Free and Not-So-Easy

I'm not sure if I mentioned it before or not, but I am currently deadline free for the first time in, oh... eight or nine years. It feels a little strange not to be stressed out of my noggin. Although I write two books a year, I'm not a particularly fast writer, so it seemed like I was always cramming and sweating. Now I'm writing and musing at leisure. That was great for, oh . . . about a month.

For the past few days, I've had trouble focusing. I worked very hard on a story proposal and I'm waiting to hear about its fate. The longer the wait, the higher my anxiety. Doubts start creeping in. 

Instead of pushing forward on Story #1, maybe I should write up a new and different proposal, just in case it doesn't fly.   

Then ideas spark and flare. I come up with, not one, but two other premises. Not a bad thing except Story #2 and #3 are now distracting me from Story #1. Part of me says, stay the course. The other part says, prepare backup. As I type this, I'm torn. I'm going to sleep on it. Maybe I'll wake up with an epiphany. Or, hear some news that sways me one way or another. 

Meanwhile, I've been reading for entertainment and inspiration. Except I can't seem to focus on that either. Mostly because I'm curious about so many books. Presently, I am part way through five different books. It's not the best way to enjoy a story, but it is a fabulous way to explore and study writing styles and voices. I freely admit that I am intimidated by more than a few of these authors. Which makes me self-conscious about my own word-spinning.

When I was on back-to-back relentless deadlines, I didn't have a lot of free time to read, hence I didn't compare my work to others. I simply trusted my gut. Deadlines were bad for my stress level, but good for my confidence. So, are deadlines heaven or hell? Presently, I am undecided.

Books I am currently reading...

Secrets of Summer by Lisa Kleypas
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Emma by Jane Austen
The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber
The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Peterson
and a re-read...
Dark Fever by Karen Marie Moning

As a writer and/or reader what books have inspired or intimidated you?


Olga said…
It must be a bit liberating but also scary time for you, Beth. What can I say? Trust your gut. As for authors whom I admire, I'd probably put James Patterson at the first place.
Beth Ciotta said…
Thanks, Olga! I'm feeling better about things. Diggin into the new story and trusting my gut! :)

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