Rolling On After A Crisis Of The Keyboard …by Susan Lute

This week I got a tattoo. I went on a two-week vacation and when I got home, I got a tattoo on my leg where I can see it. It’s a Steam punk girl with Typewriter.dragon. Sassy. With attitude. Refreshed, feeling a little full of myself, with a clear mind, the next thing I did was have a crisis of creativity. Actually it was less a crisis and more…why am I writing this? Hero’s Don’t Lie is coming along great. The characters are fleshing out, the plot is interesting, I like the story…but why am I writing it?

I’m preparing to give a workshop in August, and one of the questions I’m asking the participants to think about is why they are writing their current work-in-progress. There are, of course, a lot reasons to write a story – to continue a series, try something fresh, to push your writing chops to the next level, to revisit characters or a town you’re grown familiar with and have enjoyed, perhaps because you’re excited to write the next book. But here’s the thing. If you are writing a story because you think it’s expected of you, because you might feel guilty because you are “abandoning” the series (in my case) before it is completed, then you have to think very seriously about WHY you’re writing that particular story.

A good friend told me – ’cause when I go through these things, which is quite often you’ve noticed, I spill my guts. She told me, “you’re not really abandoning the project, you’re just setting it aside for awhile.” Always wanting to be honest with myself at least, I gave her sage advice considerable thought, and the real truth is, I don’t want to write contemporary romance any more. I won’t say I would NEVER write it again, because in this business you never say never, but I want to write something else. The Dragonkind Chronicles, Book Two is waiting, a little impatiently now, I might add, but even more exciting, I ran across a scrap of a note the other day on which I’d written a story idea, and pow!, I can’t stop thinking about how to make it into a story. It requires a lot of research, so I’m starting there. And it’s urban fantasy, which will push at my chops.

At the fork in the road, I turned right instead of left. Again all is right in my world. But there’s one more thing I want to say. There are so many changes going on in publishing these days, it’s like being in a speedboat racing down a rushing, white-water river without oars or wearing a safety belt. And it’s all happening on the net. Probably writers have always been busy at their craft, but not working ten hours a day at the “business” of publishing and eking out maybe two at the actual writing of the book. It’s okay to get out of the boat and take a step back. Maintain a web presence, but don’t let the business take over your writing time. And don’t let it take away the reason you’re writing your story, the passion behind discovering the characters, how they will survive the situations you throw at them, and the unveiling of who they (and you) have become during their journey.

Until next time, happy, passionate writing.

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About Susan

Author, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer.

Posted on May 13, 2013, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. It’s so difficult to stay motivated, with everything happening so quickly. Family, responsibility, whole-house remodel. They all take away what little free time I have in the day to do anything 😦 But I think you’re right with the WHY question. Once I figure out that question, it will motivate me to keep going. Thanks, Susan!

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  2. Maggie Jaimeson

    You go, girl! This WHY question is exactly why I returned to my YA Fantasy series after letting it blow in the wind for three+ years. However, I have not abandoned my adult romance side either. Just put it aside, as you suggest above, for about a year while I worked on Chameleon books 1 and 2.

    The two genres ARE very different. The world building, culture definition, and magical or paranormal rules of a fantasy can take over your life leaving little else for another genre. However, I also know that once my first two books get out there in June (Yay!), I will need a break from fantasy-land. Whereas that complete immersion is often amazing, it can also be crazy-making in my day-to-day life with my family. I really have a hard time coming into the “real” world after a day of writing.

    So, I’ll stop and write an adult romance in that in-between time to ground me in the world that most of my family and friends inhabit. Getting that next adult romance out will then allow me to return to the all encompassing fantasy world once more.

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    • And I figured out WHY I will someday finish Bear’s story. I’m writing it because you don’t have to be fighting on the front lines, home or abroad, to be a hero. Taking care of those you love, giving them the best of yourself, makes you a hero, too. That’s the story I like to tell 🙂

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  3. Great advice for a Monday morning. I forget to ask that “why” question about so many things, but when I pause to refine why I do something, I feel a stronger purpose for my time and energy. I’ve got sticky notes full of motivational tips but now I’ve got a big WHY added. 😀

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