IWSG-Writing Tunnel Vision

Hello again. It’s been a long time since I posted to this blog. Like 8 months, long time. I hadn’t realized it was that long until I prepared to jump back in with the IWSG monthly posting. I titled this post aptly because I’ve been so focused on one thing that I let everything else slide. As evident in my unintended hiatus.

With a pandemic still in full swing, time as been wonky. Days blended together, and honestly until the day actually it, my mind didn’t register the new month, or that I needed to have a blog post done for the hop. When it did dawn on me, it’d be like middle of the day and by then I was like too late now. But I’m trying to do better. I have a big calendar on my wall and I filled in “make blog post” as to not forget.

So why the tunnel vision? Well, for the first time in my indie career I attempted to make a schedule and have deadlines for myself. That was the influence of my writing group the Wordmakers. We collectively were attempting to work through the Zoe York books Romance Your Brand and Romance Your Plan. I’m a pantser, I write what I want when the idea comes to me and I’ve never considered the “what next” beyond the current book I’m working on. This year was different.

I planned* out a 3-book series: Love on Madison Island. It’s a small town romance following the lives of three childhood friends as they discover new love and adventures later in life (40+ leads). I set release dates, was supposed to have a marketing plan, and generally had all the grand ideas of this series being different overall than how I normally worked. To say it’s been a struggle would be an understatement. 

Writing books comes with challenges on a good day. When I added to that hard deadlines (like putting up pre-orders BEFORE the books are done) the stress compounded. The other things were pushed to the wayside in favor of me getting words on the damn page to make the deadline of getting the book released on time. I didn’t/don’t want to end up in Amazon pre-order jail. Blogging was the first to go. I’d wanted to blog about the series. Do character profiles, talk about my fictional town, all that sort of stuff to build buzz. It didn’t happen. Not to mention missing out on the monthly blog hop. All the marketing plans I had, to boost the series on social media, not done. 

My goal was to write-write-write. It was all I could manage with a ticking clock above my head. I got tunnel vision. And the pressure made the words that needed to come harder to get. Book 1 I got done, but struggled with my FMC and getting her character arc and personality under control. Book 2 I got side track with other things and wasted time “letting the story marinate”. Now here I am fighting with book 3. It’s not done. I’m 45k into a book that I’m not confident I can finish. I have a pre-order set for Sept. 22. The more I try to force it, the more stressed I get.

I’m trying to keep my eye on the prize and run towards the light at the end of this damn tunnel, but it’s like being in one of those horror movie dream sequences where the person is going and going but what they are after keeps getting farther and farther away. The other day I read a blog post by Vania Rheault, she is also a contemporary romance author and posts about her writing ups and downs, processes, and general thoughts that come to her. Her latest was on what it means to be a quitter and it resonated with me as I have contemplated throwing in the towel and leaving the series with just two books. I won’t, money has already been spent on the cover, but I won’t lie and say in my current mindframe I’ve not been tempted. 

Not just with this story, but with writing as a whole. And who knows. I may be in desperate need for a break once I’m done fighting with the current story and it’s finally out in the world. Until then, I’ll have my blinders on and drag myself to the finish line. Hopefully once it’s over, I’ll be able to find that balance of not pushing everything off to get the single goal accomplished. Time will tell.

Until next time

~Meka

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a home for writers in all stages; from unpublished to bestsellers. Our goal is to offer assistance and guidance. We want to help writers overcome their insecurities, and by offering encouragement we are creating a community of support.

The awesome co-hosts for the August 4 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox!

