Writing Slumps

on April 15, 2013 in Misc

So maybe it’s time to ‘fess up…

Do you ever get so discouraged with writing you just want to chuck it all and take up something more sensible?  Like, say… hunting wild boar with a knife.

(Seriously, someone told me there’s a former University of Colorado football player who does that back home in Hawaii.  Talk about a fearless manly man.)

You know what I mean.  Give up writing stories.  Writing a blog.  Using words to express yourself any which way ’cause sometimes stringing just a few words together seems to take far too much effort.   When taking a vow of silence like some hermit monk sounds way too tempting.

Now as y’all know, I told you back at the beginning of the year that this is my last year of writing.  But lately I haven’t even been able to make myself edit and polish my final two manuscripts.   On better days I know deep down that I love these two literary babies so much that I will soon follow through and see them in print.   Then, and only then, will I take a permanent literary rest…

Unless of course the sky falls in and one or all of my books become bestsellers and my faith is renewed and my bank account is stuffed to the gills and…

Hey, we all have our silly literary fantasies.  What’s yours?

On a more practical note, I know I’ll get my writing chops back before this summer when I can take a couple short much needed vacations.  They’ll only be cheapie road trips around the mountains and such, but that’s fine ’cause I’ll get to test out my new fancy schmancy tent.  See, REI was having a super sale so I got a nice one way cheap (the price is now back up there).  I plan to camp, for the first time in an embarrassingly long time, because I really can’t afford a posh hotel this year because my dentist has decided that a bunch of my spending money is gonna be spent on him doing a bunch of stuff to my teeth.

Sigh. Why do our bodies cost so damn much to maintain? Even when we have insurance?

I hope none of you have any painful expenses coming your way.  Or frustration with writing.  But odds are, you do.  I feel for you.

20 Responses to “Writing Slumps”

  1. Sorry your dentist is going to suck you dry.
    Hope your camping experience isn’t like the one in the picture.
    Know where you’re coming from with the writing. May we both figure it out this year.

  2. Hart Johnson says:

    I hear you. I’m going through a slump myself. Part of it is writing insecurity–that royalty statement with the ‘returns’–OUCH! And part of it is the CRUNCH for getting my ducks in a row for a release (the marketing is NOT the fun part). But it is also life. I have a son trying very hard to become a juvenile delinquent. Our brand new car got hit last week. My day job is way demanding right now. And this A to Z thing is just… a lot.

    Erm… that is the long version of the book I was supposed to send you is still way in the middle of the editing process… grrrrr. I don’t feel like editing because I pretty much feel like I suck and have plenty of other things, so just haven’t.

  3. Helena says:

    Hart – You have so much more going on with your family, of course you don’t have editing done yet! I’m SO sorry your new car (it’s always the new ones) got banged up. And I guess you don’t want to give your son E for Effort right now, considering where that effort is going.

    Still, Hart, you’re a hotshot PUBLISHED AUTHOR by a TRADITIONAL publisher, which is more than I can say, and may staggering success and movie options and other fun stuff come your way soon. Oh, and you so don’t suck at writing and editing, as your professional track record shows.

  4. Helena says:

    Alex – the bear in the picture is a grizzly, which we don’t have in Colorado. But brown bears (which we do) are not to be messed with either.

    You’re so successful and smart as a writer, I’m sure you’ll make the right decision. And you have so many fans you could “retire” from writing but come back to it whenever you like.

  5. Helena, writing is hard. And I really mean that. We spend hours of time alone, we don’t know if anyone is going to read the things that we write, and then after publishing it, we get dinged with bad reviews.

    If I had something in my life that was funner to do, I would. But at this stage I don’t. I live in an apartment so I don’t have a yard to take care of (hopefully that will change). Finding a house that I like is proving to be extremely difficult as people are wanting insane amounts for their real estate that isn’t worth that in my opinion. I’m seeing homes sit on the market for months as stubborn sellers hope someone will come along and offer them $300,000 for their home when I would have given them $250K a year earlier. It’s ridiculous. So yeah, I continue to rent. And don’t even get me started on the houses that are $250K. Those dumps are worth only $180K or so but they sit on the market too because obviously other people agree with me. I really want to slap sellers, because I feel they’re trying to shank people (they have “starry” eyes that the real estate market is coming back). Whatever.

    Anyway, if I had other activities that I liked to do aside from writing, I totally would do them. So I suggest you look at what you like to do and why you do it and make a decision.

    Also, if you like writing, maybe you could co-author with someone. That would alleviate half the burden, no?

  6. Helena says:

    Michael – Thank you for saying writing is hard and it’s a lonely profession too. Don’t know if I could work with a co-author, but if I meet someone who could help with me marketing which really exhausts me and which I’m terrible at, I might go with that partner.

