Health and Happiness
Helen Harper

Writer’s Block

  • December 16, 2013
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I’m stuck. Well, not exactly stuck. I know what’s going to happen next in Eros. I don’t even have that much left to write. But somehow the words aren’t flowing. I sit down after work or at the weekends and, instead of feeling my fingers fly over the keys (which I do sometimes when the stars align), I’m barely managing a paragraph. Occasionally two if I’m lucky. I’ve been telling myself that it’s the end of the year. I’m tired. There is literally only half a day left of my day job at school before we break for the Christmas holidays. And goodness knows, if there’s any job that takes it out of you, it’s teaching. Secretly, however, I know I’m just making excuses. Is it writer’s block?

It doesn’t help that I’ve set myself a serious deadline of publication before January is out. I’m not beholden to anyone on this. I don’t have a publisher to whose rules I need to adhere; I haven’t even raised any reader expectations (which is what I have foolishly done in the past, under-estimating how much time I’ll need to bring everything together and then half-killing myself to meet my promise); neither, while I am determined this time to actually pay for professional editing to put a stop to all those pesky “poor proof-reading” reviews I receive from time to time, do I HAVE to publish Eros by the end of January at all.

But it kind of feels like my make or break moment. Blood Destiny achieved beyond my wildest dreams. Can I re-create that with a new series or has my time in my little glimmer of spotlight already passed? Eros is certainly different to Blood. It’s much more heavily romantic and much less kick-ass. Have I sold out my element of fun for more hearts and flowers? I hope not.

See, I kind of promised myself that if Eros does well, I would quit teaching for a year and purely write. If I could have finger-flowing-writing all the time, just imagine how many books I could write! How many stories I could tell! (If writer’s block rears its ugly head and I only manage scant paragraphs at a time, that may well prove a different story of its own, of course….). I’ve already handed in my notice at work – but that’s not unusual on the international teaching scene. Regardless, it is time for me to move on. I’ve been at my current school for almost five years now; and with my itchy feet that’s practically a life-time. The majority of international teaching jobs are advertised in January and February, and then start in August which means I need to decide what I’m going to do pretty bloody quickly. I need to know I can support myself without a traditionally paid job – but until Eros is published I won’t be sure. I may not ever sell another book ever again.

I think I’m going to take a leap of faith. I have until July when my contract ends to save money and be prepared. It would be nice to be sure though. And that damned book won’t write itself. Tomorrow. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

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