I am pumped.
Couldn’t tell with the use of that period, could you? Considering that I overuse the exclamation point in every day life (thankfully, I don’t in my actual writing), the use of the period here is actually quite poignant of how pumped I am right now. Why am I so stoked? Because I am breaking the chains that I’ve enslaved myself with and I am excited. I am eager.
I am back.
You see, ever since November, when I started a new book called BLOOD PRICE, what started out as a strong attempt to write book number six turned into a drought lasting almost three months; a drought inspired by fear, doubt, confusion and laziness. Fear in what was (is) happening in the world and fear of how that impacts not only myself, but those I love and those who undeservedly are being targeted and affected the most. Doubt in myself, in the stories I’m telling, in my ability to tell stories. Confusion in where BLOOD PRICE was going and where it was meant to go–and fear that I was telling the wrong version of the story or, even sometimes, a fear that I was writing too true of a version, and the response to either option. The natural laziness that happens during the holidays and the winter season paired with the laziness used as an excuse to not confront those doubts, fears and confusion. These emotions have dragged on and, though I’ve written two short stories and jotted down a handful of notes pertaining to book ideas, I’ve written nothing. I haven’t worked towards anything.
It got to the point where I was considering tabling BLOOD PRICE altogether, to work on something else. The excitement for the story had obviously passed and I was running into more roadblocks than I was solutions. I have other stories I want to tell. I could work on one of those, get back into the groove of things, and return to BLOOD PRICE when I got my mojo back.
That’s not a bad plan. That’s not a bad thing, at all. Tabling, though I’ve always unjustly paired it with a bad taste in my mouth, can be very beneficial and very needed. Yet when I thought about the stories I wanted to tell, the ones that I am currently excited and jazzed to write about, the same emotions still lingered and no words were getting written on the page. Suddenly, hopelessness was creeping in; hopelessness that I would never break out of these chains I’ve placed upon myself.
And then I had an idea.
I didn’t want to table BLOOD PRICE. Not really. Yet the idea of trying to pick back up on page 70, where I’d left off, and come up with where to go next is exactly the thing that has kept me from even opening up the Word document and attempting it in the first place.
So why couldn’t I start over?
And here’s where the excitement comes in.
I know what you’re thinking: starting over? How could that prospect possibly ignite so much excitement? You’re moving backwards. Usually, I’d be right there with you, but as soon as the idea took hold and I felt the excitement building, I knew I figured out a solution, a way back into my craft. I’d make an outline. A proper outline that I skipped making before NaNoWriMo. I’d figure out what was going on, where the story was heading, what happens at the end. And then, once I had my headway, I’d pull up my current draft of BLOOD PRICE. I’m not deleting what I’ve already written. Instead, I’m going back in, editing to fit the new outline and then, once I get to page 70, I’ll be so tired of fixing that and changing this that I’ll be dying to write down something new.
And so the story will continue.
Perhaps this seems like a silly method or an impossible solution for overcoming my demons and escaping my fears. Yet I just spent the last 20 minutes finishing the outline and, in doing so, I fell in love with the story again. I fell in love with the characters that answered, this time, when I spoke to them and asked them what happened next. I got excited about how much I’m playing with the environment, how different this is structurally from anything else I’ve written and how powerful Natanni is–my first female protagonist (how it took me six books to get to a female protag, I have no bloody clue). Though it is going to be a lot of work and deleting to fix what I’ve already written to include the necessary scenes and aspects now required to make this story what it needs to be, it’s work I’m willing to do; work I’m excited to do. When you’re coming from a place where you felt suffocated because you couldn’t remember how to breathe and suddenly, you not only inhale, but exhale as well?
Yeah, I think pumped is actually an understatement.