It used to be easy, but now it isn’t. Writing, that is. When I started writing the first draft of The Claiming Words, I punched out words on the computer, not caring about the rules of writing or anything else. I wrote what I wanted. I lived through the characters, let them consume me, and I thought that was how it should be. Sure, my family complained about my frequent emotional absences. Even though I was sitting in the living room surrounded by kids, animals, and noise, I wasn’t really there. I lived in my own world, a world where my characters had vibrant, interesting lives which sometimes seemed more real than my own.
My husband told me to slow down. He told me it took some people a year or more to write one novel. So, why was I trying to write four books in one year? It wasn’t a race, he said.
A year to write a novel, I wondered? How could that be? When reading the blogs of other authors, I couldn’t understand why they struggled to write, or why they had to force themselves to write a certain word count. Some authors claimed they had to force themselves to write one sentence. I felt sorry for them, but in a smug sort of way. Wow. How sad it must be to view writing as a chore.
And, then it happened to me. The ideas stopped and the words became impossible to find. I blogged about it, complained about it, theorized about it, but the words still wouldn’t come. And, then one day, the words came back, but in a trickle instead of a flood. Now, I have to make myself write every day, or at least every other day.
Today, I think I discovered the reason why. Yeah, I know; I’ve said that before. But, this time I really mean it. It isn’t writers block. For a while it was, but it isn’t any more. Then why isn’t it easy to write?
The answer is: BALANCE.
That’s right. I’ve found that elusive balance between fantasy and reality that I couldn’t seem to find during that first dream-like year of writing. You know: the year I alienated my entire family. The year I thought I was supposed to be at one with my characters. The year I wrote four books.
Now, there’s a line between me and my characters that wasn’t there before. I can write, but I have to get into the “zone” first. I’m not in the “zone” all the time anymore. In terms of writing, this is a bad thing. I’ve become one of those “it takes a year to write a novel” people. But, in terms of my family, work, and personal life, I guess it’s good. Maybe.
So, has anyone else experienced the strange phenomenon of so-called BALANCE? What do you do when the words won’t come easy anymore?