As luck would have it, this is the first year since I began keeping this blog when Hallowe’en has fallen on a Friday, my usual day for posting updates. So today’s title is a tip of the hat to the holiday, even though I’m far beyond the age when I do more than stand at the door and pour candy into the bags held by eager trick-or-treaters.
Alas, that title is also a far too apt reference to the state of my writing life these days. Gremlins and goblins torment my poor Swan Princess at every turn, making progress slower than the proverbial molasses right when I was hoping that changes to my work life might leave me with more free time to write.
The source of my troubles is not writers’ block or even simple procrastination, although finding the right story for this sixth novel has proven more of a challenge than the other five combined (well, except for The Not Exactly Scarlet Pimpernel, but that was a different problem—I had the main plot in three weeks, but setting up the right frame took forever). No, I know more or less what I want to write and how my characters should grow. The problem is literally finding time to spend on fiction at all. And the reason for that harks back to the situation I described in early August.
You see, I had decided not to continue freelancing for the company where I had worked for twenty years, but then the new owners convinced me to change my mind, at least in part. Meanwhile, I had accepted two book manuscripts from different publishers. One was delayed, the other arrived early, the company about to close its doors wanted the current projects finished so it could settle its books, and my main job entered its quarterly frenzy mode associated with getting the latest issue to press on time—in short, I hit a traffic jam. As a result, I’ve been working eight hours a day, six days a week. Sundays go to writing the weekly blog post and, if it’s a New Books in Historical Fiction week, preparing draft questions and finding a free hour to host the interview itself.
So I anticipate that the next few weeks will be hectic, with short posts and few (or no) chapters written on the next book. But I hope the ideas are percolating somewhere in the back of my brain, so that by the time the skies clear in mid-November I will have a fully formed story ready to flow onto the virtual page. Because I miss my characters and the world they inhabit, as well as the satisfaction that fiction writing brings. So take the candy, gremlins and goblins, and leave my Kolychevs alone!
Thanks to Shutterstock for its free picture of the week, no. 220614172.