Life gets busy. I don’t know how many times I’ve put on my to do list (because I’m an obsessive to-do-lister), write today, blog, outline chapters and for some reason or another, it just doesn’t happen. It goes a little something like this: While sipping your coffee before work, you develop big plans to write sometime during the day. The little stirrings of excitement have already started to churn inside you but when your lunch break finally rolls around, you have to make 328 phone calls to find someone to go get your dog who’s dug out once again from underneath the fence and is currently making a feast out of the neighbors trash. Used toilet paper and cottage cheese containers are everywhere. You feel the tranquility of solitude and the thrill of creativity slipping through your fingers. Or maybe it’s just your cell phone which you’ve lost your grip on and has landed on the ground, cracking the screen for the third time this year. You don’t let this get you down though. You have plans to use that sliver of precious free time between making dinner and putting the kids to bed when they are entranced by video games or building Stealth Bombers out of Legos or playing who can punch the hardest or whatever it is they do in the basement, to write. But on the way home, a tire goes flat which puts you home an hour and a half late and by the time dinner (which has greatly reduced in quality from your original plans) is served, it’s already time to put the kids to bed and now you’re just plain too tired. After weeks of this, suddenly you realize it’s been a month and a half since you’ve cracked open that new YA novel you started and you feel as foreign around your own characters as you would on a nude beach with a calculus text book wearing a boa and a leopard print leotard. (I don’t know. Those were the most foreign-to-me things I could think of on the spot.) You try re-reading the MS to get back into it, but you just don’t feel the excitement you did before and the next thing you know, you’re thinking of abandoning the whole project.
Time is scarce, and if you’re like me, you don’t want to waste it writing something you’re not going to eventually query. I even have trouble blogging! We’ve heard from many authors that stepping away from a project is sometimes the best thing to do to gain perspective but I’m here to say that stepping away can be dangerous too, especially if it’s too early in your project. To an author, writing is therapeutic. It is life giving and when we go too long without doing it, bad things can happen. Anxiety, frustration and yes, sometimes even a little depression can overtake us. It’s important to find time to write, just a little, even when time is as rare as an albino peacock or a bismuth crystal (yeah, if you didn’t know, they’re both pretty rare.)
So what about you? How do you get that excitement back for an abandoned project. Pray tell!