Journey to Astera – Outline Fatigue

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It’s mid-November and all I can think is “fuck, how did we get here so quickly?” I love the holiday season and spend all year waiting for October to get here. But this year, it feels wild how fast the year has gone by. Not just because this year has been intense, but because we’re about to close out a decade. There’s a lot I wanted to accomplish by now, but I try not to let the negative bitch inside me win. There are so many things I’ve done in the last decade — graduated college, moved across the country on a whim, married my best friend, traveled internationally, and completed the book I started when I was 19.

First Draft Woes 
The first iteration of To Astera, With Love came to me in a dream. I was in college, grieving the loss of my father, and wanting to escape. So I started writing a book about a vampire apocalypse and its survivors. I took several breaks while writing it, some short some years long. This was before I became a more disciplined writer. Back when I wrote only when I felt like it before I learned that an outline was the key to my success.

Second Draft Wins 
For many people, the third time’s the charm. For me, it was the second draft that was a charm. I outlined it with the help of my mother-in-law after a friend of mine beta-read the original draft and came back with “you’ve got great characters and snappy dialogue, but your plot makes no sense.” It stung, but I knew she was right. I’d written without an outline, and so it became a 75,000-word stream of consciousness. I found an outline technique that worked for me and got to work. A year and a half later, I finished To Astera, With Love.

The Next Adventure
I followed the advice of all the greats who say that you should give yourself a break between books. I took two weeks off from writing altogether, then I started working on other projects I’d been meaning to get to. I’ve since started outlining my next book and let me just say – it’s been a struggle. I’ve felt incredibly blocked lately, in a way that I haven’t in years. Perhaps I’m building this up so much after the high of writing my last book? Or maybe I need more of a break than I thought? Either way, I’m doing my best to take this a little at a time and be patient with myself.

Have you ever struggled with writer’s block? What do you do to overcome it?

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