I’m coming up on one year since I published Portrait of a Girl Running and its sequel, Portrait of a Protégé. And last year at this time, I also received the reversioning rights to my debut novel, Uncharted: Story for a Shipwright. This was only months after publishing my second novel, Spilled Coffee. That was a lot of publishing in a short period of time! And on the heels of all that, I dove into my fifth novel, Blind Stitches and published it this past July. Yikes! That’s five novels in a little over a year—no wonder I feel story weary, which explains my recent silence on this blog. In fact, I haven’t been online much at all since the beginning of August, and I have to say, it has been very good for me. Especially for my stress levels.
It may be hard for a non-writer to understand the kind of pressure a storyteller feels, not only from the voices of all those characters who want resolution to their conflicts, but from those voices (real or imagined) that insist a novelist must continue to produce or they’ll lose their audience. And that sicky-sweet voice that says, “It doesn’t matter what you write as long as you’re writing! Write for yourself! Write for fun—you remember what that is, right?” when the contrapuntal voice is saying, “Oh please, there’s no possible way you could ever write without analyzing every word, every sentence, every plot twist and character profile. Writing for fun is like losing your virginity—you can never get it back!”
So, that’s where I’m at … sort of. I don’t have a story and characters wrestling in my head and it feels good—like relief … like I can breathe. I’m finding it so much easier to focus on other things that are, quite simply, more important to me than writing. Not that I won’t start some project when something compelling strikes me (especially in the dead of winter), but nothing has at this point. If I do get a creative surge in the form of a story, you may not hear about it until after I decide what to do with it. As an experiment, I’d kind of like to try writing for fun again—just to see if I can actually do it!