There’s nothing like an unfinished writing project to make a whole-house cleaning spree seem like a good idea. I think every writer goes through that period of screen-staring numbness where you’re convinced you’re never going to write anything useful, ever again. Anne Lamott described this feeling accurately in her book Bird by Bird, one of my favorite books on writing. After a lifetime of going through these mental slogs, I’ve come to believe that inspiration is something you create, not something that happens to you.
I’m most productive when I return to the same work every day without skipping a day. This is a habit ingrained in me after twelve years of National Novel Writing Month every November, where participants write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days. Writing every day produces momentum, and momentum feels a lot like inspiration. Returning to a story after days (or weeks or months) away is more difficult than maintaining a routine.
Even as I type these words, though, I’m painfully aware of my own WIP that I set aside to edit Playing Knotty, which comes out next March. After finishing that editing project, I haven’t picked up my WIP again, and I’m facing the challenge of regaining momentum. At times like these, it’s easy to feel like inspiration is somewhere else. I have a great idea for a different novel, so maybe I should just stop my WIP and start writing the new idea? I’ve heard those called “Plot Munchies,” and if you give in, you’ll probably never finish anything. That new idea will reach its own point of despair, at which point another great idea will tempt you away.
That feeling isn’t inspiration. It’s your mind’s way of avoiding the challenge in front of you and justifying giving up. So don’t give up! Real inspiration comes from faith in yourself and your abilities. If you know you can finish this work, and you can edit it into something beautiful, that creates inspiration. Have faith in the process and your own talents as a writer, and just keep pushing through.
Elia Winters has always been a New England girl, despite having spent much of her childhood in Florida. She holds a degree in English Literature and teaches at a small rural high school. She dabbles in many genres, but erotic romance has been one of her favorites since she first began sneaking her mother’s romance novels. Elia currently lives in New England with her loving husband and their odd assortment of pets, where she balances her love of the outdoors with a bottomless well of geekiness.
Book Blurb: Purely Professional
Columnist Bridget Hartwell agrees to write about BDSM to impress her new executive editor at Sultry, the “sex-positive magazine for sex-positive women.” Unfortunately, it’s a topic she knows absolutely nothing about…but if she ever wants that promotion, she’ll need to learn the ropes, fast.
English professor Max Harlow is active in the Dom/sub scene, but only for casual play—he’s never found his ideal partner: a woman who is his equal, but sexually submissive. When he’s asked to explain the lifestyle to his cute but obviously inexperienced neighbor, Max is certain it’s best to approach it academically—to keep things purely professional.
Until Bridget’s first article is a huge hit, giving her the perfect excuse to delve deeper into the naturally submissive side of her sexuality. But as their encounters intensify and each of her boundaries is skillfully pushed, Bridget must decide what this all means… for her identity, her career, and, most importantly, her future with Max.