the Author

State of the Author, July 2022 edition

Posted in writing.

I hadn’t real­ized that it’s been almost three months since I posted here T_T.

Things on the home­front have been hectic. There are no disas­ters or tragedies, but I had copy-edits, a book review column, and my brother and sister visiting (sister from LA, and she’s still here).

I did get copy-edits back on time, I did get the book review column done — and then spent FIVE DAYS trying to get the column from iCloud to gmail. This… did not work. My text mails were fine, my 64k .rtf column attach­ment was not. I have no idea why; I don’t know if it’s the name of the attach­ment, etc — but it’s the same naming conven­tion I’ve always used.

I tend to be a bit over-focused when some­thing is going wrong on the tech side.

So I have gotten far less work done in July than I had planned to get done, which… always makes me some­what anxious, and it’s an anxiety that grows as the work gets farther and father behind.

Some writers do not need to write daily. Some do very well in inter­mit­tent bursts. Some can write 10k words in a day, for 2 days on a weekend. I…am not one of these writers. Reminding people that there is no right way to finish a book, no right way to write, I am one of those writers who does far better with daily (or 5 days a week) writing. Even the gap of a few days can set me back, because it feels as if the book recedes if I don’t somehow pin it in place on the inside of my head — which I can only do by writing.

So there are disrup­tions. Some are other­wise happy family disrup­tions; some are copy-edits (which shouldn’t count as a disrup­tion, but, well, writer brain). And because I’ve lost days, when I sit down to write again on the first day, it takes way longer than normal to find the voice of the book again, to hear it prop­erly (yes, this is a metaphor). And because it takes longer when there’s too much going on, I don’t get enough done and then I feel even less like a writer.

Writer despair is not a logical thing; it’s certainly not prac­tical.

June was also disrup­tion heavy, but for far less happy reasons. The polit­ical shadow of June took a while to pull out from under, and to be honest, it’s still looming in the vicinity.

This is the frus­trating thing about being a writer. It’s not that I don’t have the time (well, actu­ally, in July it’s been fraught), but that I don’t have the mental band­width; it’s caught in despair and shadow and grim­ness, rather than in book. I cannot just sit down and write – I do make myself sit down, regard­less. But the fact that I can’t get past the gloom and the stress of the news, etc., makes me feel like, hmmm, a bit of a failure.

People who write — or who are involved in any creative endeavor — prob­ably know this one well. Just stop whining and do the work. Except that’s not the way creative endeavors work much of the time. I can work at the book­store; I can do house­work or cooking or etc., at home — but those don’t require the same emotional pres­ence that writing does.

Anyway, someone in comments was worried because I hadn’t posted in a bit — and I apol­o­gize for that. I am still here, everyone is in reason­able health, I still have a roof over my head, etc. etc. And regard­less of diffi­culty and disrup­tion, I am still working.

Sorry for the radio silence T_T

11 Responses to State of the Author, July 2022 edition

  1. Kathleen says:

    Keep on keeping on and stay out of the heat

  2. Lisa says:

    I’m so glad every­thing at home is stable. I under­stand about getting knocked out of writer mode. Lately, I’ve had to make myself only look at the news, very briefly, once per week in order to keep going. I hope you find what works better for you. The great writing in all your books takes that mental space, and it’s worth it to your readers!

  3. angryleila says:

    This is so relat­able. Finding the voice of a work after absence is very diffi­cult. Hope you find a way to unwind from the news cycle.

  4. michelle says:

    @Lisa: I have days where the writing flows, but it’s diffi­cult with constant disrup­tions, and then I get annoyed at myself, which is point­less and helps no one =/

  5. Anjali says:

    All I can say about your books of Elantra is… the dialogue makes me smile and takes me away from the daily grind. I simply love getting lost in that world. Have read the series more than a dozen times and I only found the series in 2018.
    Hope you can find your emotional pres­ence and happy space.

  6. We love you and are ready to read when you get the writing done. I am sure it is not an easy process.

  7. Joyce says:

    So glad to know you are as well as can be expected given the times. We miss your voice even if it is coming from a frantic place. Just know that your readers truly care and wish you clear skies and smooth sailing. I’m counting days until the end of November.

  8. Dame Trouble says:

    Your books are worth the wait. Just make sure you and yours are safe and healthy. The rest is icing for us.

  9. Chelsey says:

    Glad to hear from you, sending good writing vibes for the future!

  10. michelle says:

    @Chelsey: I think I have finally got the right begin­ning for the Magic School book, so I will take those good vibes and run with them, and hope I’m not running into yet another wall …

  11. Helen Copping says:

    I get your ups and downs and I apol­o­gise as I don’t want to put pres­sure on you but do you think you might do another severn book in future I have now got them both in audible too and thor­oughly enjoying them also do you know why not all your cast in books are in audible it seems there are the first few then it jumps to middle?
    I look forward to your new books
    Keep well and up beat — Helen x

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