Lost in the Delta Quadrant

Woops, haven’t posted in three months. Why? Honestly, I couldn’t bear posting about yet more failings. 

Since my last post, I have:

-Had another meltdown and a forced reading break.

-Fiddled with another version of my latest WIP, then given up.

-Written 50,000 exploratory words of a new project (codename CF), which will all end up in the bin because I’ve changed my mind about the story again.

-Lost all enthusiasm and crashed. Again. 

I also read through all my old posts, and my god, I am a wreck. I rotate between finding a method, abandoning said method, finding an alternative, abandoning, telling myself not to go too hard, going too hard, crashing … On and on and on. Even I got bored reading it all. 

Some things are glaringly obvious: 

1: I need lots of time to write a book.

2: My process is a complete mess, requiring lots of exploratory time and false-starts. 

3: I am still refusing to accept either of the above.

Deep down, I still believe that I’m being a snowflake. Why can’t I sit down and write every day and just get on with it? Even though I tried that and it broke me (and brought zero publishing success), I still fundamentally believe that I’m giving myself excuses when I say I need time and room to explore. I’m riddled with guilt and shame, and it feels like every day I have to convince myself of my own worth.

What’s also so confusing is that many of my previous books–including The Night Mage–came out pretty smoothly. They didn’t need lots of time. They didn’t need lots of tossed-out words and false-starts. When writing them, I didn’t choke during the first draft. So is it the case that I simply need to wait until the Right Project drops into my head? Or is there something I can do to gently encourage the Muse? I have no idea. 

I’ve been here a million times before but am finding it impossible to break free. I’m now at the stage where I have to genuinely ask myself if I’m cut out for this gig. Eight weeks ago, during my last crash, I SWORE to myself not to return to writing until I was ready. I pledged that this time, I would take a real, proper break. Yet nine days later I was brainstorming an idea, and three days after that, I was writing again, drafting pretty much every day until–whap, I broke again. 

It’s like I’m an addict or something. I can’t help but try to write novels, but right now those novels don’t want to be written. The stories die so quickly, and I find myself back at square one. And despite all I tell myself, I feel so pressured to produce. I (stupidly) left my job so I could do this, so not only is money tight, I don’t have anything to occupy me when I’m not writing. But whenever I consider getting a part-time job, I feel like a coward and a quitter.  

What a fuckin’ hoot. 

I don’t see what choice I have but to wait for inspiration to strike. I know that goes against standard writing advice (‘a real writer doesn’t wait for the Muse!’), but I’ve tried the alternative and it clearly doesn’t work for me. 

So, I have to wait, and hope that somehow, someday, I’ll find my way back. 

star trek 1990s GIF