I’m in a bit of a rut. Or maybe it’s a plateau. Whatever it is, I’m stuck in place, spinning my wheels and not producing much of anything.
I’m stuck on some aspect of four different stories. I’m overwhelmed by the revising I need to do on Sword and Knife so I thought, ok, I’ll work on something else for a while. And that worked for revising and submitting a draft of Devil, a short story. But now I’m stuck again. I went back to Nyx with the hope that being away from it for six months or so would help me figure out what’s wrong with it. And maybe I have, but I still don’t know how to fix it. So I skipped to another short story, about vampires. And remembered it has no plot, as well as a host of other problems. I gave it a plot, but now I’m overwhelmed with worldbuilding. So I turned to a newer idea I had a couple of months ago, nicknamed Nightwalker. And I’m thrashing around with that too.
It hasn’t been that long since I wrote something from scratch. Just November, in fact. But it’s like I’ve forgotten how to build a story from the bottom up. And it’s driving me crazy.
This is one of those times I have to remind myself that I’m writing because I like it, not because I expect it to bring me fame and fortune. I don’t even want fame, though I wouldn’t mind the fortune. But sometimes I’m disappointed when it seems like I haven’t gained any ground, like this newest story is just as hard to write as the last.
I have to slow down, take a deep breath, and remind myself that I’m learning, and it’s ok if I don’t learn each new skill at the same rate. All stories are different and they all take different skills to write. So I’m in a phase right now where I’m learning a lot. It’s not that I’m stagnating, it’s that I’m working away at the problems in the back of my head and thrashing them out on a computer screen.
Instead of expecting perfection or even readability with each new project, I need to slow down, breathe, and just write.
I know this, and yet I resent that I have to chant those words like a mantra every time I hit a new plateau.
Breathe. Write. Breathe.