Lately, I’ve been floundering in a wave of false starts on book three, limping along with a story idea that I think can work, but…I can’t seem to get it off the ground.
I had originally started a completely different story, one that came to me more easily than this one, but, after a discussion with my agent, that has been put to the back burner. Now, I’m trying to write something different, something that is more literary suspense than literary fiction or historic fiction. I have a basic idea of the story, but everything I write and then read over, sounds dumb, uninteresting, too predictable, and just plain blah.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’m writing it in the third person, versus first person, which is how I wrote the first two books. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t read suspense novels, although suspense is really a loose term that fits many different types of books. It’s not that I’m trying to write a crime or thriller type book, but I think the word suspense is messing with my head somewhat.
In addition, my running has been sidelined with plantar fasciitis. I tell people that’s a fancy way of saying my heel hurts – pretty bad – so I’m literally limping around the house too.
Running has always been the way I’ve unlocked my brain when it comes to writing. When I have a story problem that needs to be resolved, I can go on a run and most days, figure out a way to get around it – at least enough to move things forward. Now, I can’t run. I’ve tried to spend time on my bike, thinking I’d perhaps get a similar endorphin rush while pedaling along, but biking takes more concentration. When coming up on a stop sign while running, you can hear a car coming, (I don’t listen to music, instead I prefer to hear nature, the sound of my own breath, and my feet hitting pavement), and I’m usually able to adjust my speed so I can just cruise on through. Not so on a bike. On a bike your speed is at least doubled, and you can’t hear anything with the wind whistling past your ears. So, it requires a significant slow down, and then the build up of speed again.
Then, there’s where I ride…for convenience, I stick to my neighborhood block, which means taking the turns to the next street…and or course you have to slow down in order to take the corners or…you skid, you risk pissing off the driver who didn’t see you, or you wipe-out. And to get your heart pumping requires pedaling fast enough to keep your speed up, and it seems every time I look down, my speed has drifted down to the granny Googenheimer pace.
Maybe it’s me, but all this seems to require just a bit too much concentration to allow for those good old random, free flowing thoughts that typically come with running.
So. There it is. My writing seems to be only limping along, as am I. I’ve been trying to figure out ways to break out of this stagnant place I’ve landed in. I’ve always kept stacks of books by my desk, as if I could soak up all those talented and wonderful stories and somehow unlock their secrets, figure out their way of getting past what appears to be repeated dead ends.
What has you feeling like you’re not making any progress, and what are you doing about it?