I hope all of you are doing well. It's been a while since I posted, and I'm going to be honest: I haven't written a whole lot lately.
That's not to say I don't want to. I'm anxious to continue with Outcry (I already have two more chapters written that I haven't edited yet) so I can move on to other projects. But my mind shuts down every time I sit down to actually write something. I burned myself out mentally last year by trying to work my full-time job, juggle writing two different books, spread the word about my published books, keep up with the blog, and so on and so forth. I was trying to do far too much, and my brain wasn't getting any time to unwind. Some people don't need that, I know - I envy them at times. But I needed it.
I was speaking with fellow author Jerry Hanel recently about this very issue. Here's what I told him:
"I think my time away has been about refocusing on why I write. Initially, I wrote because I had something to say. Because I wanted to share my world and my characters with people. Because I wanted to make people think about life, about how we treat each other in today's society, and maybe get them to consider the existence of God. But once I got a taste of paid writing, my goal suddenly became maximizing sales numbers. Public opinion suddenly mattered to me, and as a result, my mindset got away from doing what I felt God was leading me to do and became focused on pleasing the public and making money. In the process, I fried both my brain and my motivation button. My heart wants to go back, and my creative need is dying to go back, but my brain just feels like jelly whenever I try to actually sit down and type.
I need to get my mind off sales numbers and reviews and just focus on getting my work to people. I need to write because I enjoy it, write because I have something to say, and write because it's in my heart to do."
So, I'm trying to get my creative juices flowing again. And as a part of that, I've started a little page on reddit (called a "subreddit") called "Creative Challenge." There, users exercise their creativity by proposing and/or completing challenges based on a simple premise or idea.
For example, one might post a challenge such as: "A rosebush. The beach. A child's stuffed toy. Take those three things and come up with a plot for a short story or novel." Then, in the comments, everyone can respond with whatever they've come up with.
The challenges aren't restricted to writing either. There are music challenges, artistic challenges, and even open challenges which allow users to respond using any medium they wish.
I started the subreddit only a few days ago, and it's already got over 140 subscribers. I'm hoping it can become a fun little community where we bounce ideas off each other's heads, learn from one another, and make a few friends. You're welcome to join us, too!
Creative Challenge on Reddit (r/creativechallenge)
I know I've been promising new writing from me soon. And I have TONS of ideas (the outline for the rest of Outcry is mostly complete). I just need to get past this slump first. And I will, I'm sure. I've gone through longer slumps than this before. :)
Hope all of you are having a great new year thus far.