Looking at the infrequency of my posts here and on Facebook, it’s probably no surprise that I’ve been going through a bit of a creative crisis the last six months. After finishing writing ‘The Mature Man’s Guide to Surviving Change’ last spring, I kind of crashed. There were a number of factors at play. My day job suddenly required a lot more of my attention, and after five years publishing I felt I was at a crossroads. I lost the joy. The days when I’d ask myself “Why am I doing this?” became more and more frequent. With publishers closing, readers not wanting to pay for quality work, a genre that seems to churn out hundreds of titles a month and from which I felt increasingly separated, spending what little free time I had writing seemed pointless when I could be doing so many other things.
But this is what I think separates writers who write out of love from writers who write to get rich—we can’t stop. Characters, stories are part of us, and we’re lost when they go silent. At least I know I am. Even in the face of futility, we persevere.
So it’s only recently, as in the last couple of weeks, that I’ve begun writing again. I dusted off the story I began last summer and am slowly pounding away at it. It feels a bit like coming home, but at the same time, I’m wary. Things have changed, or I have changed. Some weeks I’ve only managed two thousand words, and if I have a taxing day at work, I don’t feel guilty about vegging on the couch rather than sitting at the keyboard. I’m happy saying it’ll be done when it’s done. For now I’m going back to where I started: writing for me, at my pace, without worrying about sales, or competition, or where I fit in the genre.
I can’t believe it’s December. This whole year, and particularly the last half of it, has flown by. Real life has, for the time being, supplanted my fledgling writing career. But it’s December, and that means one thing: the Dreamspinner Holiday Advent Calendar. Back in 2011 when I first subscribed to this story-a-day-for-the-month-of-December, I thought it was a fantastic idea. New authors to discover, little morsels of joy each day. It was actually the catalyst that got me writing again after many years and gave me the courage to submit my own story. In December 2012, my Christmas novella, Inseparable, made the cut and became part of the anthology.
Now, five years later, The Mature Man’s Guide to Surviving Change is part of the collection. This short novella is about two friends in their fifties who have to readjust when their friendship becomes something more. Joel is a man-child who has never had a serious relationship, but secretly always longed for his friend Dale’s husband Perry. After Dale’s untimely death, he stepped in to help Perry cope and now that Perry is ready to date again, Joel is not sure if he should step up or not.
I always feel that holiday stories need to tug at your heartstrings; while this one is not sad, it is definitely poignant but with a sweet ending.
I’ve just realized, to my shame, how long it’s been since my last post. I wish I knew where the time went, I wish I was more organized, I wish I was more productive. So many wishes. But life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans they say.
It’s been a struggle these last few months to feel creative and believe in happy endings. Whether it’s the global political climate and unending rounds of depressing news, or the fact that my day job requires all consuming focus at the moment, I have been feeling well… empty. This is more than writers block. My characters just aren’t talking. It’s happened before and will no doubt happen again, but it still feels at times like a part of me is missing. While others may be turning to romance and happy endings for comfort in these trying times, all I can do is gorge on psychological thrillers and horror movies where people are nasty to one another. That’s not conducive to writing romance.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, I promise. I’m not waving the white flag and giving up yet. I am plugging away it fits and starts at a new novel, and my Dreamspinner Christmas novella “The Mature Man’s Guide to Surviving Change” will soon be here. You can buy the entire story-a-day advent calendar at a discount until the end of October through Dreamspinner Press, or individual titles go on sale December 1. More on this story soon.