Routines and Priorities

charmed 017It’s the end of June. It’s been three months since I began this blog and started taking the steps out of my comfort zone.

In March, I created this website and began submitting short pieces, alongside sending my novel excerpts out to competitions. I also signed up to attend a convention.

In April, I joined a local writing group and began editing in earnest. I also began to plot out some deadlines for myself.

In May, I found the flow of switching between my projects, and took a step back to really plot, or in the case of editing, re-plot. I lost my place for a week or so, and came back in to a restless stage. I stopped working on Shadow Sight and picked up Seven Sisters.

During June, I’ve begun posting snippets of my Work in Progress, participating in the Scribophile community to get feedback and read other’s work, and commenting on other writer’s blogs. As I type this, I’m printing out twenty-one pages of scenes because I can’t face staring at the screen anymore.

Sorry, trees. I kept it single-spaced.

But I’ve hit a snag. I’ve re-kindled my passion for a particular story, and although I’m now facing some blocks in the plot, I can’t seem to focus on any other novel. I’m torn.

I have things to be working on, but my mind can’t focus and I can’t see the paths my characters may take. So I sit and stare at the page, awaiting some place to begin.

Since I begun writing in 2009, I haven’t really taken a break. As NaNoWriMo ends, I’ve begun planning or writing another book to fill in the time. I began writing Resilience in Spring of 2010, Seven Sisters in the Summer, and “Silver” in Spring, 2011. The following Summer I re-wrote a NaNoWriMo attempt and then began Planes Shifter in January 2012. This is alongside the NaNoWriMo novels in November 09, 10, 11, and 12.

But now I’m not a university student enjoying a weekend without essays or eight weeks of summer holidays. I work full time, have limited annual leave, and amidst the weekends spent driving 140 miles to see my other half,  family visits, flat cleaning, shopping (I’ve been here six months, and haven’t yet got a bed base), or seeing friends, I don’t actually have the mental energy I’m used to.

I’m still finding time to write, plot and plan. The time and ability to write is not a problem.

The issue is that I have five drafts I could be working on. Do you know what it feels like to do something but know you’d prefer to be doing something else? Times that by four.

I’ve reached a point where I want to work on all of them. At the same time. My heart is currently pulling me towards Seven Sisters. But I know it will take a good year or two to get the story to work in the way I envisage. Whereas, a finished draft of Shadow Sight could be finished in the next two months – in time for the World Fantasy Convention.

Even though I’m loving Shadow Sight, I sit down and have to fight the urge to look at Seven Sisters or Planes Shifter instead. I also can’t wait to edit my sequel, but I want to make sure the plot is solid in the first book; else any changes to book 1 will affect book 2.

So today, I’m reading. I’ve decided to stop, break, maybe plan and plot or develop characters – but not to actually write. Maybe a few days in the worlds without the pressure of “progress” will get me back into their lives.

How do you break out of mental blocks?

5 responses to “Routines and Priorities

  1. Pingback: Writing Dates | Adventures in Writing·

  2. It sounds like you really need some time out to rest and recharge, so it’s good to read that this is what you are doing.

    Maybe you should work on Shadow Sight, but allow yourself a specific time to look at either Seven Sister or Planes Shifters – like an hour a week, or one weekend afternoon. Working on Shadow Sight, knowing that you already have time planned in for your other projects may then help you focus more on the novel at hand.

    I think if you really are sat working on one thing, but you’re desperate to work on something else instead – well, what you are trying to work on won’t really get your full attention so your efforts may be diminished and it won’t get done to a standard you are happy with. Allow yourself the time to enjoy working on those things that you desire to and this might help your block dissapate slightly.

    From reading your blog, and just the post above, you don’t strike me as the type to be comfortable working on one thing at once – you need challanges and creativity to keep you going. I always find that formulating a new plan helps me get through the mental blocks – after a rest, of course.

    Good luck with it – let us know how you get on.
    Take Care, Cat x

    • Hi Cat, thanks for the comment.
      I want to rest, but I’m still restless and itching to keep working on it.

      I’ve ended up re-focusing on Planes Shifters while I plan the ending of Shadow Sight.

      Yes, I love formulating plans, schedules and new deadlines for myself.
      Thanks for your luck and support.

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