In my last post, I pretty much bragged about how I kept writing in the face of rejection after rejection. After all, that's what a writer does - write. And yet, many writers struggle with disciplining themselves to do just that. One of the things I love about Twitter is seeing other writers push themselves and cheer each other on - announcing that they wrote 5,000 words today and getting virtual high-fives, reminding other writers to devote themselves to their work. Lately however, reading such tweets had became a shame-fest for me, because I'd done something I'd never done before.
I'd stopped writing.
Ever since I began my first novel in 2011, I haven't gone more than a few days without writing - EVER - which is how I managed to write three novels in three years while working full time and being a wife and mother. However, until this morning, I hadn't written a word on my WIP (work in progress) for ALMOST TWO MONTHS.
Last spring, I began working on my WIP - the sequel to THE HEARTLESS CITY - making it to 50,000 words in early August. But then - happily - I had to stop in order to revise and resubmit THE HEARTLESS CITY to Curiosity Quills. School started soon after (as most of you know, I'm a teacher), then rehearsals for the school musical (which I co-direct), and I began to use the excuses people use when they fall out of important habits they've worked very hard to develop: I have too much going on with school, I have to work on building an online presence, my co-director for the musical is gone because he just had his first child and I'm doing more work on my own. All of these things were true, but they were definitely excuses. What had happened to me is like what happens when you go swimming and then get out of the water and stay out for so long that you don't want to jump back in - you're warm and dry and the water suddenly looks cold and uncomfortable.
But the thing is, if you aren't writing, you aren't a writer. You're just someone who dreams about being a writer.
And just because I finally had an honest-to-god book deal didn't mean I could suddenly put on my lazy pants and waste time. The longer I went without writing, the more anxious, stressed, and even outright depressed I became, because I wasn't doing the thing that I know I was born to do, the thing that has always fulfilled me in ways that nothing else really can. So today I finally took a deep breath and jumped back into that water, and it was hard at first, but OMG...
It felt wonderful.
Besides, I'd left my heroine in a terrible situation!!! I had to help get her out!
Thankfully, I'm working on that now. :)