I have to talk about slumps today.
I am in a serious writing slump. Yes, I get into slumps. I think my reputation is that of the fast writer who can whip out a book in a couple weeks and never struggles with getting words on paper. But while I certainly can write quickly at times, there are other times that I stare at the screen wondering how I'll ever finish the book.
Right now I consider myself lucky if I can manage a 5-page chapter in a week. That's...not even a page a day. This is very far off my usual pace. It's frustrating, especially because it's not really the book's fault. I know what is supposed to happen in the next chapter. The block has nothing to do with the plot or characters, etc. I have things planned. I even know the book has merit and that I'm not "ruining it." I know it's not gone terribly off track and that the conflict is solid.
So what is it?
Honestly, it's a lot of lame excuses. It's feelings of doubt in myself as a writer. Not the book, but myself—like, even if it's good why would anyone read my stuff anyway? Yes, I still feel like that fairly often. Like I'm not special and there's not a place for me out there in Published Author Land. As I've said before, it's funny how some things don't change even after that book deal, and your opinion of yourself is one of those things.
And then there's the "My schedule is all messed up!" excuse that I've been milking all summer. My kids being home all day. My husband working evenings now. Summer movies. Sickness. Vacations. Have there been times I could fit in writing? Certainly. Have I used them? No. I've parked myself in front of the TV or computer games instead, and I know I have no one to blame but myself.
To add to this, I'm letting myself off the hook in general. I haven't set goals for this book. I haven't seen the need, since it's basically #4 in my queue, behind TRANSPARENT, SIDEKICK, and HOUSE OF IVY AND SORROW. Not like I have to get it done anytime soon, but it's funny how I actually become a very cranky writer when I don't have deadlines and goals to hit (I'm currently waiting at various stages with the other three). Here I should just be enjoying it and taking my time, and instead I am losing passion and doubting myself because it feels pointless, even when it isn't.
There's only one way to get out of a slump—you have to pick your lazy butt up and get to freaking work. Oh, how I wish there was an easier solution, one that involved more sitting on the couch eating dark chocolate raisins and watching anime. But there isn't.
Because a slump isn't like being stuck when writing. When you get stuck with a story it's often good to step back and think for a second. A slump is not that. A slump is of your own making, and the way back is self-discipline.
So I guess I'd better make myself a schedule, write out a love list, look over my notes, and get back into good habits.