I’m supposed to summit a piece for writer’s group on Tuesday but I can’t think of a single thing to write. Poetry? A short story? A brief essay? Do I go through some of my old writing and clean something up? That kind of feels like cheating, since I’ve haven’t written anything in so long. I really think I should write something new. For the life of me, I can’t think of anything to write.
Now that I’ve written this rambling thing, I’m no longer staring at a blank screen, so that’s something, I guess. Still, this is by no means a submission. It’s hardly ten pages of brilliant prose.
After days, weeks, even months of editing for others, I’m finally to a point where I can write something for myself, but now I don’t have anything to write. I feel like I have nowhere to go. I opened my Work in Progress folder this morning and I have four active WIPs that I could work on:
- Nightbound is the fourth novel in the Spellbringers series. It’s more than halfway finished, I think, but I’m not sure about the direction it has taken. I could open that up again, though I feel like I need to read through it to refresh my memory of it.
- The Protector (Abe’s Story II) is a prequel in the Spellbringers series. A lot of it is fleshed out, but needs a total rewrite. I’d have to re-read The Warrior and really immerse myself in the Spellbringers world, which I’m not sure I’m in the mood right now, especially since I’m about to dive into about 3 different editing projects for 3 different clients.
- Harvest Ball Queen (not committed to the name) is about halfway through. It’s a paranormal novella for teens. I’m not 100% on the direction of this one. Well, actually, I’m cool with the direction, but I have some details to work out. I could submit some pages from this. It’s old writing, but I’d like to finish this. I think it’s pretty good, if I do say so myself.
- The Mommy Blogger is a contemporary novel that started as a NaNoWriMo novel over 2 years ago. I think it has some potential, but I never really found my stride with it because I kept starting and stopping. I would like to get back to this at some point when I can commit some real time to it.
So, I think that gets to the heart of what’s holding me back from finishing these four main projects. (Don’t even get me started on the dozens of other novels I’ve started and quit over the many years.) I start projects and lose momentum. Sometimes it’s depression that makes me stop. Sometimes I get stuck on a plot point and give up. Sometimes I prioritize other things like work, kids, life, editing projects, and just let my own writing fall by the wayside. I guess I need to make a real decision about where I’m going with my writing. Am I going to make time for it and get started once again? Or am I going to be a hobbyist, only picking it up when I have a chance between all the other things I have to do? In life, you can’t have it all and you have to choose what’s important. That’s where I’m at right now.
While I might not be any closer to figuring out what I’m going to submit for Tuesday, this brief post does set me in the right direction. First, I need to make a choice. If I’m going to be a hobbyist, there’s no point in opening up my WIP novels to submit; why bother? As a hobbyist, I should write a brief, new piece (perhaps a short poem) to submit. If I’m going to take my writing seriously, though, I need to figure out how I’m going to reprioritize my time so that I am writing nearly every day and actually completing these novels and finishing new writing projects instead of leaving them languishing in a folder.
To all my writer friends out there, how many of you have a difficult time balancing your writing time with your other responsibilties? Is it hard to prioritize writing, and as a consequence, do you see yourself as more of a hobbyist than as the fulltime writer you’d like to be? How have you overcome your challenges?