I’m one of those annoying authors who doesn’t believe in the concept of writer’s block.
Yes, sometimes I struggle to write.
Often, that’s the black dog hounding my tail. If it’s depression, it takes time to run its course. I sit around and read a lot of books—or if it’s really bad, I don’t read a lot of books.
Sometimes I struggle because there’s something wrong with the book I’m trying to write. If it’s that, I need to figure out what the problem is. Usually, it’s me trying to push square pegs into round holes. Sometimes the plot I envision just isn’t what my characters would do, and I need to accept that and replan to suit them.
So when I sat down to write the last book in the Rowan Harbor Cycle, Wren and Oak, and the words refused to come, I presumed it was one of those two issues. But instead of taking to my kindle and reading books, I spent a lot of days sitting there staring at a blank document, wondering why the words wouldn’t come.
It wasn’t my plot, I was sure. I’d spent eight books setting this up. I knew what needed to happen, and just how Fletcher would react to it.
And yet, my daily word counts had gone from thousands one month, to only occasionally positive numbers the next. It’s convention planning, I told myself. Then the convention itself. Then vacation planning. Then vacation.
Suddenly two months had gone by, and I didn’t have a book.
This is probably when I’d have usually started to despair about how I was never going to write again, and other such melodrama. Instead, I realized, I hadn’t eaten in two days. I’d lost fourteen pounds in the last week, in fact.
As it turns out, I started a different medication right before I started working on Wren and Oak, and because I was so busy, and traveling all the time, I didn’t realize that I was, in fact, poisoning myself. It turns out my body was not a fan of the medication in question, and was slowly shutting down.
I went off it, and two weeks later had a finished manuscript.
What was the purpose of this ridiculous plot twist?
I mean, other than that it’s a true story and proves that fictional plot twists have nothing on real life, there’s this: sometimes we all neglect ourselves in the daily rush to get everything done. I know if we don’t get things done, everything falls apart. Rents need paid, after all, and electric and grocery bills. But if you ignore your body’s warnings that something is wrong, you won’t be able to get everything done from a hospital bed.
Also, if we met or started speaking between September and mid-November, I apologize for anything and everything I said or did.