April 20, 2013

Sometimes Writing Can be Like Pulling Teeth #Writing #Blogging @Selena_Illyria #RLFblog

Hidden Diversions

Romance Lives Forever welcomes Selena Illyria to the blog for an article on writing and writer’s block. This article could have come from my own heart – after reading it, I felt I knew my friend Selena much better. If you’re a writer, you owe it to yourself to read this. If you’re a reader, this might make you appreciate writers a little bit more.

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for quite some time but something or other always came up. Over the past few months I’ve been having computer issues so that didn’t help. Those issues made both editing and writing difficult. I was in panic mode during those times; it was a fight to get in every edit or finish a sentence. After I turned in my edits, which was a relief, I still had a book to finish but soon it became evident that my old laptop wasn’t up to the task. Recently, I was able to get a new laptop that would allow me to continue with writing and other things, which was a relief. That sentiment didn’t last long.
As I waded back into the world of writing it became clear that I was in trouble. For weeks I’d been going around in manic mode to get things done. And once my edits were done, I started to seep into depression with every day that I didn’t get to write or I didn’t get to write enough. That depression turned to anger and stress. I became mired in frustration at my inability to get anything done. I thought that getting a new computer would help with all those emotions. It didn’t.
Now I was in a new form of hell. One where every word was like pulling teeth or mucking through molasses. No word was right or enough. I found myself falling backward into old bad habits that I’d been trying to break after my burnout a year before. I became angry at myself, frustrated that it wasn’t as easy at it once was. That my mind, fingers and brain didn’t seem to want to cooperate or work with each other like they used to. Even though I knew I couldn’t go back, I still wanted to recapture that hubristic little shit that I was when I first started. When you finish your first book and get it published you’re on a high. You can do anything, write anything. Book after book can pour out of you like water. Phrases like writer’s block or burnout don’t even apply. They’re like distant lands you’ll never visit and have no intention of stopping in, not even for a moment. Those two things would never happen to you, because you’re kick-ass, you’re made of so much awesome sauce that it comes out of your pores.
Yeah right. Then they both come and you get your ass handed to you, even if it’s temporary or lasts longer than a week or month. The first time burnout happened to me, I needed a few weeks to recover. Then those periods lasted longer and longer until it seem never-ending. Now, I find myself in a new kind of Hades, one where I can finally write but the words aren’t coming. Everything I put down sucks and my internal editor is playing kickball with every sentence, comma, and my confidence.
The one thing you never truly understand until you become a writer is that it’s truly a solitary career. No one else can write what you write. Your editors can clean up your work, improve your voice, and your publishers can put out your books, but in the end, they can’t write them for you. They don’t have your voice or vision or phrasing. You can write with a partner but you still have to pull your own weight. And none of those people can give you confidence when you fall down or start to wonder how you could ever have gotten published in the first place. Things get doubled or tripled if you have people in your life that question why you write or make you feel like crap because you don’t have “a real job.”
After much wallowing, hiding in reading "comfort books" and pretending that I’d get to writing the next day, eventually I had to stop hiding. So, I opened my story and got back to work. Unfortunately I’d ended with a sex scene. Nothing says sexy like depression. *rolls eyes* And that’s when the self-doubt and self-hatred started. Writing the sex scene was painful and I’m still not done with it. Nothing about it screamed emotional or enticing. I had to stop before I sabotaged myself, but I still had to write. So, I put away that story, for now, to try a palate cleanser, to write something that wasn’t contracted and something that wasn’t paranormal (which the other story was). It wasn’t perfect, if an editor saw it there would be lots of knuckle wrapping and tsk, tsk, tsking, but in the end I’d written something, anything and it was pretty good. I had accomplished something.
Recovering from all the pain, heartache, self-doubt, frustration, writer’s block, and writer’s fear will take time, and baby steps. But in the end I am a writer and damn it, this is what I’m meant to do. Even if it is painful, it’s my job and I love it even if it can be a pain in the ass at times. Also, I know that I’ll make it through this patch because I’m surrounded by awesome people. One more thing: I’m stubborn.
For more information about Selena’s latest release:
Their passion may be the death of them…
Werewolf Chief of Police Torger, is running into walls while tracking the Draven’s Crossing serial killer. No matter what he tries to do, he can’t find the clues needed to stop the terror that stalks the streets of his city. Things aren’t helped by his attraction to the dragon shifter and Draven City News Reporter, Isadora Jones. With political pressure and bodies mounting, can he get through all these distractions and find the truth before it’s too late?
Reporter Isadora Jones wants to help with the investigation into the serial killer but Torger refuses to let her. She decides to do it on her own, but her world goes upside down when the killer sets his sights on her. Under Torger’s protection, they start to put the pieces together but will it be too late for them?
Things go from bad to worse when another killer appears. Draven’s Crossing just got a whole lot more dangerous.
Buy Links:
Purple Sword Publications:
Barnes and Noble


  1. Excellent post Selena! Very true for everybody. Actually, even as a new author I'm struggling to get those words done everyday. I'm fighting to discover that delicate balance between writing and everything else. It's always so easy to procrastinate. Somebody liked the first book, but will they like a second or a third? Do I have another story to tell?

    Good luck and congrats on your latest release!

    1. Oh so true. I hear you loud and clear, Anne.

  2. An excellent post. I'm just recently coming out of something like this myself. I could have written this, actually. Halfway through a book, the doubt demon got me. I burnt out and hit that wall. Every word was like pulling teeth and it lasted for months. I finally decided one day that I had to stop sabotaging myself and just write. I decided to heck with what was "right" or whether or not it would ever get published, or even whether or not anybody would even like it, and just let myself write the stupid book. I even sent myself an email that said, "enjoy the process." I had to give myself permission to write crap and enjoy it and forget whether or not it was sell-able.

    I finally finished that book and yup, sending it to my critique partners has my nails bitten to the quick. I don't look forward to the day I actually have to send it to my agent. lol But it's DONE, and dang it, I'm proud of that simple fact.

    Congrats on getting back on the horse! And congrats on your release.

    1. Woo hoo, Joanne! That's the spirit. It's wonderful to be on the other side of a trial.

  3. I know the feeling Anne, every book you wonder will this flop, will readers get, will reviewers get it? It's so difficult, but this is the life we live in.

    Thank you, Joanne, I do need to get to that but it's always difficult to give yourself permission to just write and to hell with it.

    1. Very true, Se. Hugs! I have loved being your friend from the first day we met. You are a joy to know, and I'm glad to see you are not allowing yourself to quit. The world would be a sadder place without you and your books in it.

  4. Thank you for your post, Selena. As you mention, writing is solitary. I'm in this slump right now, and it's SO helpful to know that I'm not alone and that it will get better. Kind of like a twisted AA? Anyway, I'm glad to see that you've made it past, and I'm pumped to know that soon, I'll be over my own as well.

  5. I needed to read this post. I was actually praying about this very thing. I worked day and night to get my last book in and it has been over two weeks since I even opened my next story. I started to think maybe this meant I wasn't suppose to be a writer after all. After reading this I think I am suffering from burnout as well. It's taken me longer than I thought to recover. I hope I get my passion back soon. I do realize this, I'm not
    happy not writing either. There is a low level of anxiety that only goes away after you've written your pages. Thanks for this post. I'm glad you got your mojo back. It gives me hope.

  6. Ayla you will totally recover and KC take your time, give yourself a rest, heck, have some chocolate, read some books and then take your time wading back in. Easier said then done right? lol. But as I've been told in yoga, "Be gentle with yourself.".


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