There's always that point when I come off a break and freak out that I've forgotten how to write. Going on 8 years now, and I still have issues after Christmas. I spent most of December Christmas shopping, baking, getting ready for my mother's visit, and wrangling children who were home from school. During that time, I did very little actual writing.
I'm always scared I'll be unable to start up again. When I think about how to do it, I can't. I just have to do, to write that first line and get words on proverbial paper.
Take for example my current WIP, By the Tail. I've known the characters for months, since I wrote Outfoxed, the fourth Cougar Falls book where I introduced them. I've already written their synopsis. I know most of what's going to happen,from A and Z, but not necessarily how they get there. It's like grinding against unforgiving stone to get my brain working right.
Fighting against the urge to critique something else, read another book, watch television, or surf the Internet. And then that magical click happens. I'm not sure why or how, it just does. And suddenly I've gone from page 6 to 26 with ideas flowing like a waterfall. I know why Quince gets to the end, how Joy's going to trick him in a major power play, what will happen to segue into the next book.
By writing, letting the ideas flow, more ideas come. I completely understand how writers can get into a block, stumped by too many ideas or not enough, so that their minds get mired down in the unimportant and they forget the most important part of writing--to write, no matter the material.
Now back on track once more, I'm going to shoot for twice as much work today as I accomplished yesterday. Fingers crossed I can finish the book by the end of the week--though that's probably pushing it.
And now, a tease from By the Tail...(note: rough draft)
Cougar Falls, Montana
Running fast and furious through the snow-covered mountains of Glacier National Park in freaking September —God, I miss Miami—Joy Bermin screeched a warning to any and all who thought to stand in her way. Currently outracing a black panther in her own four-footed cougar form, she reminded herself that being Ac-taw—a shapeshifter—truly was a blessing, and not the huge pain in the ass she’d been feeling lately.She stopped in her tracks and listened, then sniffed at a familiar scent in the air. More feral canines. The woods seemed to be filled with wild female wolves lately. Maybe if the Gray Wolf Order would get itself together, the females might take a chance on dealing with the men in Cougar Falls instead of hiding out in the mountains.As she thought it, she considered her own circumstances and sighed. Pot calling kettle, hello. Her Pride back in Miami had finally “gotten itself together,” yet she ran for her freedom from a stubborn cat determined to take her as mate. Quince. That idiot. That tall, dark, smokin’ hot idiot.She fumed as her libido again lit up over the arrogant cat. If he caught her out here, she’d never hear the end of his superiority. And knowing her shoddy willpower, she’d cave if he kissed her again. God, he had kissing down to an art. Just once, months ago, he’d planted one on her. But she still had dreams about his firm lips, his arousing scent, the feel of his rock hard body…A warning growl echoed way too close, and she hurried, swearing at herself for losing her focus. Crap. Quince sounded more than annoyed.With a leap, she easily crested a five foot gap and landed with sure feet on a large boulder. Then she clawed her way up a steep incline and caught her breath at the top of the ravine. Good timing, because she glanced over the edge of the ridge to see Quince glaring up at her.“Get your ass down here. Right. Now.” He spoke telepathically, as familiar Ac-taw did in animal form. She’d passed wolves during her run but hadn’t allowed them to connect with her that way. Too bad she couldn’t close Quince off as well.He flashed his fangs, flatted his ears and swished his tail, then added an unnecessary hiss, apparently through playing. Well, too damn bad.“Screw off. I’m taking a vacation.”“You’re running from me, the way you’ve been running for months.”“Hel-lo? Get the message already. I’m not interested.” She paused. “And I’m not running from you. I’m exercising my cat. Get over yourself.”He had the audacity to smirk at her. It bothered her to no end that she found his feline as fascinating as his human form. He was something of a cross between a cougar and jaguar. The only Florida feline she knew who could roar, and he had a silky black coat. Because black panthers were rare, she could be forgiven her interest in his lethal cat. But even when shifted, Quince mesmerized her with his caramel skin, bright golden eyes, and dark good looks. She could stare at him for hours and not look away.And then he’d open his mouth and ruin the mood.“Honey, I can smell your heat from here.” Bingo. Quince at his finest.“Liar.”He opened his mouth, showcasing pretty white canines, and stuck his tongue out, tasting her scent on the air. Then he closed his mouth and chuckled, a chirp from deep in his throat. “I can’t wait to prove you wrong. Now come home where you belong, Joy. I have shit to do in Miami, and you’re proving a real distraction.”“You’re smelling anger, not desire, you bully. And I never asked you to follow me. My family is here, anyway. Go home.” You’re not the boss of me was on the tip of her tongue, but she wasn’t five years old anymore. With three of her four siblings in Cougar Falls, Quince had to know she had more than enough reason to stay in Montana. Even if she did miss the heat of Miami like crazy.