>If at first you don’t succeed…

>Well, we all know the ending to that sage advice, don’t we? Try. Try again. And it’s painfully true in the writing-publishing world.

Coming off of the regional conference, I was exhausted, both mentally and physically. I could barely function for days. Slowly, I emerged from the fog. Two things were uppermost on my mind: writing and cleaning house. The latter meant sorting through and packing away most things to do with the 2007 Moonlight & Magnolias Conference. The cleaning I did out of necessity. I had company coming.

The writing? Not so much. I’d barely looked at any of my WIP’s for the 6 weeks preceding M&M. There was quite literally, no time left over, and realistically, no creative well to draw from. Getting back into the habit of writing was one of the most frustrating and difficult things I’ve encountered in a while.

First, I’ll remind you that I’m not a plotter. At long as I know what’s a chapter or so ahead, I’m usually good. I can continue writing, mentally brainstorming as I go. But I’d been away from the WIP too long. I didn’t feel connected to my characters or the story anymore. That’s trouble. Big trouble.

There are several tricks that usually work to get my imagination awake and tried them all.

Re-read a few chapters/scenes before the point where I needed to continue writing. My brain may as well have been a lump of cold oatmeal.

Re-read the entire manuscript, making small tweaks here and there. Not a total loss, but as far as getting me writing again? The tweaks added 1 page. I think maybe I need to refill the well, so I watch my favorite shows and read. Creative push?

I was taking a month-long online class with Margie Lawson and the homework helped me tweak a few areas to make them stronger. Yay! I actually added 2 pages this time. But afterward?

At this point, I’m at 12 days past the conference. There’s a sense of panic setting in. What if I can’t get the creative flow back? I have goals to meet. I sit at the computer for hours every day, trying to edit…a few more pages. Better, but…
Still no real creativity flowing.

I try for 3 more days, determined to sit at that keyboard until I can write. Frustration sets in. I take TV and movie breaks, not just romance movies, but fun things. I read for fun. My efforts result in 5 more hard-won pages, but there’s still no real spark of excitement over writing. I do, however, sense something – maybe confidence – returning.

Unfortunately, I have wrap-up things to do for the conference and believe it or not, several things that must be done to keep the ball rolling on the 2008 M&M conference.

I set HUF aside and try to brainstorm my next book, based on an idea I loved. Better this time. Quick pages flow out for the beginning and I get the odd feeling that this book idea may be my best yet. My imagination starts to soar. Not on HUF, but ideas for new stories are surfacing. I write them down, some just a germ of an idea, others fairly well-formed plots with definite character personalities. I write them all down, saving them for later. The excitement pushes me to finish HUF, so I can get to these other projects and I brainstorm ways to go forward with it.

On one of the online groups I’m a member of, someone posts a request for an accountability partner. Setting goals and pushing to meet them. Yes! I love that stuff. It’s just what I need. Me, me!! Pick me!

She does – bless you, Gail! An entire month has gone by and November starts. I set goals and push.


And slowly, I do write, my first week better than any in the month of October. My second week slightly better than that one. And so far this month, just 17 days in, I have written more than twice what I did last month. I’ve finished HUF. Needs work. Tweaks, edits, whatever. But I wrote The End. And I’m not being picky about where I write. Wherever the inspiration strikes, I go with it. So what if I now have 6 manuscripts in progress? Some of them are languishing, publisher’s current calls for submission putting them on the back burner for the time being.

The important thing is, I pushed through the gray haze enveloping my brain. I’m writing again. I AM a writer, and that’s what I do.

About Annie Rayburn/Carol Burnside

As an author of sizzling romance, Annie takes contemporary settings. and incorporates twists with sci-fi and paranormal elements.
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