So, it’s been a while.
Bad news first: I’m employed. Well, that in itself isn’t bad news, but it has definitely cut into writing time and the additional stress/exertion of mental energy doesn’t help either. (On the other hand, go support my new company, The Caregiver Foundation. I now write grants for them but we could always use the extra support!)
Good news: I am back on track with my novel, (sort of), and getting over the mid-novel malaise that stuck around for several months. Some things that have helped:
1) Stepping back enough to realize that most of what I’m doing is still usable. The parts that aren’t can be fixed. It may take (UNHOLY AMOUNTS OF) time, but it is not impossible. That is somewhat comforting.
2) Regaining focus. A big part of my novel stress was trying to do too many things at once…or not knowing what I was doing at all. Most of the time I tried to manically convince myself that everything would work out in the end without actually looking for solutions. Wrong. It has definitely helped to look at what in my overall story interests me, i.e. why I need to write this story, get it out of my veins, keep going all the way to the end. The answer, of course, goes back to the story’s conception. Rediscovering that passion and focus has been a great relief. My main focus is why my main characters keep choosing to surviving in this new, toxic landscape instead of just giving up. Having that focus to hold onto simplifies a lot of what I’ve been trying to do. It makes everything somehow less scary, even if just a little.
3) Writing smaller projects to keep up technique and get out of my comfort zone. This allows me to explore things without fear of wasting time or effort on my novel project. I’ve joined some online competitions with near-weekly prompts and I find that having someone else toss out ideas for me to figure out in my own style has helped me look at what habits I fall into out of comfort and what I need to work on. Largely, I have avoided intense action scenes in the past and I’m hoping to expand my skill set with short stories that focus on action. I also stick to ideas very grounded in the real world and it is why my world-building can be shaky sometimes.
Mostly I am still tired and nervous and nauseous, but things are starting to look up, so here’s hoping. Thanks for sticking around if you’re still here.