Writing Challenges

Creative Hiatus

pexels-photo-26829I’ve taken a small hiatus from writing. Okay, a large hiatus. It’s not my longest, by far. At one point, I went well over a year w/o writing words, so the current dry spell hasn’t lasted that long. The last time I really wrote anything new, aside from the dribs and drabs I’ve managed to squeeze from a stone, was last October. Everything else I’ve released since then had already been drafted and was edited beyond that.

Aside from about 5,000 words.

Slow times happen to me. I’m not one of those authors who can put words on the page every single day without taking a break here and there. Well, I can, but they usually end up to being utter crap that I end up deleting later because they’re so stilted that they’re not even worth editing.

I discovered years ago that I’m better off walking away for a time than forcing words out.

I know that’s not what any of the writing advice out there tells you. You can’t sell a blank page or even edit one and so on and so on with whatever trite advice is out there. But when words don’t come and I get anxious whenever I see the flashing cursor, I’ve learned to identify that as a time to step away.

This is when I shift over to absorbing what’s around me, be it nature, people, travel experiences, or other media. I ingest everything I can get my hands on and suck until it’s dry.

Very little has kept my interest as of late.

Since last fall, news around the world has been a daily/hourly creativity drain. I know I’m not the only creative person struggling to get work done in the current political climate. Hell, it’s hard to write romance, HEAs, and HFNs when I’m terrified the world as I know it might not exist tomorrow.

I wish I wrote dystopian thrillers right now. Novel after novel could be inspired by the world we currently live in. But my brain won’t go there. Trust me, I’ve tried to make it.

So I’ve been doing a lot of reading, diving into escapist tropes, fluff that I avoided in the past. I like angst. Those who’ve read FusionSilver Scars, Farm Fresh, and Picked Fresh know that. I’m not the nicest author to my characters, even if I love them, because life is rarely kind to real people.

The stories that have come to me lately and knocked on my creative brain have actually been quite fluffy, not at all fitting with the Posy Roberts brand of being unpredictable stories based on real-life angst. They’re inspired by tropes and the characters are not gritty and raw and messed up by their pasts.

This has turned into another sort of creative crisis inspired by the original creative crisis. I don’t want to disappoint my readers who expect the unexpected from me, who want to be surprised by the twists and turns my stories take. I also want the freedom to explore some of these sweet and spicy themes that are dancing in my head.

I believe I’ve found a solution: a new pen name where I can feel free to start from scratch and experiment with this new inspiration. It will be a while in coming, but I think walking away from the Posy pen name for a bit will be good for me.

That’s not saying I’m abandoning Naked Organics. The next two books will be coming, I promise. And if readers get their wishes, there will be a few more stories I follow up on. I’m just not sure readers want me, as Posy, to write sweet, tropey stories. What do you think?

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1 thought on “Creative Hiatus”

  1. As a reader, I don’t really see the need for pen names when the only difference is whether a book is more fluffy/more angsty. You can always do as you have above, and introduce it as “less angsty” or whatever. I do get that a writer might use different pen names to get into different writing moods though. The only time I think pen names are essential is when a writer is writing, say, erotica, and also books for 8 year olds.

    I am only providing reader feedback here. If a pen name feels right and good for you, go for it! Do whatever helps you write good books, and I will always read them. I hope you can find ways to keep the writing process positive and stimulating for you. I have never gotten “angry” at a writer who changes what they write over time. Surely such changes are part of the natural evolution of a writer. Incidentally, I’ve seen lots of comments from writers lately that they are having difficulty writing due to current affairs.

    Catherine Coulter wrote historical romances for ages. Then she made the switch over to FBI thrillers and found entirely new markets. Just sayin’. Leta Blake however, has a pen name for certain of her books which have a darker tone. Lilah Pace is apprantly the pen name of a New York Times bestseller writer. the only issue with that is I really want to know who it is, so I can read the rest of her stuff.

    I hope you feel better soon. For myself, I am reducing my exposure to news and current affairs.

    Like

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