… rather difficult of late. I feel a need to be writing, a compulsion, and yet I can’t.
It’s been hard to find anything to work on publishing or posting in this mess I’ve been in, and I gave up on updating the website at all, even considered taking it down.
I have not made myself do that yet, and at times I think I’ll go back to my grand plans of reorganizing the site and editing the books I have for sale (they’ll get new covers, better edits, and a rerelease, though probably not Just a Whim. I don’t think I will rerelease that one.)
I was going to wait until I was ready to overhaul the site to say anything, but this is overdue, again. I needed to get some of this stuff organized in my head to know where I was going next.
So I will be working toward either an overhaul or a removal. I will be trying to get one of my failed projects to a conclusion. I will be working on fixing the issues with my current books and serials.
I’m even considering posting a bit of what I’m working on each day. Not sure about that. I hate spoilers, hate giving them, and I don’t like posting out of order, but I’ll see what happens. I’m still very much in a process of figuring everything out.
I had an idea I thought was great that I was going to show off once I knew that it worked, but I don’t know if it was liked, just received, so it’s hard to work myself up to doing another, even though I wanted to try again just to get myself writing.
I wish I had something to say that was concrete, a real promise or plan with a real timeline for implementing it, but I don’t. I just have things I’m going to try to get past this phase and I’ll see how that goes.