Dear Indie Annie,
I have just released the fourth book in my series, and it is doing really well. Sales are good, and the fans love it and are clamoring for more. Doesn’t sound like a problem, right? There are two more books to wrap up that series, but I am tired of writing these characters. I want to start something new—maybe even a different genre—but I don’t write very quickly so it would mean a long wait for the next book in my current series, and I don’t want to kill my momentum. That series pays my kids’ tuition.
But the spark of excitement I used to feel when I sat down to write has been extinguished. Now it’s just a slog. How do I get the magic back—or at least the fortitude to keep going when my heart isn’t in it anymore?
Extinguished in Evora
Dear Sweet Extinguished,
I’m afraid to admit I had to Google where in the world Evora is, but wow—you live in an incredible city. I am intrigued by the Chapel of Bones. Such stunning scenery and beautiful architecture. Inspiration surrounds you at every turn! Portugal is now on my bucket list, so thank you for a good thirty minutes of procrastination and dream weaving.
I know what you are thinking. I do, I really do. You are thinking to yourself, “What is Indie Annie wittering on about? How is this answering my question?” Well, I just did. Don’t you see what I did there?
I was distracted, but now I have returned to the business at hand.
I went off on an adventure, whetting my creative appetite with lovely new things, and then I came back to my work. And that is the best advice I can give you.
As you have said, you have two more books in this current series. And may I just take a moment to celebrate your success? Four published books, and you can pay your children’s tuition fees! For many, that would be enough incentive to write on into the night. You have eager fans clamoring for your next book! A lot of authors reading this would scream what is your problem? BUT I detect there is something working on a much deeper level with you. The call of the shiny.
Like a magpie, you are attracted to that sliver of gold or silver on the horizon. You are already sitting on a nest brimming with treasure, but what excites you, what feeds your soul, lies on a distant shore.
I too have fallen down many a Pinterest rabbit hole. I have a stack of notebooks to my left packed with fresh story ideas, fantastic new worlds, and fabulously fleshed out characters. They cry for my attention, and sometimes I need to feed them, if only to silence them for a while.
I suggest you do the same.
You need to reconnect with your creative spark.
The seed that once watered grew into this stellar selling series of yours. To do that, you may need to give yourself permission to take a small writing vacation. Work on something else for a week or two, or even better, give yourself a regular day off. A day when you work on a new project, so that you can return to your current series with a renewed love.
Giving yourself permission—and being strict with yourself about returning—is the key here. There’s a well-known phrase that says “It doesn’t matter where you get your appetite as long as you go home for dinner.” I can’t remember who said it, and another happy ten minutes of Googling couldn’t help me find the answer. But, regardless of who uttered those words the first time around, the message is simple. We are all attracted to the new, the fresh, the uncharted. It inspires us. It ignites ideas, dreams, hopes, and fantasies—all things a writer needs in abundance, but remember “East, West, Home is best.”
This current series is where you have your home. Maybe you are thinking about moving one day. For now, take some time to sate your cravings, look at a few property details, make a mood board, book a vacation in this desirable neighborhood. But don’t forget to maintain the house you are living in. Monday through Friday, you sweep the floors and take out the trash. Get it?
Don’t beat yourself up for looking elsewhere, treat yourself to some time out to explore distant shores, then row back to land with fresh wind in your lungs as you engage in the next two books.
Good Luck and,