I’m supposed to be writing. Like, I have an outline. I have a contract even. I know the characters. So why aren’t the words coming?
For the last year, I’ve written middle grade fiction. It started with Madelyn of the Sky and its assorted associated short stories. (Those short stories will be collected, likely in about a year or so.) Then I wrote the first drafts of Cade and the Last Starship, the Dawnsbrook series that’ll be coming out starting in September 2023, if all goes according to plan.
And now, following the success of Something Wicked This Way Rides, I’ve been asked to write more western horror short stories. I really enjoyed the stories in that anthology, so of course I’m excited for it! I did some research to try and hit different western and horror tropes in each of the short stories so nothing gets used too often. I’ve got plenty of prework done.
But my brain is just not getting into gear.
Before embarking on Madelyn, I wrote a number of short stories in a number of genres. I was used to switching gears often. I’d even revise stories from multiple genres in batches with no problems.
But now after a year of middle school fantasy and science fiction… it’s just not clicking.
This isn’t good. See, to be an author, you can’t wait until you feel like writing. You don’t linger, longing for your muse to arrive. That’s a good way to never write. Instead, you get into a habit of writing. You can use tricks to help your brain get in the right mode, of course. I’ll often listen to the same genre of music, training my brain to say, “Oh! Listen to that! Must be time to write!” But in the end, I’m not waiting around until I feel like it.
Nope. Writers gotta write. Don’t matter if they feel like it.
So what am I gonna do?
Well, I’m going to set this work aside for about a month. Hopefully less, but definitely not more than that. In the meantime, I’m going to outline my next six-book middle grade series. I’ve got a concept, but I need to do a lot more work. I’ll let this western horror collection fester in the back of my head until hopefully, in a month or less, it’s ready to scurry forth like spiders bursting from an egg sac. (Maybe I’m already getting into a horror mode!)
In other words, I don’t stop writing. I switch projects. Writing doesn’t stop.
So… time to get outlining!