I'm struggling a little with my writing, which is rare. My routines have been totally disrupted over the last couple months. The weather has been the worst problem. I tied my writing process a little too closely to my daily walks in the desert. I haven't been able to walk for months and it's been hard to establish a new routine.

Selling Linda's store was complicated and stressful. I've had to work at my own store more, and that will probably continue. Selling a book to a major publisher was very stressful. After the acceptance, I was so charged up I couldn't do anything for a few days. Linda very much wants to move to a new house this spring, and that will probably be the most stressful and disruptive of all.

All of these things have been "Hurry up and wait."

I had a good string of four years of writing, especially the first two years. The last two years have been fruitful too, and I'm probably a better writer these days.

Anyway, rather than tackle a full novel,  I decided to write another novella in the "Tales of the Thirteen Principalities." ("Said the Joker, to the Thief" was the first novella.) I decided to write about the Toad King because I liked him so much as a character.

However, I didn't think it out much more than that. So I've hit the halfway point and I'm feeling stuck, like it isn't going where I want it to go.

I'm throwing out yesterday's chapter and trying something new. I introduced a character called Scoundrel, but he's just a stock fantasy character, a strong and silent warrior, Conan-like. I thought it over last night and decided to change him to a physically weak guy, so honorable he's almost simple-minded, but incredibly brave. I'm calling him Quarry.

"Because he is hunted?" I ask.
Marna snorts. "No...because he's a rock. You ever tried talking to a rock?"

In other words, I'm trying to feel my way. Inspiration isn't coming to me, so I need to be sure I don't just put out something bland.

The place they meet Quarry is on top of a mountain, but again it felt kind of generic. I'm rethinking that as well. I decided that my model should be Frodo and Sam meeting Faramir. Those were some great scenes in LOTR. I need to be more original.

I'm hoping my process will come back to me, that it's just because I've been interrupted so much lately, not because I've lost it. But I don't want to force it, even if what I write is 80% of the way there. Eventually, if I have to, I will do that.

But for now, I'd like to have that feeling of inspiration I've mostly had over the last few years. I'd like that flow to return, and I need to find ways to incubate it, despite all the disruptions.