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December 12, 2014

Writing Droughts and Other Meteorological Phenomena

This has been a weird year, writing-wise. I got a couple of stories down like gangbusters in the beginning of the year. One of those stories, He's Just Knot That Into You, is coming out next year with Dreamspinner Press, and I'm really excited. It's my werewolf story that will have at least two more stories to follow.

After finishing that story in the spring, however, I've fallen into the pit of a massive writing drought. Like the ongoing three-year drought in California, my word well has been bone dry. It's sad. It's discouraging. I see friends who are finishing stories left and right, and I'm super excited for them. But then I look at myself and ask, "Why can't I get started?"

It all started when my poor Nico-kitteh died in June. I haven't written more than a couple thousand words since then. The initial writer's block isn't unexpected--I was pretty depressed and down in the dumps, no matter how much his cancer meant I should have anticipated his passing. After a certain point in time, though, I started to wonder what's normal?  As one month turned into three, then five, I found myself questioning why it was taking me so long to "get back on that horse," so to speak.

As month six passed recently, I realized something: there is no normal. Everyone grieves in different ways and on different timelines. And, with writing, you can't force it. Because if you do, it'll only be insincere.

Sure, I'm a pecker. (Not that kind!) =) I hunt for and peck out every single phrase when I'm writing. It's never a flowing explosion of words; rather, each sentence is carefully considered before even landing on the screen. However, to get in that head space of creation, I have to be in the mood to visit those places.

And, unfortunately, I haven't been anywhere close lately.

That's okay, though. I'm coming to realize droughts just happen, and I can only hope that, one day, the urge to create through words will be there.

On a lighter note, I've been creating through crafts this season. I doubt it's a coincidence I start to crochet my fingers off the second the temperature gets even remotely nippy. So now I'm crocheting tons and really enjoying myself. I've made hats for friends' children, slippers for my mom, a whole army of cute little amigurumi octopi (one of which an author friend commissioned me to make for her daughter), and a dear friend even commissioned me to make a pair of boot cuffs for her to give as a gift.

Crocheting has been fun and therapeutic. It fills me with a sense of accomplishment when I see the finished product--I've turned a ball of yarn into something wearable! And cute! And my friends appreciate the handmade gifts I've sent around the country.

So, while I still am flailing around in my empty well of words, I've at least found another pool in which I can swim and express myself creatively. Crocheting might not get me any closer to writing the sequel to #HJKTIY or the short story follow up (of which I have those couple thousand words from the past six months), but at least it's something that truly makes me happy, which is a place for which I've been searching for quite some time.

On that note, anyone interested in commissioning an octopus? ;)

Wishing everyone a warm and wonderful holiday season!


  1. Hi Nico! I know that feeling. I went through the same thing this year. After trying and failing to finish a particularly difficult story, I finally decided that I needed a break, and stopped writing for several months. I wasn't even sure I wanted to ever write again. Of course I came round eventually, but I think it was really good for myself to let go of that pressure and just let myself be me for a little while. So I think you've got the right idea. Don't push it, and the words will come to you eventually. ^-^
    Also, those baby octopi are ADORABLE! You're so talented!

    1. J.K., your words are an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your own experience. You give me hope. I think I have to worry less about the number of words and just focus on my own feelings. Once I feel right/word-interested again, then it'll be time.

      And thanks! The baby octopi are fun. They're taking over my craft basket! ^__^

  2. Oh Nico, what are we gonna do with you? They say that your biggest critic should be yourself but you are being far too hard and over thinking things. You've had a shit time but remember the good moments and I bet there were plenty of those! Writing should be an outlet, an enjoyable outlet. The muse is there, just hiding below the surface for the right moment, which is obviously not yet. When the time is right for you, it will return with a vengeance and crocheting will take second or even third place. Hang in there and enjoy the moment, they are so fleeting fragile and gone so quick! xx

    1. Oh Lorraine, I don't knooooow. :) I definitely am overthinking things - that's kind of my m.o. all the time, heh. I hope the muse hits, but in the meanwhile, I'll enjoy crafting. That said, I can't wait for writing to be "an enjoyable outlet" again. You put it perfectly in describing it thus!

    2. I will look forward to reading the "enjoyable outlet" when it happens.