That is the sign currently hanging in front of my brain. Part of it is because of all the family emergencies of the past month — one of which, unfortunately, has recurred. But a big part of it is because of the push to get Nocturnal Serenade finished then ready for publication. I have to give a big thanks to my beta readers who pushed it to the top of their pile since I was late getting it finished. While I’d love for each and every one of you to go buy the book — as well as the first book in the series, Nocturnal Origins — that’s not the purpose of this post.
I am, for the first time ever, suffering from writing overload. I can’t think of any other way to describe it. I finished Serenade about a month ago. Yes, digital publishing allows for that quick of a turn around when you have beta readers willing to put their lives on hold as they read your stuff and your editor has the foresight to have a cover ready and to put his life on hold to edit the book as soon as it comes in. Of course, I’ve also been told not to be so late again. (Hangs head).
I have a short story in the Nocturnal Lives universe playing havoc with the rest of my writing schedule. It usually doesn’t take me more than a couple of days to push out the rough draft of a short story, especially when I know the plot like I do with this one. However, this story has been playing havoc with my brain and my life. I finally talked with Sarah about it — yes, she’s the poor soul who has to listen to me whine when my characters and plots misbehave. I tell her that’s because she’s the one who made me start taking my writing seriously, so this is her reward.
Any way, we talked about the story and what’s happening, or not happening. It’s not that I don’t have the voice. It’s Mac’s voice, the one I’ve been living for the last several months. So that’s not it. It’s not that I don’t know the plot. I do. But for some reason I simply haven’t been able to get past the first fifteen hundred words. It’s not even that the short story is a novel wanting to happen. Shh, don’t repeat that aloud or it might happen. It’s not even that the other plots in my head are demanding to be written. In fact, they are being strangely quiet.
Sarah pulled on her pointy-toed boots — she tends to do this a lot with me. I think she enjoys threatening me. I don’t know. It’s not like I’m stubborn or anything — and told me to quit over-thinking everything and just relax. She reminded me that I had pushed hard over the last couple of months to finish Serenade, all the while dealing with real life. That’s enough to wear someone out mentally and emotionally. Add to that the fact I hadn’t given myself any real down time — I guess a day of Overlord II isn’t enough. Sigh. Guess I’ll have to force myself to game another few evenings. It’s rough, but if I have to do it…Giggle — and you get the brain hanging out the Gone Fishin’ sign.
In other words, I was ignoring the advice I’ve given before in this blog. After finishing something, especially a novel, you have to give yourself time to recharge mentally and emotionally. This is especially true if, while you’ve been on the final push to finish that novel or short story, you’ve had to deal with serious issues in your personal life. So, I’m going to do just that…Yes, Sarah, I’m taking your advice. I’m going to step away from the keyboard as a writer for the rest of the week. I’ll focus on my work for NRP and on my “real life” and give my writer’s brain a vacation. Next week, I’ll get back to it. Until then, the Gone Fishin’ sign will remain in place. Otherwise, I’ll continue to beat myself about the head because I can’t finish a short story and that, my friends, can quickly become a vicious cycle, one I do NOT want to start.
So, do as I say and as I am now trying to do. Reward yourself when you finish a piece. And, by finish, I mean really finish — complete the writing, editing, beta readers and sending it off (or having it edited for self-publishing). A few days away from the keyboard are needed to recharge the batteries so you can move on to the next project.