It is time. You know that lull you get into when writing seems almost impossible? Yup, that’s where I’ve been. Now don’t get me wrong—I have been writing, but it’s nothing to write home about. My current WIP is a complete mess. It starts in New York, then moves to Georgia (it should only be in one place) so I have that to fix, but right now I just want to keep writing rather than going back to make changes. I think this is where my problem lies. I go back and back and back, never moving forward until I feel that what has come before is perfect. This makes for a very long and arduous task. I had a conversation with my critique partners about this very thing, and we all agreed we should stop editing as we write, but it’s HARD. Particularly where you get to a point where you don’t know what you’re going to write next—it’s natural to want to go back and edit at that stage, because at least you’re still doing something, right? Wrong. I have to keep pushing forward.
I get emails and messages asking me when the next Bearwood installment is going to hit the virtual shelves, and it’s my responsibility as an author who has brought characters to people and made them fall in love with them to ensure that they aren’t left hanging too long – y’all know how I love my cliffhangers. But as well as that, it’s our responsibility as authors to make sure we continue writing. We’ve all hit the stage where the words won’t come, and we’re all still perplexed as to how to make them flow again. The first time it happened to me, I got over it through a mixture of encouragement from my CP’s and being asked to write a couple of short stories for an anthology. Those shorts got me writing. This time around it’s kind of the same thing. I hadn’t written anything worth a damn until I got asked to write something, and while it may not be the best literary fiction, it still got me writing. So, I have a sneaking suspicion that I am about to disappear into my own head again, which is cool because any writer will tell you, a writer’s head is an awesome place.
I guess the message I’m trying to send here is that, no matter what, keep writing. Don’t go back and edit if you can possibly stop yourself. Keep pushing forward and get yourself closer to completion of whatever number draft you are on. It’s okay to stop, as long as you keep trying to start again.