Recently, I went to my critique partners with a problem. Sales were down, and my reviews were less than stellar. I believed this was directly related to the fact that I no longer enjoyed what I wrote. Frankly, I was sick of the stories I’d been telling. So much so I think my disgust showed in the writing.
Every word was pulled out of me like a reluctant tarpon from the sea, fighting every inch of the way. Writing had become mechanical, boring and a chore. I found myself resenting the obligation to sit down and write, knowing another deadline approached. I missed those glorious days when I sat at my keyboard with joy and tore pieces of my soul out to place on paper without a care in the world. I longed to find that piece of me I’d lost.
Perhaps some blame might be attributed to my anal-retentive attempts at perfection: Stimulus-reaction-perception-emotion-response, check the balance, check for passive, what’s the next GMC step in relation to the plot points, ad infinitum ad nauseum. Perhaps I’d gone too far, and stopped writing books I enjoyed in favor of the elusive goal of perfection. I may have come close to mathematically reconstructing the flower while missing the beauty of its flaws. Where was the fun in writing if I didn’t enjoy the books I wrote?
The last statement was so profound to me that I pondered the implications most of a day. Did I laugh insanely and toss my plots to the winds in shreds? Don’t be ridiculous. I’m not that strong. LOL! What I did was stop obsessing and let the characters speak. I listened to the small, quiet muse and found a new voice inside.
Her name was Madge Majesty, and she demanded that I step outside my usual genres and write a mystery. For months, I read and studied what made mysteries so intriguing. Surprisingly enough, I found myself hooked. Madge and her genre became a passion. I loved my story again!
I learned a lot from Madge and her friends. I hope to return to her world someday, and help her solve another crime.
Note: Lena Austin’s books are published by Changeling Press E-Books. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults only due to sexually explicit scenes and adult language.