Stalled Writing

Hard to believe we are at the end of January already. Wasn’t it only January 1st a couple of days ago?

This week I am going to talk about a writing problem I had, and will probably continue to struggled with, at least for a while.

I stalled in my writing. I’ve tried and tried to rework my Valentine’s story and it just isn’t working. I got the first edit back from the editor in early December and I just couldn’t seem to get it to be what it should be. I knew it wasn’t good when I sent it, and of course, it turns out it wasn’t. Not a write off, but it needed substantial work. I tried to make the changes suggested in the edit, all of which I totally agreed with, but I just couldn’t get it right. I tried to start fresh, keeping some of the good ideas and re-writing. Nope, didn’t work. I put it aside for a week and then started looking at it again. Nope. So, I decided to work on another project. Maybe a change would do wonders. The new project is mostly complete now. I enjoyed working on it, and I was rejuvenated. I took another look at the Valentine’ story, and I immediately got anxious. Now what?

Last Friday I met with a fellow author. We meet and email regularly to inspire each other to move forward in all areas of our author life. I mentioned my Valentine’s story woes. She asked a few questions about the novellas I have published and about what I have in my ideas book. She listened carefully to not only what I said, but how I said it. Then she asked a few more question and I had a light bulb moment.

I was trying to force the Valentine’s story. I looked at my schedule and said, well since you are wanting to publish in February, you should write a romance. Therein lies the problem. I didn’t want to write a true romance, that wasn’t the reality of the story theme I wanted to write so, the harder I struggled to write this one the worse it got. I wasn’t writing the story my heart wanted me to.

I came home from the meeting and was motivated. A big weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Sometimes we just have to follow our gut and do what we think is right for us and not do things because we, or others think it would be better. I wrote my first two novellas by choosing a subject I wanted to write about and I enjoyed every minute of it. No, they weren’t perfect the first go-round, but they were stories I wanted to tell and I wasn’t full of anxiety trying to make the changes suggested by the editor.

I’m feeling much better about writing this week. I am a little discouraged I used all that time trying to write a story that may never be anything but a file of words on my jump drive, but it’s all good learning. Something we must keep doing as authors. It’s all part of finding our path in this wonderful career.

I’m pledging to follow my heart from here on out, no forcing the story to be what it is not. I know I’ll need someone to remind me of this from time to time as I lapse back and that’s okay, that’s what my author friends are for.

Here’s hoping you all have a motivating week in whatever direction your pursuits take you.

About Linda O'Toole

Women's Fiction Author
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