I’m going to say up front that I don’t believe in writer’s block as some mystical, unexplainable force that just sets upon guileless authors, holding their words captive until it is appeased via blood or tears, or maybe both.
No. Writer’s block is just a name for a bunch of other common, everyday shit. Procrastination. Boredom. Insecurity.
And that’s the one that got me. Fear. Fear that I would wrap up Hidden, and my readers, those lovely, amazing, gorgeous people who have followed Molly and company through five books and two novellas (at the time the series ends) will be left shaking their heads.
Fear that I’ll let them down.
Fear that I won’t do these characters justice.
When it comes down to it, fear that I’m just goddamned not good enough to pull it off the way I want to.
I had an outline. And then another outline. And another. Notes scrawled in notebooks, on Post-Its. I screwed around, writing anything but Nether, not because I don’t want to, not because I don’t love writing these characters more than anything I’ve ever written.
But because I totally psyched myself out. This book is the LAST ONE. It must be PERFECT. It must be the jaw-dropping, mind-blowing, “holy shit!” climax that I want it to be.
Uh. No wonder writing was impossible. Way to set the bar impossibly high, eh?
So I made myself take a few steps back. I thought about what my readers love about these books, and, maybe more importantly, I made myself remember what it is that I love about them:
- Endless action
- Strong personalities
- Emotional insanity
- Love and sexytimes
- Heartbreak and loss
- Molly, Nain, Brennan, etc.
That’s what I love about the series. Those are the things that have brought the series to just under half a million words (I’m guessing) by the time Nether is published.
People say things like “I needed to get back to my roots” when they’re talking about creativity, and I found that I had to do the same thing so I could move forward with Nether. I know that my readers’ expectations for the book are pretty high. Believe me when I say that mine are even higher. But nothing is going to get written if I freeze under expectations.
I write because it’s fun. When I feel myself getting crazy, numb with fear and insecurity, I need to try to remind myself of that: this should be fun. At its best, it is so much fun it almost feels criminal.
The good news is: writing Nether is fun again, and it’s moving forward nicely. Next time I feel myself slipping into the mindset I’ve had the last couple of weeks, I’ll try to remember to tell myself to have fun. That’s what it’s all about.