Friday, June 23, 2017

Finding your voice again

Posted by: Angela Campbell
Not too long ago, author Joshua Roots wrote an eloquent post here at Here Be Magic about how difficult it can be to hone your craft after taking a break from it. To say it resonated with me is an understatement.

The past two-plus years have been extremely difficult for me from a personal standpoint as I've been playing dodgeball with the universe, which has decided to get its kicks from throwing illness, surgery, career difficulties (in the day job), family problems, and more my way. Forget dodgeball. I feel more like one of those people in carnivals who stand still against a board and prays they don't get stabbed when someone continuously throws knives at them (seriously, though — why would anyone do that willingly for a career?) The latest thing I'm dealing with is a very sick kitty who requires force feeding and frequent medicating. Yes, I have many scratches on my hands and arm right now. Shut up about it. She's my child.

The point is — pun intended, ha ha, ugh, geez — it's been a long time since I've published anything and I am as rusty at writing fiction as an old cargo van. Oh, I'm still writing. I have a complete draft of the next book in my psychic detectives series sitting on my desktop waiting to be critiqued by me and others so I can revise it — for probably the fourth or fifth time — and send it to my editor. Every now and then I get an email from a reader asking, "Is Connor getting a book?" Yes, he is, but I haven't polished it yet. It's not that I don't love that series or those characters, because I do. It's more that I feel I've lost my writing mojo, and to be honest, I'm too darn exhausted most of the time to pull out anything I've written and work on it. Truth. Connor deserves better than a story I feel less than passionate about, so I'm making him wait as long as it takes for me to get my mojo back and make sure he has the story he deserves.

A couple of months ago, a new writing opportunity opened up to me, but there's a catch. I would be writing outside of the genre I'm comfortable with, which is paranormal/romance/suspense. This is more mainstream — a straight up romantic comedy. At first, I balked. I love romantic comedy, but I couldn't see myself writing one. Then I thought about it. Maybe stepping outside of my comfort zone is the kick in the hiney I need to get my writing mojo back. I don't know. I'm probably stretching, but at this point I'll try anything.

So believe it or not, I've been writing regularly again, and — gulp — enjoying it again. I have a suspicion what I've written so far for this rom-com is complete and utter crap, but I am a writer, and we all feel that way. At least, I think we do, right? And there is the fact that I average about five hours of sleep a night these days and I'm definitely a needs-at-least-eight kinda gal. So this book, born out of desperation and exhaustion, is probably all kinds of coo-coo, but I don't care. Because I'm actually writing again.

I'm curious though. Have you ever taken a break and struggled to get back in the game? Got any tips in case I run out of steam again? Seriously, I need all of the help I can get.

Angela Campbell is the author of the psychic detectives series from Harper Impulse. Learn more about her and her books at


  1. First, hugs, I know you've definitely been through the wringer lately and I hope your kitty is better! I think a lot of us are going through the same thing with writing. I lost my mojo last year when the Samhain news broke (the first time) but had already been slowing/struggling before that. I am slowly working my way back but it's definitely a SLOW process. And yeah, losing my voice, or just struggling to put words together in the right (write) way takes time. It does come back though. Be patient with yourself. Sounds like a new project and genre has been great for you and I wish you all the best!

    1. I know you've been through the wringer too, so I appreciate the words of encouragement!

  2. All I can really offer is to just keep going. I'm revising a novel that I last worked on in 2004. For the last two and half months I've been struggling to get back into the voice/groove for this story--and this last week it feels like something has finally clicked.

    Take care of yourself!

    1. First of all, high five on that "something has finally clicked." I hope to keep going. I've just learned not to say "this will get done" because then something else happens to distract me. Heh. Thanks, Nicole.


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