Competition for Attention

Well, I am blocked.  Or…at least one story is blocked.  I’m trying to finish the manuscript for The Accidental Witness so that I can pass it off to my beta reader who is ever so patiently waiting for it.  It’s a bit of a departure for me as it involves law enforcement agencies, a money laundering trail, and the Russian mob.  I have a really great contact who is answering my technical and logistical questions regarding all things Bratva (think Cosa Nostra but in Russian); however, I must ask the questions through “a handler”.  The research process has become very James Bond/Godfather-esque….and should prove to be an intriguing interview discussion….should I ever reach the point of getting interviewed by someone when I finally release this story.

I have the first half written and know how it ends, but right now, my brain is just not firing on all four cylinders regarding getting from the middle to the end.  To further complicate my writer’s block on this, NaNoWriMo is coming up.  (That’s National Novel Writing Month for you newbies.)  October is spent planning your NaNo project, then November begins the monstrous insanity of writing 50,000 words in 30 days.  It’s stressful; it’s crazy; it’s frustrating; it’s AWESOME.  I have had the idea for this year’s NaNo project for a number of months now, and my NaNo characters are already trying to talk to me.  And on top of THAT, my NaNo project has somehow morphed into a SERIES, AND I’m co-leader this year for our regional group.  YAY!  So all things NaNo are just filling my mind and imagination… thereby putting The Accidental Witness on the backburner, which is certainly not what I WANT to do.  I WANT to finish it.

I had a friend suggest this weekend that I just set it aside until after NaNo.  I see the point in that… I do.  And truthfully, it may indeed be for the best at this point in time.  That being said, I must confess that I am an extremely stubborn soul, and I want to dig in there and “just do it”.

Perhaps sometime in the next two weeks, the muses will descend again, and inspiration will strike.  I’m still hoping for that.  If not…this WIP shall be put aside until after NaNo.  Fellow writing peeps—how do you guys deal with blocked stories?  Or multiple story ideas competing for imaginative attention?  If you have advice or suggestions, I’ll be over here—the one staring at the computer screen, silently begging words to magically appear.


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The beginning of the journey

So.  I am a writer.

I write novels….  I am a novelist….


Okay.  So I’ve spent my entire life reading. Voraciously reading.  Dickens—Shakespeare—Austen—Hawthorne—paperback romances (hundreds of paperback romances).  I love reading. I loved it so much I got a degree in literature.  I have a piece of paper that declares I am a readaholic.  Losing yourself in a world somewhere with interesting characters and unending plot twists—heaven.  However, I learned when I was young that I loved something even more than reading…WRITING!  ( I remember my first piece too.  It was a short story I wrote about a haunted house. Very spooky.  I loved it.)

Now, growing up and having to choose a way to make a living, I defaulted to that of “teacher”.  Why?  I loved to read, and I loved to write (when everyone else around me hated it and thought I was weird for loving it so much).  At the time, all I could think was “I’m not an author. I’d never get published”.  What’s the old saying?  Oh yeah… those that can’t do, teach.  So I decided to take my love of literature to the classroom.  I was spurred on by all those great movies about these fabulous teachers (most of whom taught English lit…think about that for a minute….) that inspired their students to excel (Dead Poet’s Society, anyone?  RIP Robin Williams).

I did end up teaching at a local community college as an adjunct for about a decade.  I had some great students.  I also had a few that I seriously wanted to hurt with a frying pan.  Fast-forward a bit.  I’m an ex-teacher in her mid-30s, divorced, and looking at the ever-closing gap to 40 wondering what the hell I’ve done with my life up to this point.  Nothing I had imagined for myself, let me assure you.  I was still reading.  Voraciously reading.  I had also picked my writing back up.  I had started a couple manuscripts, but never finished one.

Last November, I did something I always secretly hoped (but doubted) I’d do.  One of those “maybe one day I’ll….”, back of the mind, think about when you’re drunk and wonder why in hell haven’t I done that yet? ideas.  I wrote a novel.  In 30 days.  Over 51 thousand words.  How?  I got plugged into an awesome local writing group that does NaNoWriMo.  The support of a close-knit group that was just as “nerdy” as me was a match-spark to my fire.  I had a story I loved with characters that I thought were funny and sweet and just a bit sassy.  Throw in a foreign country and a little conflict… recipe for a great read.  But… what to do with it?

For a long time, writers who self-published were considered “lesser” on the author hierarchy.  Popular consensus was they couldn’t cut it with the Big Trade publishers.  Well, with the boom in epublishing, we unknown and novice writers can now take the bull by the horns ourselves in the here and now.  So, that’s the route I’ve chosen.  I choose to be an indie author, solely responsible for the outcome, with total control of my product.  I realize this is a bit of a risk and without a doubt a TON of work.  But, since I have a “day job” to keep me not homeless and not hungry… why not?

Since November, I’ve edited, done beta-reading, dabbled with cover art, scheduled a release date, and started another story.  I am now in the “author platform building” phase of this thing.   (More on that in a future post!)  There’s so much that I’ve learned since November.  There’s so much I still don’t know!  This is my journey.  I hope you’ll join me for the ride.