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Blog

The blog of m/m author Jaime Samms. 

If it Ain't Broke...

Jaime Samms

...don't fix it." This has been dad's mantra since I can remember, and there is a lot of good sense in the idea. Why mess with something that works?IMAG0155

The symbol of his railing against a world that continuously improves on things that work perfectly fine is his nice, serviceable black rotary telephone. He can pick it up and call a friend, make a plan, and be done. It works. When he had to go out and buy a touch tone phone, he went through a dozen models, all of which were crap before he found one he could live with (and that could live with him!)

Why bring this up? Because it sort of makes a point I learned these past couple of days.

I've been sort of barren, writing-wise for about a month now. Not that I haven't been busy I have. I revised a completed WIP and sent it to my publisher, and revised a co-written book with the other author and that has been sent to our publisher, and I'm currently doing the same for the fifth Rainbow Alley book.

But there have been no new words.

At first, I thought it as because of that peculiar down time I tend to need just after I finish a work. There is a week or two of mind-quiet when I am perfectly happy to melt my mind with Dr. Who reruns and book candy. When that stretched out, I blamed the new job and the hours I was putting in to stay on top of it. And then I blamed (like any writer who has the hear-me-love-me-don't-judge-me narcissism gene) poor reviews and wept that "They just don't get me!!!!" (I know it's bullshit. I'm over it. Mostly)

What I never suspected to be the culprit was my work station.

I was spending so much time working, that when it came time to write, I couldn't be bothered to move my computer from the kitchen table, where I can work and participate in family things like kids' homework and Destiny playing, down to my office where I have been writing now for over two years.

New desk close

Then hubs made me this space, because we both wanted me off the kitchen table, and while I absolutely love the solution for me being able to work upstairs, it is less than ideal for writing, with PS4 gunfire in the background and the kid calling out something like "is mushroomcloud one word?" every five minutes.

I was losing my writing mojo and feeling terrible because of my non-productivity.

And then I made a plan with my writing buddy to meet her on line and devote a few hours of the day to new words, and new words only. 2014-10-23 09.29.49 Work space wallSince I was doing this with her, I felt I owed her my undivided attention, and so I drug ye olde laptop down to my proper office and plugged it all in. We logged on, and in three and a half hours, I had the first 3,000 words of a new story banged out.

And it hit me. It wasn't work. It wasn't doldrums or poor reviews. It was me. It was the rapport I had built up with my writing self in that cozy space where I feel like me, where I belong and no one else does. I had built a routine and a writing sanctuary, and then failed ot use it. I tried to reinvent my wheel, and the new models kept breaking.

Now that space might look like complete chaos to anyone else, but everything in it means something important to me. It speaks to me because it is me. My life and experiences, the things I love and the things I want, all surround me in a cocoon of protection where I can take chances with my words. It works.

Of course there is something to be said for being able to write anywhere, any time. If you don't have much spare time in your day, then you must develope that skill. That isn't exactly my point. My point is, whether you have a designated writing spot, or the world is your office, if you have a routine to follow, or a ritual for the road, or a special pen, or your paper has to be pink and smell like roses, whatever it is, use it. Don't break your writing mojo, and don't dismiss that such a thing exisists. Whatever you use to tap into it, keep it close. Keep it safe.