Writing Cycles

Happy 2018! I know a lot of you have had a tough year for various reasons. Here’s hoping that the new year will treat you, and the world in general, a million times better.

Personally, I think the best word for my 2017 was “hopeful”‘…

In May I wrote here about how I had beaten my months-long writer’s block. Points 4 and 5 were about two flash fiction pieces I’d written. Several months later, both of those pieces sold–my first sales to markets outside of our co-op publishing venture here at Turtleduck Press. Score!

I started a cycle: keep an eye on upcoming themed calls for submission (anthologies and the like), use the themes as inspiration, write a story, submit just before deadline, repeat. It worked really well for generating stories (though somewhat less well for selling them), and for a while I was on a roll.

In September I decided to finally see a health professional about wrist pain I’d been struggling with on and off for years. (Don’t shoot me! I kept thinking that I’d be fine if only I could do more exercise on my own, or find the right stretches…or if I did see someone, they might tell me to STOP WRITING.) I now have a diagnosis and exercises I would never have thought of on my own. Things aren’t at 100% yet, and they may never be–I’m still working on the right combination and frequency–but they are much better.

At the same time, I decided that if I ever did need to STOP WRITING because of my wrists, I would have to find another way. It was time to stop being afraid of the possibility and start figuring out what to do about it. So I bought dictation software (Dragon–which works really well for drafting, somewhat less well for editing, but that’s manageable). I taught myself to use it by starting a new and longer story…which worked so well that I sold the story in mere weeks.

And, just like after City of Hope and Ruin came out, I hit a dry spell and haven’t written anything since.

Here’s where I remind myself, as I said in that blog post linked above, that my writing happens in cycles and that’s okay. That I don’t need to write any particular number of words in a month, or a year, to call myself a writer or an author–I can publish at my own pace and that’s okay too. That December is always a wash no matter how I try to simplify the holidays (plus I worked three days last week). That I’ve been recharging my creativity this month by decorating the house in new ways and accidentally starting to learn the guitar. That the writing will come back in its own time and there will be words in 2018.

Here’s to another year. Here’s to starting again and again and again. Here’s to all of us.


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