I stopped writing this year’s NaNoWriMo novel 10 thousand words in. And I’m not only putting that one on hiatus, I’m putting writing itself on indefinite hiatus. I’ll reassess things in the new year.
Truth be told, I’ve been struggling for a couple of years now. The amount I’ve produced has gone right down. The two novels I have had out in that time, Assumed Dead and Bring Me the Dead were both a slog to write. I took a few months off this year, hoping I could come back refreshed and work on something I already had outlined, for NaNoWriMo, which has usually served in reinvigorate me in the past. Not this time. Every word was agony.
Having had a long think about this, over the summer and since, I’m starting to understand what’s going on. There isn’t just one factor. There are two big ones and a couple of smaller ones.
Reason number one I’m calling the Seven Year Hitch.
If I look back at things I’ve been into, they seem to go in seven year cycle. After seven years of writing fanfic I was done with it and ready to move to the pro-fic. A TV show that runs for more than 7 years, even if I like it a lot for a while, will eventually fail to hold my attention. (I’m looking at you, The X-Files.) And guess what, I’d been writing erotic romance for around seven years a the point I started to feel I was just repeating myself and was losing interest.
The other big factor was that around the start of last year my ability to concentrate and focus for any length of time was suddenly shot to hell. It’s a common effect of perimenopause So it’s hard to write a novel when you can’t concentrate for long periods. Hell, it’s har to read one. Thank god for audiobooks, that’s all I can say. I’m trying to figure out a way to deal with this, or just to get through it, since by definition this is a temporary phase. I hope it passes soon. According to things I’ve read, once that’s all over all kinds of interesting things happen. Maybe I should blog about it in the mean time. Writer versus Menopause. If I can concentrate long enough to write a blog post a week…
Other things getting to me would be constant dramas in the genre. The general collapse of ebook sales thanks to factors like Kindle Unlimited subscription models, and the disadvantage real writers in placed in compared to the book farms and scammers taking over this and other genres with wallpaper books. These factors make writing a poor return on the investment of time. Which wouldn’t matter too much if it was fun and I was still enjoying it. But without that there’s little incentive.
So what now?
I have no pending new releases. I’ve got a release of a short coming in February, but otherwise, nothing. If I do start writing again, when I conquer the concentration problem, I’m pretty sure it won’t be erotic romance of any variety. I think I’m all done there and need new pastures. I may return to purely sci-fi, though I’m sure I will always have queer characters who might sometimes have romances. I’ll look at that more next year. Got to get some solid ideas first.
Alongside that I have to keep on getting through this “change of life” business. I’m also on a weight loss journey, having found the only program besides Atkins that has ever worked for me. Down 20lbs since September. With more free time, since I’m not writing, I can try to establish an exercise habit and try to get my reading mojo back.
I think I will start writing again eventually, because writing is what I always wanted to do and I wasted too long not doing it. Then I did write, a lot for the last fourteen years, from fanfic to pro. Maybe it’s only natural that I need to allow myself a break on this journey, to make a choice about which road to take next, rather than slogging on down a path I no longer want to be on.