I’ve got a blank page. It’s supposed to have words. Lots of words, in fact. I’m supposed to be almost halfway into the rough draft of my next novel, but I’ve not typed a single word. Granted, the soonest this book would be out is February 2024. My editor won’t get to it until October at the very earliest, more likely November or December. So I’ve got time, but still. I want to get moving on it.
The problem isn’t the plot. I outlined the book some months back. I know the characters. It’s book five in a series. I know the setting well.
It’s not some missing magical muse. I don’t need to wait to be visited by the imagination fairy. That’s not how writing works. Writing is a muscle; the more you work it, the easier it becomes. (I kind of laugh when people give me story ideas with good intentions. I have plots worked out for fourteen novels past the series I’m currently writing. Write the ideas yourselves. You can breathe them best into the world!)
No, it’s not writer’s block or lack of inspiration.
The problem is me.
Well, not entirely. In my “day job” as a pastor I’ve been facing some insane pressure of late. No, I can’t and won’t share its source other than to say it’s taking up all my energy. Serving my congregation comes before my writing, and as long as I’m a pastor, I’m convinced that is the correct order of things.
But what that means is that my writing simply isn’t happening. Even when I have the time – and despite the pressure, I do still have the time – I can’t concentrate enough to really produce anything. Book five finally reveals all the answers to all the mysteries set out in the series so far. (Book six is then fallout of finding out the truth.) I’ve been looking forward to writing it.
But… nope. No joy. Just pressure.
So what’s the answer, as far as writing is concerned?
Well, I’ve taken a few “screw it” days. Just days where I say, “Nothing’s getting done today. Time to go do something else.” So I’ve done a fair amount of reading. I’ve wasted time with memes. I’ve taken extra time with the kids.
I’ve spent time talking with friends. While I write in seclusion, I am part of a community and its support has been so important. I’ve received some very, very good encouragement. For that, I’m thankful.
And beyond that… well, for the writing, there’s not much more I can do.
For the pressure itself, I have prayer and encouragement from God himself. I have encouragement from friends and family.
But for the writing… maybe it takes a back burner for a little bit. After all, like I said, this doesn’t come out for a year and a half. I’ve got time.
Or maybe soon I’ll pound out the entire thing in just a few days. Who knows?