    Since I rent but I’d love a yard and a dog and stuff, I feel for your housing frustration. I think a big problem is that for decades (and I mean decades) real estate was hyped as get-rich-quick schemes and people were told that the best investment they could make was in a house. I can’t tell you how many women (for some reason not men so much) kept telling me that I should buy a house NOW because they were only going to get more expensive and the prices would never come down. I knew this was impossible, and sure enough the real estate bubble burst. Trouble is, there are a whole lotta people out there who bought overpriced houses and they don’t want to get out of them without at least getting all their money back, and the greedier ones are still convinced they can make a healthy profit. There’s a lovely old mansion a block from where I live that’s been on the market for years because the owner won’t come down on his $1.4 million asking price. Dumbass.

    Personally, I don’t think the real estate market will come back for years, excepting a few neighborhoods and locations. So sellers who think they’ll make a killing are only hurting themselves. But don’t worry, Michael dear, because sooner or later a house that’s right for you at the right price will come on the market, especially since buyers are no longer panicking and jumping on everything being offered. You’re smart to hold out until you’re happy.

  7. Nas says:

    Hi Helen,

    Hugs. I totally know what you are saying and what you mean. The difference is I don’t have the guts to say it or share it. But, yes, I’m also going through a slump.

  8. Helena says:

    Nas – These slumps are so painful, aren’t they? But like Mark Twain said, “I can live for a week on a compliment.” All it takes is for one single human being to read my book, give it a compliment, and I’m flying. So may lots of happy flying days be coming your way very soon!

  9. Ciara Knight says:

    Sometimes I do feel like I’m hunting wild boar with a knife. It is a crazy game we’ve chosen to play. I hope you have a great camping trip.

  10. I haven’t been camping in forever. Don’t feed the bears :)

    I’m looking forward to getting back to writing next month. I hope to catch up and maintain speed. Please wish me incredible luck in that regard.

  11. Helena says:

    Carol – See, that bear in the photo was really pissed ’cause I forgot to bring the donuts…

    Seriously, one of my friends went camping with a bunch of other people, one of whom brought donuts. Of course a bear showed up…

  12. Helena says:

    Ciara – With your boys plus a crazy busy writing career? Hunting wild boar must be a cinch for you.

  13. With regard to marketing, recently I heard that Reddit started accepting ads. Reddit is probably the most well-trafficked website on the web (I check out the atheist forums all the time), and they have a lot of intelligent users who like to read. For $40, you could get an ad on Reddit, and I’d bet dollars to doughnuts sales would be steady and you’d make that money back. It’s the only place I’d consider advertising as everything else just seems to be a dud. So that’s the only advice I have toward marketing. I hope that helps (I have yet to buy a Reddit ad but am thinking strongly of doing so).

  14. Helena says:

    Michael — If it’s cheap then I’ll definitely check out their advertising. An ad based on my bookmark should be easy to come up with.

    Thank you, darlin’, for this. I also think Oculus and Slipstream would be naturals to advertise, especially with their eye-catching covers.

  15. I’m strongly considering it. I (at this point) almost want to give up on marketing. It just seems to me to be a waste of money. I’m fine being an unknown author lol. At least a few hundred people are reading my books. I have no delusions of grandeur.

  16. Helena says:

    Michael – Marketing really doesn’t come naturally to a lot of writers, does it? It certainly doesn’t for me. But you’re not unknown, Darling, and if a “few hundred” people are reading your books, then that’s really pretty good.

    Me, I’ve always had delusions of grandeur. It’s the reality that sucks.

  17. Old Kitty says:

    Lovely Helena!! You so need a break and camping in the great outdoors in a new tent sounds like just the ticket! You hang on in there now!! Take care

  18. Helena says:

    Old Kitty – Right now the great outdoors is still too chilly here, but come summer it’ll be lovely!

  19. Rickie B says:

    That wild boar hunter was Jordan Dizon. Great football linebacker. Not recruited much because he was too small and too slow. Excuse Me!! Too small and too slow?!! When you are hunting an animal that can tear you apart – and then eat you – and you are using a knife-only, that’s exactly what I would want in a linebacker.
    When you do go camping, don’t forget to take your anti-mountain lion and bear defense weaponry. Too bad that can’t include a flame thrower – it’s dual purpose item, i.e. defense and toasting marshmallows. OK, I’m just kidding. :-) Hope the state can allow open fires this year. So much more fun!

  20. Helena says:

    Rickie — I’m bringing wasp spray and pepper spray against the bears/humans/generally dangerous creatures. Or I can just bring a box of donuts, through it as far away from me as possible, and watch the bear chase after it. Bears love donuts.