This last fall, I considered quitting writing. Before you panic, no, I don’t mean quitting forever. But I seriously considered at least a year-long hiatus. I felt burned out, for many different reasons (mostly personal). Perhaps the biggest problem was I had lost my love for writing. I felt like I was forcing words I couldn’t feel anymore. It’s truly a terrible thing when the creative past time you love becomes something you hate. The book that almost led me to this conclusion was none other than Bound Beauty. Remember, that sequel to Scarred I meant to publish back on December 21st? Here’s what happened:
Once Upon a Time…
I dreamed books. I still do, really. Late at night, my mind tends to come alive when it should be shutting down. But with the fading of the day’s tasklists, the creative part of my brain takes over. Every night, I lay in bed brainstorming sequels to stories I’ve already written, or imagining tales I haven’t brought to life. As you might have guessed, this also means I dream books. I’ve woken from sleep with an entire novel still fresh in my head (they don’t always make sense in the light of day lol). Sometimes, I’m almost asleep when the solution to a problem in my current WIP appears. Then it’s out of bed and searching for a pen and paper to jot the idea down before it disappears.
Like any art form, you should always be writing or creating, no matter if the tools of your trade are in your hands.
Once upon a time, I dreamed up Vynasha’s story. I wrote a short treatment of an epic, sort-of Gothic Beauty and the Beast retelling. I wanted it to read like a “truth behind the legend” tale. At the time, I envisioned one great big stand-alone novel. What I ended up with was three full-length novels plus a novella. I hardly expected the series to be a prequel tie-in to what you now know as Silver Hollow.
I rewrote and re-edited Craving back in 2015, and immediately set to writing a sequel. While writing Scarred I was so in love with the story, I imagined writing a fourth and even fifth book in this series. There was and still is so much I could tell. I had fully intended to jump right into Bound, the third in series. That’s when I ran into a creative wall. It didn’t go like I had planned and I truly felt like what I was working on didn’t matter. I can’t say exactly why I despaired like this. But it made every following attempt to restart Bound fail. Until this summer.
I revised what chapters I already had and as I worked, ideas bloomed fresh. I decided to treat the third Wylder Tales book almost like a stand-alone, something you could read even if you weren’t familiar with Craving or Scarred. Or, in the case of my very patient readers, in case you had forgotten past series points. It was working for the most part until I ran into another snag in plans. My editor disappeared. I figure she was extra busy. I’ve never had issues with her before, but it put me in a lurch.
The lovely editors I ended up working with had to reschedule with me for late December… which was when I had planned to publish. Besides this, I was in the middle of a book tour for Bound. Because of what happened, I didn’t have ARCs for my bloggers. I don’t think I can adequately express the anxiety I felt over all of this. Again, in hindsight, it felt so silly to worry like this. But I hate letting people down, and felt like I was doing exactly that with Bound.
“I can see clearly now the rain is gone,” of course.
The third book would have gone quite differently had I written it a year or two ago. And by waiting and really nailing down the finer points it came out beautifully.
What did I learn from all of this? We make plans, and life throws us curve balls. Secondly, not to put on too many hats. Despite what marketers encourage, sometimes less is really more. We are all bombarded on a daily basis with information, after all. And I figure, if I’m not spread so thin, I’ll be able to do what I do best: write.
I am in the process of publishing Bound Beauty, after many agonizing melodramatic inner crisis 😉 and I am proud of the book. This series isn’t perfect. Since I wrote (and rewrote) the trilogy over a span of six years, re-reading them has been like revisiting my past selves. I have grown so much as an author since I published Vynasha. Maybe someday I’ll have the whole series updated and made into an awesome box set. But not yet.
This year, I plan on publishing the sequel to Silver Hollow. If you’ve read both series so far, you’ll be in for a fun Borderlands Easter Egg at the end of Bound. I can’t promise I’ll blog too regularly here, besides attempting to maintin my “weekly” writerly witterings. Since I’ve taken a break from serious writing, I won’t have any Tuesday Teasers to offer for a while. My goal for 2019 is to better prioritize. Instead of trying to wear so many hats, I want to focus on my family life, then work and art and then writing. Social media, and everything else that comes from maintaining an active online presence, will take a back seat for me this year.
For those of you who also felt like you failed at something this past year, I hope you take heart. I hope you learn from your mistakes and above all, that you rediscover your love for creating.
Meanwhile, I plan on dreaming more bookish dreams.