20 thoughts on “IWSG-Writing Tunnel Vision

  1. J.S. Pailly says:

    I’ve struggled with that sort of tunnel vision too. Writing is my favorite thing in life, but having too narrow of a focus on writing robs it of its fun. I’m trying to live a more balanced life now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. marieandreas2014 says:

    I hear you! I’ve been building a more solid writing routine and have to give myself two days a week off. One for business, the other just to breathe. I’m in the same boat with putting a preorder up before the draft is done and am racing to finish now (I’ve lost pre-order abilities twice, you’d think I’d learn.) I know it’s hard with that deadline hanging over you, but you will get through it! Have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meka James says:

      Oh man. All the writing dust to you to make your deadline! Fingers crossed you don’t lose your pre-order abilities again. This is the first time I’ve done this and it’s freaking me out. I have just over a month, to get it done AND edited. Gonna be down to the wire.

      thanks for stopping by

      Like

  3. Charity Bradford says:

    We’re in a boat of a similar size and shape! LOL. This year I also planned to release three books in a series, two months apart from each other. I’m falling behind on book three because of brain fatigue. I miss the freedom of jumping to another story if I want because I too fear Amazon’s pre-order jail.

    Good luck with finishing your series. We can do it. Then maybe we both should allow ourselves to go back to the way our creativity works best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meka James says:

      Oh man! We really are in the same boat. Mine were 3 months apart with the last deadline breathing down my neck. I also am facing brain fatigue and apparently left the most complicated couple for last. I really stacked the decks against myself.

      Thank you and good luck with finishing up your series as well! Looking forward to so much needed down time when this book is done.

      thanks for stopping by

      Like

  4. emaginette says:

    I’ve noticed that a lot of advice works for the advice giver, however, the receiver needs to adapt the information to make it work for them. Or at least, that’s how I work. (See the trap there–hehehe)

    You’re in pretty deep right now. Handle it the best you can. And no matter how it turns out, if you learned a lesson (and in your case, many) it was worth doing. You’re just really, really tired. Rest first, then think on things. I wouldn’t be surprised if you adapt the advice and tried again with your adjustments in place.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meka James says:

      Agreed! And I’m trying to figure out what will work best for me. I have learned the lesson about deadlines and how I work under pressure. Note to self: don’t do this again. LOL But you’re correct, I did try something, figured out what would or wouldn’t work and will have to adjust moving forward.

      I’m tired and looking forward to time off when I get to the end.

      thanks for stopping by

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Adrienne Reiter says:

    I feel you. I have a quarterly board for my books and podcast. Just started the new quarter today after taking a snap shot of the old quarter to see where I lacked in productivity. It has 3 main sections covered in post-its – Goals, Do It Now and You Rock. The You Rock part was not as full as I’d hoped.

    If you take a step back and look how far you’ve come it might allow you to take a breath. I need to take my own advice. Good luck with your deadlines! I can’t believe it’s August already.

    Best,
    Adrienne

    Like

    • Meka James says:

      Some of my writing friends use the quarterly boards. I’ve not graduated to that level of planning. Maybe some day. Sending you all the good vibes that you’ll have more in the You Rock section this quarter!

      And thank you. I’m trying to think positive about what I’ve managed this year. And I’m determined to hit my final deadline so trying to hang on to the good thoughts.

      thanks for stopping by

      Like

  6. Nick Wilford says:

    Deadlines can be good for focusing the mind but they can also have the opposite effect and induce panic. It sounds like you had ambitious plans for this series and that’s good, I’m sure you’ll get that last book finished because it’s important to you. Hopefully you can move back the release date if need be. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meka James says:

      Yes. I was hoping the deadlines would lead me to be more focused and deliberate with my publishing, but I’m in full on panic currently. I desperately want to hit my final deadline so I’m gonna keep pushing forward.

      thanks for stopping by

      Like

    • Meka James says:

      Thank you! I’m not giving up yet so trying to keep my eye on the prize. It’s given me a lot to think about in relation to how my process will change next time around.

      thanks for stopping by

      Like

    • Meka James says:

      I am so looking forward to my break once this final book is done. And thank you for the reminder. I have a friend or two whose DMs I whine in mostly LOL but I have to remember this gig isn’t as solo as I sometimes think it is.

      thanks for stopping by

      Like

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