Well it's become a rough old time for me this last week or so. The weather's turned freezing cold, and while you'd think that wouldn't bother someone with as much padding as me, it actually does. And I seem to have acquired an eye problem - it's probably dry eyes, so hopefully not serious - but everything's a bit on the blurry side, it feels like grit in them and for some reason they keep weeping. Damn it's irritating! But hopefully the optometrist will give me some drops.
But the most annoying thing is that the mad, almost frenetic inspiration that was driving me for the first half of this year seems to have vanished and every time I sit down to type my fingers fail to move. (And when they do much of the time it's to erase most of what I've written!)
Most writers go through periods like this - some call it writers block. I'm not sure it's that. It's more like being lost, sitting at the keyboard and simply not knowing where the story is going. So I thought I'd share some of the things that seem to help me when I fall into these ruts.
The first is at the top of this post. I like to create a cover for the book I'm working on and then paste it to my computer screen. It hopefully gives me a little bit of an inspiration every time I turn the machine on. And I have to admit the cover is brilliant. The image from 123RF was great and I modded it a little for atmosphere and lighting and to better let it fit the plot of the book. It may or may not be the sort of cover that would make a reader want to pick it up, but it works well for me in persuading me that I want to write it.
Distraction is also a useful tool. Sometimes you just need to get away from the keyboard for a little while. Immerse yourself in things that don't require a lot of concentration. So for me it's usually old movies / tv series and computer games. At the moment it's Heroes of Might and Magic V and a whole bunch of comedies - mostly British.
Oddly coffee helps - but not in the way you'd imagine. For most people it's a stimulant. For me it relaxes me, even helps me sleep!
And even more strangely, exercise. Normally I'm totally opposed to all forms of exercise - including walking. Truly if I could get one and afford a whole bunch of servants, I'd be riding around town in one of those divan chairs that Dave Allen used to have on his show when he was playing the Pope. (Sadly I don't think a mere four men would be enough to hoist me off the ground!) But lately I've been playing with the free weights a little, and I think I might even have broken into a sweat at one point! Scary stuff!
Anyway that's what helps me at these times. I imagine other writers will find other distractions and techniques will be of more help in getting them through. And one more thing - the understanding that you will get through it.
Of course the next book - Chy - is in the works, but I fear it may be a month or two before it's ready to roll. It's an epic fantasy which is only two thirds complete - and I haven't even started on the blurb as you can see!
So that's where I'm at. I hope you're all well, and getting through these endless lock downs, which seem to be starting up again just when you think they're over! But fingers crossed, there will be a vaccine probably early next year.