We may not put ourselves in the same category as Robert Frost, but a modern writer’s life seems loaded with work these days. We Gothic writers require a certain atmosphere when we write, so just keeping all the candles and incense lit can turn into an exhausting chore. Not to mention feeding the cats, bats, newts, and spiders.
Then we have the requisite writerly chores like promoting and social media and book signings and author conferences, —and most importantly—writing the next bestseller. It all has to be done at the same time, which means while you’re cleaning the writing cave and promoting your books, you are also editing, revising, writing—and rinse and repeat! Publishing early and often is the best way to keep the sales moving so the cycle is never-ending.
It’s easy to feel like you are caught in a washing machine set on perpetual spin.
An author friend likes to joke about the common misconception readers have about a writer’s life. “They think we spend the afternoon on our yachts, sipping champagne and hobnobbing with celebrities. Then we duck below decks to type out an eighty-thousand word novel before dinner.”
If that were reality, more people would be authors. As it is, the general populace will never write anything beyond a high school essay. About 81% of U.S. citizens report they want to write a book—that’s around 200 million people. But fewer than 1 million books are published every year so most of those wannabees either can’t, won’t, or don’t write books. (Based on some of the “great ideas for a book” some of my acquaintances regale me with, it is a blessing most of them never see the light of day.) A good number probably make a stab at it, see what kind of soul-sucking, mind-warping endeavor it is, and back slowly toward the door. And that’s fine. Writing, like any profession, isn’t for everyone.
And somewhere along the way, creativity shrivels like a witch’s blackened heart (present company excepted, of course.) Writer’s block is a real thing that sometimes has its roots in the constant pressure to be not only a writer but an editor, a designer, a marketing expert, a financial guru, an entrepreneur, a mom, a wife—not to mention whatever you do for a dayjob. The secret to dissolving this kind of writer’s block is to do nothing.
I think it pays to remember what we do is unique—maybe be even divine. With that in mind, time spent just letting that energy flow is a worthwhile enterprise. Sit on the porch. Star at the stars. Mutter to yourself. Daydream. Close your eyes. Take a nap. Replenish your creative juices with some hard-core nature walks and extreme rose-smelling.
Doing nothing—when you are a writer-- is always doing something.
And—not for nothin’—I’m doing something starting July 13. My new book, Zoraida Grey andWitchmageddon page for more info.
BTW—you can preorder Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen right this very minute HERE.