The year 2019 is nearly one-third done. Writing that, my chest squeezes down on my heart, which responds by beating faster, and I have the urge to hyperventilate.
According to my goals list, which I wrote up at the end of last year, I should have published the second book in my historical western romance series by now. That, of course, implies that I also should have published the first book. I am nowhere near doing either.
That’s why I’m fighting going into a full-blown panic attack this morning.
Writing a book is easy. I type fast, and once I get started, often the words appear on the page before I’ve consciously thought them in my brain. The problem is getting started and having a well of words—the story—stored up in that brain before I sit down.
I had no idea how difficult writing a new series in a new genre was going to be. Writing the African Violet Club Mysteries over the past several years has become a matter of choosing a victim, a motive, a method, and the murderer. I then think about all my continuing characters and how they will be involved in this book. Because the characters and the setting are so familiar, many chapters write themselves. I’m confident I can make the mystery work because I’ve done it six times before in this series.
But I’ve never written a romance of any sort, let alone a historical romance. And, to make things more complicated, little bits of a Christian theme have been sneaking in as I write. This scares me to death, because I made huge mistakes when writing my first mystery series, which I thought was Christian fiction, but turned out to anger many Christian readers.
A few weeks ago, because I was having such a hard time with the subplots, I decided to just write the main romance plot, with hopes that as I got that sorted, the other pieces would fall into place. But I didn’t get very far with that. So my sneaky brain came up with a way to avoid writing.
Over time, two long lumps have developed in my living room carpet. It also could use a good shampooing after living here more than a year. So I decided to inquire at the office about the lumps, if nothing more than to cover myself, to make sure they knew the lumps existed before I had the carpet cleaned. Much to my surprise, they treated this as if it were a common occurrence, and said, “Oh, you need a carpet stretch. What time can we schedule the carpet people to come in?”
I’d never heard of getting a “carpet stretch.” Of course, I’d never seen a carpet do what mine had done anywhere else I’ve lived either. I have to assume that it’s because the apartment complex probably uses cheap carpeting that stretches out over time. Not that I blame them. Since they replace it almost every time someone moves out, which has to be after only a few years, it would be very expensive to use good quality carpeting in the apartments.
However, that required making time for the carpet person to come in and evaluate the situation, then moving the furniture from one side of the room to the other, which required emptying the bookcase of DVDs, the TV stand of knickknacks, and the African violet fixture of African violets. You know what happens when you take things off shelves, right? Yes, you see all the dust that has collected behind those things and have to give every shelf a good dusting. Then there’s moving the items, which also included the dining room table and six chairs. And then you have to break the vacuum out, because now that the furniture’s been moved, you can get to all those places that you tend to avoid caring about on a regular basis.
That led to thinking about rearranging the furniture now that it had to be moved anyway. And to replacing my bedroom set. What?
I used to live in a house with very large rooms. When I moved into the house, I bought a bedroom set to fill up that space. It’s a large set and the bed is queen-sized. The movers were able to barely make it fit in the apartment master bedroom. It fits, but it’s hardly pleasing to the eye. Plus, I need a new mattress after who knows how many years. And I thought, why do I need a queen-sized bed? I’m only sleeping on about a third of the mattress I have.
So I started doing internet searches on twin bedroom sets to see how much that would cost and what’s available. This wasn’t entirely the reason I made no book progress last week. With the furniture moved over to one side and even out of the room, I couldn’t sit at the dining room table with all my planning materials spread out to figure out that romance plot. (My desk is quite small and most of the top is taken up with my iMac.) Besides, I wasn’t sure what I could figure out.
And then, as I was finishing up putting things back in place in the living room and had decided to wait for Memorial Day sales to replace the bedroom, a wonderful thing happened. The meeting announcement for my local RWA chapter arrived, and the speaker is Laurie Schnebly Campbell and the topic is Braiding Your Book – about weaving the various plot threads in a novel. Just what I need! So, while I should be working on that plot now that everything is back in place, I’m thinking maybe I should wait until after the workshop Saturday, so I know what I’m doing.
Except you’re supposed to bring your current WIP to work on during the workshop.
My idea to wait is just another way of procrastinating. :::sigh:::
I’m hoping by writing this blog post I can get over my procrastination hump. If I don’t decide I need to do my nails. Or laundry. Or work on this week’s Bible study. Or finishing up that beta read I agreed to. So many ways to avoid writing!