Friday, October 12, 2007

Arthur/Penny: Writer's Block

In my old life, I frequently told people that I didn't believe in writer's block. Part of that was because I seldom wrote fiction. It's not like once you've got things outlined and your research done, an informational article writes itself, but you've got your roadmap, there's not much doubt on what you have to do. You also generally have a deadline, and if you're a professional, "writer's block" isn't much of an excuse. Does a computer programmer get to say "writer's block"? Does an accountant get to say "sorry, guys, I've had a hard time getting into math lately"? Does a carpenter get to say that he's having a hard time making the hammer work for him?

No, no, and no. In fact, I probably had to hold to a stricter schedule than some of them, because if I miss a deadline, I might never work for that editor again, and don't think that word wouldn't get around. They will insist you return your advance and use someone else to fill your space.

Writing a novel on spec, though? It's killing me. I've changed the killer something like three times because even though it makes sense in the outline, once I've started writing and given a character a voice, their planned actions don't seem to fit half the time. And don't even get me started on the characters you plan to kill but enjoy writing. It's not even that I start thinking of them as real people; that would be kindness of a sort. No, this is selfishness - writing character X is fun, and if I kill her, I won't be having as much fun any more.

It's spilled over into this blog, too - I can't turn my computer on without feeling like I should be working on the book. After all, if there's something really important about the Inn situation, I can just call Lyn and talk to her directly.

Drew's saying that the best advice is probably to just put the novel aside for a while and focus on the career that pays me. It's a very practical attitude, but I don't know if I can. He's negotiating with CalSports about what the contingencies in my contract would be if the NLL (National Lacrosse League, which plays indoors during the winter; not to be confused with Major League Lacrosse, which plays outside in the summer) and their players don't arrive at a contract and I don't have games to broadcast, and, honestly? I don't much care. I didn't really enjoy calling MLL games, and traveling to San Jose sounds even less exciting.

All right... Back to the book. This has been a nice distraction, but I really want the book.



Anonymous said...

Well keep us posted. You and Ashlyn got most of us hooked on this, and now were getting worried.

Anonymous said...

Well, good to know I was wrong... I hope.

But, yeah... keep us posted.