22 September 2021

My Brain is Bankrupt!

Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash
I finished Son of the Siren in August. Since then I made it through developmental edits and completed a third draft of the book with revisions, and sent that draft off to beta readers who will report back to me by October 6th. I know I did this very quickly, but I feel confident in my book, especially after the feedback I got from my developmental editor, so I thought it safe to move on to the beta reading stage. I’m really proud of where the book is at and don’t anticipate it needing any more major overhauls—just little bits here and there. And probably a great deal of copyediting because I seem to go overboard with my commas.

In the meantime, I thought to myself, what do I do during all of this waiting? I’ve continued to read YA (I’m on The Taking of Jake Livingston right now) and even squeezed in my friend’s book mid-project. But also, I wanted to see if I could try my hand at coming up with ideas for new books.

At one point, I did have ideas. I had a book idea for a Hades-Persephone story, a Beauty and the Beast adaptation, a book about demons and grimoires, a book inspired by the French Revolution, and of course, the prequel to The Name and the Key (this was before I decided The Name and the Key needed its massive overhaul). Then, when writing Son of the Siren, elements from those project ideas kind of leaked into it, so I can’t reuse those little bits and pieces. I’m at a loss with how to proceed. They are little kernels with no real plots attached to them.

During the last quarter of writing Son of the Siren, I did write a full chapter to The Step and the Walk, which is The Name and the Key’s prequel. It came out of nowhere. It combined elements of the demon/grimoire book idea with the world and characters of The Name and the Key. And then my brain switched gears back to finishing Son of the Siren.

I realized that maybe I should follow the path I laid with The Step and the Walk and try to come up with some kind of plot. I filled my idea notebook with scribbles, and then hit a brick wall. Then I switched gears and decided to try my hand at plotting another book idea, the Beauty and the Beast adaptation. My graduate thesis, The Name and the Key, was supposed to be that adaptation, but it morphed into another monster altogether and didn’t resemble the fairy tale anymore. All the while I kept thinking I’ve got a Beauty and the Beast story within me somewhere…so I whipped out my idea notebook again and jotted out some plot points and characters. I got as far as the Beast’s part of the story, then blanked on Beauty’s part of it.

My friends advised me to take a break from all of this planning, and since my brain keeps blanking out on my ideas, everyone is probably right.

It’s tough getting mixed advice. I read books about self-publishing that advised writers not to sit on their hands and work on the next book right away; then I’ve read counter-advice that says “don’t start projects” during the period after you finish your book.

Then I got advice just to write anything, letting the words flow out freestyle, and maybe a spark could come from that. At the moment, it seems blogging is how I’m choosing to write. I knocked out the #52 writing cards post in one sitting, and today I’m trying for catharsis, to share how nervous I am to not be working on a project—whether it’s Son of the Siren or something else.

I am an antsy, anxious person by nature, and this is all one great big test for me, to see if I can be comfortable with just being and not doing. So far, I’m failing at it. Please wish me luck as I try to relax and let things run their own course. Thank you!

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