For Readers & Writers

from Susan Dennard

July 22, 2016

What's in this heart-to-heart?


Recent Goings On:

For the record LeviosaCon was SO MUCH FUN. I made so many new friends and got to talk about books, writing, and Dragon Age -- what more can a gal want in life?

Other, unrelated news, my husband planted wildflowers this spring. They're finally growing in, and it's like fireworks. New colors everyday.

Gosh, I love summer.

For the Mislanders:

Something Strange & Deadly E-Book Sale!

Surprise, surprise! Turns out the e-book edition of my debut, Something Strange & Deadly, is on sale for $1.99 across all platforms! So if you've been curious about the book, I daresay now is the right time to give it a looksie.

It has steampunk! And necromancy! And Victorian-era ghostbusters! And despite the dramatic, overly moody cover, it's definitely not a paranormal romance. (Magical zombies, yo!)

Here are links for buying, just in case you happen to feel so inclined.

Amazon!  B&N!   Kobo!   iBooks! 

For the Daydreamers:

When the Creavive Well Has Run Dry

I'm closing in on the end of Windwitch. Finally. This has been the hardest book of my life x 10, and I've never spent so long working on one story before.

But y'all know that already. (And I apologize to anyone at LeviosaCon who was subjected to my word vomiting panic attacks on panels. #StayClassySooz) I'm excited about the story again. I see exactly where it needs to go. And I'm actually (gasp!) excited to start in on book 3.

Yet, despite all the enthusiasm and the natural momentum that comes when the End Is Nigh, I am struggling to get things done. What would have taken me a few hours to write (even as recently as a year ago) now takes me an entire day. It's wildly frustrating! I spend all day at the computer or working by hand, but I have less and less to show for it.

Then on Monday, I fell asleep at my computer. Not even kidding. It was 10AM, when I should've been in the Prime Time Writing Zone, and I just crashed. I have NEVER in my life had this happen before.

As I was relaying that tale to my husband over dinner (and panicking quite a bit), he made one of those flat-eyed faces. You know, like this emoji: 😑

So I was all, "What?"

And he was all, "Duh."

To which I was like, "Duh, what?"

"You're burned out," he replied. "You haven't taken a break from this story in over two years. And taking a day off here or there isn't enough."

"Ok," I said slowly. He had a point--I desperately needed a break from this project. But here's the wall always hits: I'm out of time. I mean, I was "out of time" a year ago, and now I'm "so out of time that I need a real life deus ex machina to pull off this caper."

And it's not just that I need, like, 2 weeks to catch up on sleep, but I need, like, 2 weeks to refill the Creative Well. After all, the Creative Well is where our stories and inspiration come from. Our passion and plot twists, too. So if it's empty, then there's nothing to sustain us while writing.

And look, maybe you don't believe in a Creative Well or a Muse. Fine. But YOU try pushing your brain for years without any external creative input to fuel you. You won't last long.

And as much as I wish video games or movies were enough to refill the Well, I know they aren't. At least not for me. To sustain my writing, I need to consume fantastic tales in a written format.

Confession time. Y'all want to know the last time I read a book and actually finished it? Yeah, I'd like to know that too. It's definitely not in recent memory. I mean...that last one I remember finishing was in October 2015. And it was non-fiction. The last fiction book I finished...well, goodness. It's been over a year.

And it's not for lack of trying, guys! I have heaps of books on my bedside table. Books that I enjoy, books that hook me, books that I've been dying to read. But I can only manage about 10 minutes of reading before I fall asleep.

HOW TERRIBLE IS THAT?! I'm so ashamed of myself because this has never been the case for me. Reading has always been my first love. My escape. My haven. And yet these days, my brain is SO FRIED from trying to squeeze out a few more words each day, that I don't have enough mental energy to read a damned thing.

And now, my Creative Well is empty. Which is Very, Very Bad. I have to finish this book ASAP, and no amount of wishing for deus ex machina is going to make it happen. So what do I do?

No, I'm serious. I'm asking you all for help. What do I do? How do I refill my Creative Well when I don't have any time to take off for reading? When my mind is so dead, I can hardly manage a single episode of Scrubs after dinner each night.

I'll take any solution at this point. I HAVE to finish. So many people are depending me, and I've already failed them so horribly. I need some creative energy, but where do I find it? What do YOU do to refill the Creative Well?

And on that note, I'm going to go back to Windwitch now. I can get this scene out. Somehow. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...
Upcoming Events:

Chapter One Con
August 6
Chicago, IL

Full schedule to come!
September 2-5 
Atlanta, GA

Link Roundup:

As always, here are some links for your weekend!

photo by Emily Rae Photography

Copyright © 2016
Susan Dennard
All rights reserved.

110 West 40th St., Suite 2201
New York, NY 10018

I'm a misfit, a daydreamer, a fangirl, an animal-lover, and a (now gluten-free) cookie-eater.