Writer's block is defined as "a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years." I know that definition because I googled it. GOOGLED IT. That's how much I was trying to distract myself from writing. And the scariest thing about that definition? The word YEARS. Whichever Webster employee decided on including that tidbit of information should be fired immediately and charged with cruelty to authors everywhere.
I've never had writer's block before. If anything, I've had too many ideas pushing at me, fighting for a chance to come out on paper. But for the last six weeks, I've struggled. I've distracted myself from writing in every way imaginable. My house is actually clean. My dogs were bathed four times this month. I've visited the dentist, lady doctor, and chiropractor. I *gasp* filed my taxes. I've done everything except for the one thing that I should be doing: working on Still.
Let's chat Still for a moment. I originally planned for the book to go this way:
Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love with boy, lives happily ever after except for HUGE PLOT TWIST.
Easy, right? No biggie. I went ahead and wrote a novella - one that covered the girl meets boy section of the book, and published it in the Bend anthology. Readers LOVED the couple and have been clamoring for more of them ever since. So... everything was flying along, all lights green.
Except then I realized that my HUGE PLOT TWIST completely ruined any chance of a HEA (Happily-Ever-After). Sure, books don't HAVE to end well. I could rip out every reader's heart and end it all in a funeral. But... I don't want that. They don't want that. And what's the point in spending four months of writing just to ruin everyone's day?
So I replotted. Reworked. Ate giant marshmallows. Binge-watched two seasons of Nashville. Reworked some more. Wrote a 2-book synopsis and first 6 chapters of a new work and sent it to my agent. Stared at the wall some more. Ignored the manuscript that I didn't know what to do with.
Yesterday, I had a come to Jesus meeting and made a decision. I sat down over dinner and seriously discussed walking away from this book. It had become too convoluted, too messy. Every solution to the issue only brought more problems. The book was starting to feel like it was held together with dry yucky bandaids. My husband suggested I sleep on it. Give it one final shot before I made this decision. Walking away from a book-in-progress normally wouldn't matter. No one's seen it, readers aren't emotionally involved, you can stick out a shiny new idea and YAY! they are on board. But I have sort of screwed myself in the Still department. I had already pubbed an introduction to this couple, one that 20k+ readers purchased. I'd answered countless reader inquiries and told them that Still would pub in December. Walking away from this book would leave those readers hanging. I was torn in a battle between providing an inferior product with not providing one at all. I didn't know what to do. We discussed the pros and cons, and I agreed to wait 24 hours before making a final decision.
This depressing blog post DOES have a happy ending. This afternoon, 3 hours before my dinner deadline, while surrounded by bath bubbles, I had an *IDEA*. One that I worked through, mused over, napped on. And I woke with one thought: YES. Yes, this could work. Yes, this is good.
For now, Still is saved. I wrote down the bones of my idea and pinned it to the wall above my desk. Tomorrow, I will dig into it. Spend the next ten days exploring and will see if it has legs.
I'll keep you posted, please check back for more updates on this novel. For right now, I'm sticking with my December release expectation. If you'd like to receive email notifications when I release a book you can sign up here.
Headed back into my writing cave. Hugs to you all...