Ask your editor/publisher for a deadline extension. This may sound like a no-brainer, but I’ve known writers who have doggedly struggled to meet a deadline but at the last minute unavoidably had to ask for that extension. This isn’t fair because publishers have schedules worked out well in advance, and a last-minute request throws everything off. So ask earlier on. It will take pressure off both you and the editor. (Of course, some disasters happen at the last minute. In that case, that’s when you’ll have to ask for the extension.)
If your deadline is self-imposed rather than with a publisher, give yourself some extra time. But set up another deadline, or perhaps a series of small deadlines. Without any deadline, the project may slip off into that black hole of unfinished stories.
I’ve never been one to be able to write half a page today, half a page tomorrow, and come up with anything cohesive. But if you can do this – do it!
If you haven’t time or energy to write anything, at least read through what you’ve already written on a regular basis. This will help keep your story in mind, and you won’t go back to it someday wondering – who are these people? What was supposed to happen next?
Keep a pad or notebook with you at all times, including when you’re sitting in that hospital waiting room. Tiny thoughts, my husband calls them “flashes,” may occur to you even when you aren’t actually thinking about your writing project. Jot them down. They’ll be forgotten if you don’t, and I find it helpful when I go back to a story to have a pile of thoughts and ideas to work with. (Though I sometimes wonder, with a note such as Joe/Mitch/that woman in store, What was I thinking?)
Social media: If keeping in touch with writers and friends is helpful for you, this is another of those Do it things. But don’t feel obliged, if it just feels like an stressful task that must get done.
And talk to the Lord about it. Yes, you’re undoubtedly already including prayers for resolution of whatever this crisis is in your life, but talk to Him too about coping with this writing problem. Others can probably see the trials you are going through with medical problems and death, but they not know, or understand if they do know, how despairing some of us feel when we can’t write. But God knows. Talk to Him about it!
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If you haven’t time to write anything, at least read through what you’ve already written. Click to Tweet
Keep a pad with you at all times, even at the hospital, to write those tiny thoughts. Click to Tweet
Talk to Him too about coping with this writing problem. God knows. Talk to Him about it! Click to TweetLorena McCourtney . . .
I came to writing faith-based mystery/romances in a roundabout way. I started writing in the fifth grade, always stories about horses. This love of horses carried me through a degree in agriculture from Washington State University, and a job with a big midwestern meat-packing business. (Where I quickly learned writing about raising hogs and making sausage was not my life calling.) Marriage and motherhood intervened, and by the time I got back to writing, I knew fiction was what I wanted to do. I wrote many short stories for children and teenagers, eventually turned to book-length romances, and now to the faith-based mystery/romances that I feel are my real home. My husband and I live in southern Oregon, where our only livestock now is one eccentric cat.
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Dolled Up to Die, Book #2 in the Cate Kincaid Files
And Cate is off on another rollicking adventure involving a beautiful trophy wife, a woman who claims she can reveal your past lives, and hunky Mitch Berenski, who is having serious doubts about Cate as a PI. Oh yes - there's a killer in there too.
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