Knowing when to call it quits…. at least for a little while

As every writer knows, sometimes you find yourself in a slump. You hit that brick wall, the dead end, or find yourself deep in a hole. Then you try to brow beat the words out of you, right your wrongs. You pull out all the tricks, but one way or another the blinding island of white, the tyranny of the blank page, wins, and the realm of writers block takes over. Like the cruel master it is, it fills you full of self-doubt, anger, and most often depression.

The power that writers block can hold over someone is amazing. Even the very seasoned writers have been in serious trouble with writers block. Sometimes its the day job, the friends (or lack there of.), family issues, or sometimes its just the work in progress itself. Stephen King, for example said in his book “On Writing” that when he was teaching English he would “Often come home feeling like I had jumper cables attached to my brain.” For the fledgling author with only one or two books under their belt, writers block can be the kiss of death.

Its a very frightening thing, there you are writing what you are hoping is your next masterpiece and wham! Writers block comes out of left field and slams you to the ground and like the school bully it is, pushes your face in the mud of despair until you either beat it or give in. Now I know I have written about writers block in the past and I will probably write about it in the future, because it is a very real problem for anyone trying to make it as an author. This is one problem that I care deeply about not just because I’ve been there, but I am there. As most my readers know I have been working on a supernatural romance I’ve titled Through Mortal Eyes. This is the project that has been breaking me. My plan for it was to have it in print by June of this year. That’s not going to happen. I planned it to be a stand alone novella, only around 50,000 words. Cut and dry right? Well not this time.

First let me give you a little background. When I am reading for pleasure, which is about 90% of my reading I like to dive into Young Adult, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, and of course Fantasy. With all the other genres tossed in for good measure. I started getting really into Irish mythology and the seeds of what could be a truly fantastic story started to form. The idea just wouldn’t leave me alone and at a time when I should have been hard at work on book two of The Guardian Chronicles, I decided to take a break and write out a page of this idea that wouldn’t let me go. So one day while I was working, I sat in my car, opened the note app, and spent around fifteen minutes typing out the scene that was plaguing me. That done I set in off to my wife to see what her thoughts on it was and I went in to work. Shortly after I sent it I received a text all but demanding I finish the story. So I went home that night and began composing an outline, writing up character profiles, the works. Then I started working on the first draft. Around 25,000 words I ran into trouble. I had written myself into a hole. So I sat back and worked on a few other scenes, nothing too large. Tried to go back and again I was stuck. Here I was with a novella halfway finished and I was stuck.

We are five months into this year, almost halfway done, and I haven’t really made any progress in my current project. I’ve been stuck at the halfway point, the murky middle, the valley between the mountains. So what to do? Well, it’s time I take my own advice. I’m stepping away from writing and Through Mortal Eyes for a month. Its not an easy thing to do. Its embarrassing, disappointing, but its necessary. I’ve said before that taking a break away from writing is a good thing when you cant get past a point. When your stuck and can’t get out, its okay to ask for help, and its okay to quit. Now I’m not giving up and I don’t think you should either if your in the same position I am in, but stepping aside for a little while is a good thing. I’m giving myself a month to get my head straight. Then I will come back and face my work in progress head on.

If your in a similar position, its okay to take a break. Its alright to ask for help, and it doesn’t make you any less of a writer to put down your laptop/ notebook and have “me” time. So for the month of June I will not be posting anything, I wont be writing, instead I will be working my day job, hanging out with my family, and trying to find that magic that brings me to the page time after time. I’ll see you all in a month, thanks for reading.

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