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Sophomore Slump

When I tried to come up with a title for this post, many possibilities came to mind. “This ain’t High School”, “Only in the land of make believe.” Suffice it to say I’m sleep deprived and a wee bit loopy.

So this is actually a difficult post for me to write because it feels like admitting to a weakness. And you all know I like to pretend I’m super woman, right?

I’ve heard the term before, Sophomore Slump, but never really gave it any thought. It refers to the difficulty authors have writing the second book and I didn’t think it had anything to do with me. I mean I wrote my first through third book in about a year. Of course those books aren’t published. Yet.  When I did finally publish under a pen name, I had the second book written during the time between edits and release day. The third and fourth followed quite easily.

So why have I been sitting, staring at a nearly blank screen for almost 8 months? Why has the self-imposed due date to have this next book finished been moved 3 times? And why have I changed focus several times from project to project because I just don’t “feel” what I’m currently working on?

It hit me the other day. Sophomore Slump. Altered Destiny is my first published full length, fantasy novel. It’s received fairly consistent and good reviews. There’s the RT nomination-which is huge-and I can’t seem to type to save my life. Or my career.

My husband’s theory is that when I was a more prolific writer, I wasn’t quite as happy because I wasn’t married to him so it was easier to slip into fantasy world. Yeah, little bit of an ego there, but you know? He has a point. I used to spend every evening writing. Now I’m cuddling with a gorgeous man and a very large stomach. (Less than 8 more weeks till D day) He also had some very good advice which mirrored Queen Noras. He said, this is your job. Some times it’s harder to do than at other times but it’s your job and I know you love it. Sit down and do it.

Imagine that. A complete outsider to the publishing world told me to get my butt in the chair.

So what’s a writer to do? Well, so far 3K + and better, a game plan for what’s ahead. Yes, folks, there will be a follow-up novella about Jaden and Selia and soon, Nathan’s story.


And to celebrate and as part of our blog hop. I’m giving away a copy of Altered Destiny to one lucky commentor. Please see the full rules on the blog hop to your left. : )


16 Responses

  1. Been there, Shawna. I have a weird process–I go to bed with my wip on my mind and wake up with lots of ideas to get on the paper, so i write first thing in the morning. But several years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. For the next year, almost no writing was done. Not because I didn’t want to. I did–I wanted the escape. But having cancer messed with my process. I went to bed with cancer on my mind and woke with the same.
    It sounds like you’ve had some major things going on there:-) They’ve probably just messed with your process. You settle back in; it may just take some time.

    • You know I hadn’t thought of that before. I used to write a lot on the weekends and evenings. Now I spend that time with my husband. My process has been messed up. Thank you for your encouragement, and you have my respect for fighting the battle against breast cancer. My grandmother did too.

  2. It’s one of those odd little quirks of creativity that the good times can shut you down more effectively than the bad. When everything in your life is going well it’s hard not to take the time to enjoy it, and maybe that’s not so wrong because good or bad, nothing lasts forever.

  3. I totally hear you! And I agree with Kari that good times can shut you down as easily as the bad. You’re happy! Who wants to think about conflict when things are smooth sailing? Who wants totorture characters when the sun is shining, the sky is a cloudless blue, and you’ve got an angel on the way? (Congrats, by the way!)

    Allow yourself some breathing room, and remember that other creative activities can “keep the pump primed” too. Doesn’t always have to be writing.

  4. Love your husband’s take on this! 😉 I’ve been through this (still going through it, maybe?), and I’ve been trying to go back to how I used to think and write when I didn’t know anything and it was more about fun.

    Of course, I’d like to keep the craft knowledge I’ve learned… 😉 Good luck getting your mojo back!

    • Yes, the craft knowledge, as well as the perspective I’ve gained is priceless. I did write a few short stories for my kids that were just for fun. : ) My husband is a wise man. : )

  5. This isn’t sophmore slump — it’s baby lump!

    Hormones, Hon. It’ll smooth out after the baby is born.

    But then, you won’t have any time to write!

    Welcome to the roller coaster!

  6. All the theories and advice make sense! I have my own theory, though your 3k kind of defies it.

    I started writing not long before I got pregnant with my first kid. I wasted a LOT of time during that pregnancy. I remember sitting on the couch reading with half my brain and chastising myself with the other half for not writing. Within a few weeks of giving birth, I wrote the rest of that first book in a rush (mostly with Number One in a swing at my side 🙂 ). I thought it was lack of training.

    But despite years of hard work and a few books under my belt, during my second pregnancy, I slowwwlllyyy lost the ability to write. I could edit. I could critique. I couldn’t write new stuff to save my life. I decided my uterus sucked all the creativity from my brain. One night I wrote 8 pages and told my husband to call his sister and let her know I was going into labor that night. I woke up with contractions at 1:00 a.m. 🙂

    So I agree with Laura! Combine the hormones and your body’s preoccupation with all the changes in your work and home life (good changes disrupt everything as much as bad ones do), and you’ve got a huge challenge!

    But it sounds like you’re already navigating the field and getting done what you need to. Good luck keeping going!

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