Growing Pains and Roadworks on Hell’s Highway

When I first sat down to write Highway to Hell, the words flowed, they came so thick and fast that at times I could not keep up. Sure, it went through many draft opening chapters, but never did I sit there with nothing to say. I just knew it.

The same was true when I sat down to write Part II, I knew the story, I knew where I wanted it to go, and I got it there. I had to delete a few thousand words here and there to keep it on track, but I got it there without too many difficulties.

Now however, I am trying to write the third and final installment and I just cannot get it going. I have been starting at the screen for the last 30 minutes and while I have written a few words, they do not make sense, not really. I am trying to force it, and it is not ready to be forced.

There are a number of factors going on inside my head that I am sure can be attributed to the situation.

  • My day job is really kicking my ass. Sure I have some more responsibility, and it is getting more interesting, but  I am a writer at the end of the day, and this is keeping me from doing that. Now, I have a family to feed, and while there has been no direct increase in my pay, I am hoping this hard work will get me noticed enough so that when I have my review and ask for more money, I can back it up with something.
  • Being so busy at work has left me with very little free time, and my brain is just melting.
  • The sales of the first Highway book, while they have not been confirmed to me in any official capacity, I know they have been more than poor. The second, which will hopefully be released later this month, will depend largely on the success of the first, and so also has me on edge.
  • I write horror, yet this series seems to be heading more and more down the fantasy route, and while I am ok with that, it is a genre I know little about in terms of writing it, and I want to make sure I nail it.
  • Before, I could sit down and write without any hesitation, but now, I find myself distracted, my mind cannot settle, it runs around like a naughty school boy refusing to listen to its parents.

I could add a few more items to the list, but that would defeat the point. I am supposed to have this novel ready by December…. that means I really need to start writing it. Yet I have other ideas in my head that I really want to start writing, but if I do, I will never get Highway finished. This is the last book in the series, I need to tie everything together and ensure that the whole ‘point’ is there and plain enough for everyone to see.

I have never struggled with writing before. It is a new sensation, and I do not like it. It is not writer’s block, far from it, it would almost be writers un-block. I have too much running through my mind.

A change is needed. I am going to adjust my working schedule, get back to working in the office, and a few things from home in the evening… if needed. No more 60 hour weeks, or phone calls at 4am and 11pm the same day… unless it is needed. But then again, I say this, but I have clients, and I want to do a good job for them. I will at least start taking my lunch breaks again. 30 minutes to just sit down, put on some music and write a little, or blog, or just relax and close my eyes.

What I really need, is a plan. Planning my writing has never really been something I am good at, and I never stick to the ones I do create, but thinking back as I write this, I have planned out every novel I have written. Could it be that this is what I need? A plan that I more likely than not will not following, but still something to spark the imagination?

Time is another factor, with my job, my commute and family life, I have very little free time to sit down and write. Undisturbed time is at an even larger premium, what with my kids regularly being awake around 5am, 5.30 at the latest, my morning session, which used to be my best time, has been reduced to anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes. Everything is written in short spurts, and just as I am finding my rhythm, getting back into the characters, I am forced to break away and return to the real work.

My kids come first, so I won’t sit and write all day when they are around. I may grab a few sentences here and there, but a real writing session… no. It is not possible, and just not an option.

Whew, rant / meltdown over. All of these ‘issues’ fine to mention, but there is one underlying cause that I have not mentioned, and will not mention… not in this post at least. I need to wrap my head around it more, and then come back to evaluate.

Well, my writing window for the day is now closed, hopefully I can find tine to plan a little, but it is now 5.45am, and I have  to put the writing aside… maybe tomorrow will be more productive.


8 thoughts on “Growing Pains and Roadworks on Hell’s Highway

  1. Hang in there. The writing life is sometimes a hard life. At least you have your work out there and not in a chest somewhere. I don’t know if this applies to you or if you can do it, but a suggestion: when I notice the writing flowing poorly, I try to take a day off, after that I’m usually refreshed and ready to go.

    1. Thanks David. I have taken a few days off, and I am ready to go. I agree that rest is sometimes needed to freshen the mind. I think I just need to get back into character, plot out a little high level structure and let the imagination run wild.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. It is appreciated.

  2. I’m having a similar problem with my second book. It’s become work instead of play because there is another story I want to get my teeth into. But I can’t because this one must be finished. So. We soldier on, eh? -hugs-

  3. I totally relate! When I tried working full time on top of the 3 kids, my writing suffered. I am part time now, and I know that is not an option for you, but it sounds like you need to figure out how to get a solid hour in every day. I wish you luck.

  4. You will do fine. Sometimes it can be like squeezing a watermelon seed. But I have confidence that your work will be fantastic and that the final installment will be terrific.

    1. Thanks Todd. A bit part of it is that I don’t want to let you and Denise down. I know Highway hasn’t done that great in terms of sales, so I really want to make sure I bring the story home.

  5. Sorry to hear about your current difficulty in writing, Alex. I’m still suffering through my own season of the very same thing. Though there were reasons that I could identify, I’m sure there are plenty that I’m not even aware of. Slowly, my life is returning to normal, and with that, a bit of the old writing fire is beginning to return. I know I’ll get there eventually, but until then, it sure is frustrating.

    Best of luck to you as you make your way through one of the inevitable downs of the writing life.

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