Making Lemonade

by Autumn M. Birt

The last two months were nothing like I had expected. I should have figured. I did write that post on tackling too many ideas when I was in the throws of creativity. That was late July. I was writing while building a house and working my butt off at my day job while we were short staffed.

Then I found out that the place I’d been living, a soft sided yurt (imagine a 24 foot tent) had sold. Yeah for us. We needed the money for the house we’d been building for over a year. But suddenly there was this thing called a timeline. My husband and I had to make the new house livable while packing up and moving out of the yurt. All while holding down jobs… during the busiest work season of the year for me (and while being short staffed). Ugh.

Ok, it sounds like I’m whining (a little) and you are starting to wonder what this post has to do with fantasy writing. Well, that is just it. I haven’t been writing. At. All. It hurts.

Actually, I did write a paragraph while doing laundry about two weeks ago. It was HEAVEN. Flowed like I hadn’t stopped abruptly weeks prior. I was on a writing high for days, carrying my iPad with me everywhere in the insane hope that I’d find two minutes to write the next sentence. I didn’t. But I wanted to, badly.

Wave style Celtic knotwork that will be the backsplash in my kitchen... in chalkboard paint, of course!

Wave style Celtic knotwork that will be the backsplash in my kitchen… in chalkboard paint, of course!

Mike Berry has been posting on how having a child has upset his writing schedule. He’s been writing poetry to stay sane. I think any author can relate to life throwing a zinger and suddenly what little writing time we usually carve for ourselves evaporates. I’ve been busy before. I’m building a house and working. I’m a wife and a daughter, an employee and an author. Things don’t often balance equally day to day, but hopefully they do month to month. Sometimes writing time falls in my lap along with ideas. Sometimes it is scant. I would say this is the first time that when I do manage to find a moment not occupied by packing, unpacking, building, designing, working, and all that, I’m usually so tired as to fall asleep where I’m sitting (as long as I’m not driving!). My brain is often mush. Original thoughts are absent and I lament the time when everything flowed. If I wrote then, I’d just depress myself. So I don’t. My desire to write is constant though. It is an itch I can’t satisfy with a good scratch. At least, not yet.

So what do authors do to stay sane when writing is impossible? I’d love to hear your strategies! I’m sure there are some great ones out there. 😀

For me, I’d have to ask if I was sane in the first place!

Joking aside, a lot of creativity goes into the house. We designed it ourselves and now, working on the interior, is really a time to enjoy aspects we will see and use everyday. Or curse the stupid mistakes we made last year… sigh.

... "I built my own staircase."

… “I built my own staircase.”

How often do you get to say...

How often do you get to say…

.

And I daydream a lot. What else is there to do while sanding mud on drywall??? But the longer I go without writing, the more mundane those thoughts grow like malnourished fruit. Parts of my brain have shut down into maintenance mode, waiting until it is worth their while to be kickstarted again.

In the end, there is really nothing to do but laugh. Well, I could throw a tantrum, demanding that I deserve a day off to write. But who would I demand permission to take time off from? Myself? Hah, not granted. Go back to work!

There is a glimmer of hope though. The yurt is coming down. TODAY, in fact! The house may not be truly done for months yet, but one stage is ending. The house is now livable (thank goodness, because we are living in it!). It needs some outside work and some trim and cabinets. Soon, I’ll be looking out at snowflakes as winter enfolds my new home and slows down the desire to go outside and cut up wood to make a bookshelf. And I will sit and write…

– Autumn is the author of the epic fantasy series on elemental magic, the Rise of the Fifth Order. She also has lots of other WIP, which she carries religiously everywhere on the off chance that she will get stuck and have to entertain herself for several hours. Hey, she has simple hopes. You can also find her occasionally online on Twitter at @weifarer or on her Facebook page and on Goodreads. If you do find here there, tell her to get offline and write something, for goodness sakes!

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