It’s been a year since I released my first novel to the query stages. It’s been five years since I began that first novel. There’s been many false starts at a second novel but, ultimately, those ideas were not novel material. This time I think I have it. A story with a plot and characters, and the question of what it means to be a compassionate human fighting for survival.

So, why haven’t I started writing it?

I sit down to write almost daily (I swear I do!) but something always distracts me. My desk is overrun with useless papers & books, my calendar is the place where to-do lists are written to be forgotten, my bookshelves… well, let’s just say I’m not as organized as I used to be.

Instead of writing, I clean. Instead of writing, I read. Instead of writing, I sleep or meal prep or exercise. All useful in living a productive adult life. Useful also to help my brain release the tight hold it has over my creative flow.

In between the moments of actively doing something, I feel the story alive and pulsing. In between worrying if my next novel has what it takes to be picked up by an agent, I feel the steady pull of these new characters as they show me deeper subtleties. Perhaps once I begin to actively write this story, the blank space won’t be so daunting and terrifying.

After all, a novel is just one word after another.

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