Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Lord Keeps Me Humble: Surviving Writer's Block by Aaron Lazar


I have to admit, I was always a little smug about not having to deal with writer’s block. For the past sixteen years, I had a multiple story lines swimming around in my head. I couldn’t imagine not knowing what to write next, and my biggest problem as an author was “which” book to write next, or which subset of fans to satisfy first. 

I started writing during a family crisis in 1997. My father had just passed away, and he was the 8th person in my circle of family and friends to die in a five-year period. It completely crushed me.

But soon I discovered the amazing therapy of writing. It helped that my first book (Double Forte’: a Gus LeGarde Mystery) was loosely based on my father, a music professor, consummate gardener, family man, passionate soup maker, and lover of the arts, with whom I ached to reconnect.

I had a bit of a slowdown halfway through the book. Raising three teenage girls with a disabled wife was a bit of a challenge. But I managed to make my way through it – whether it was prom dress shopping, music lessons, drama club stage crew.. you name it. Where do you think I got the silver in my hair?

But in 2001 my mother, who’d been reading along when I started Double Forté, said, “I’d really like to know what happens to Gus, honey. Why don’t you get back to that?”

I did, and it was then that the writing bug really took hold.

I churned out book after book, until I had five LeGarde Mysteries under my belt in just a few years.

It was in 2003 that I finally realized I really “should” look into getting them published.

Years passed. Books came out. Awards were won, spurring me onward. Last year I finished writing my 26th book (23rd novel), Devil’s Spring, and was raring to go with the next one.
Again, my only problem was which series to indulge in, or which set of characters did I feel more like visiting at the time?

Then my wife’s mom died unexpectedly. She’d lived with us for eighteen years, so it was a real blow to the entire family. My wife and daughters fell apart, and I have to admit it really knocked me for a loop, too. We weren’t prepared. We thought we’d have at least another three or four years with her. But the Lord had other plans, and she went to be with Him on November 5th, 2016, about a year and a half after I lost my own dear mother in June of 2015.

The weight of the world was on me. At least that’s the way I felt. Because of Dale’s brothers living out of state, dealing with my mother-in-law’s house (attached to ours, but a full-sized dwelling), was my job.

As sad as it was, my wife and I decided we’d move into her mother’s side of the house, which we’d helped her design and which is a truly beautiful living space. We offered for my daughter and her two little boys to stay in our “old” side of the house, where we’d been squished together for the past year. And when I say old, I mean old! It was built in 1811, just like Gus LeGarde’s home.

What happened then was an endless blur of weekends of me going through closets, boxes, eight fully packed wooden trunks, an overflowing packed cellar, and dealing with over fifty cartons of family “treasures” that had been brought from my mother-in-law’s home town and represented over three generations of family. Imagine 4 sets of antique china, hundreds of linen tablecloths, dozens of 1950s aprons, so many pairs of fancy dancy ladies gloves that I couldn’t count them… and so on. Unfortunately, there was very little actual value other than family nostalgia with these items. The market on antiques had dropped significantly. So, we saved a few things, and other than a few nice pieces that went to auction, the rest went to an estate sale which took so much work and planning that it just now finished up in August.

During this whole adventure, my day job boss and his wife (two of the four people in our company) left suddenly with no warning on January 31st this year, forcing me and my remaining colleague into insanely long hours and taking away my time to enjoy a daily walk as well as any writing time.

But that wasn’t all. In hindsight now, I realize I, like the rest of the family, I was actually going through a massive depression. Even when I squeezed out an hour or two per week to write, I had no urge to do so. I was bored with all my series, all my characters, and couldn’t imagine another book that would take my interest.

Finally, when I grew disgusted with my lack of creative productivity, I reached out to my fans.

I set the opening scene for a new LeGarde Mystery (book #12) and asked them for ideas. In my very strange state of mind, I honestly thought I’d covered every single possible type of villain, disaster, or evil that could descend on Gus.

My readers came through for me, and I was deluged with emails full of fun ideas that did, indeed, inspire me to a new mystery. Once unleashed, I twisted and turned the themes and came up with something—hopefully—entirely new and fun.

I’m halfway through the book now – and loving every minute of the time I get to squeeze out for writing in my insanely busy day.

So, for a guy who never had writer’s block, I guess I endured about six months of it. As I said, The Lord keeps me humble. ;o) I’ll never again wonder how this could happen to someone, and always be grateful for my loyal fans.

Remember to take pleasure in the little things, and if you love to write, write like the wind!

Aaron Paul Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com
https://www.amazon.com/Paines-Creek-Beach-3-Book/dp/B01BGHQK8G/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1505477786&sr=1-4&keywords=paines+creek+beach+series

 
Aaron Paul Lazar is obsessed with writing. He's completed twenty-six books to date, and has earned twenty literary book awards. He writes mysteries, suspense, love stories, and more. You'll usually find him writing his heart out in the early hours of the day - preferably in the dark, quiet hours when no one else is awake in his bustling household. Visit his website at www.lazarbooks.com to sign up for a free book and to learn about future deals.

“Addictive, award-winning fiction.” 

5 comments:

Marta Stephens said...

Arron, you are the most prolific author I know. I’ve always admired your tenacity to overcome multiple life hurdles that would have knocked a lesser person to the ground. I’ve also marveled at your many achievements—wow, working on your 27 books!! As you well know, I’ve had more than a few writer’s blocks myself and they’re not fun. There were many, many time I wondered if I would ever be inspired to write again. Thanks to you, I was! You have the wind beneath your wings, my friend, so keep writing!!

Aaron Lazar said...

Thank you so much, Marta. I'm so happy that you're back in the writing saddle and can't wait to see what wonderful book(s) you create in the future! Isn't it fun now, having absolute creative control, ability to schedule any promos that you want, change pricing at will, etc? I love the freedom! Happy writing and enjoy your Sunday. ;o)

Sheila Deeth said...

What a wonderful post! So lovely to see this glimpse into your home and your life, and to be reminded of the Lord behind it all. I've been tidying through my mum's closets while visiting England, mostly because she's fed up of things falling on her head. Many memories revisited. Many items rediscovered then discarded. And many happy conversations. I am so glad I had the opportunity to do this while she is still with us, enjoying her 90th year.

Kim Smith said...

Wow Aaron, you have been through the mill. But you are still writing! I on the other hand am doing all the other stuff that follows a loved ones passing. Marta, knows too, how much time this takes. I am about as far from writing a piece of fiction as one can get. Life is too real to make a fiction from thin air. Anyway, just popping in to say hi and hugs!

Aaron Lazar said...

Hi, Kim. The whole time I was writing this, I kept thinking I had no right to complain, thinking of both you and Marta having lost your dear husbands. My wife is very sick, yes, but I still have her. Thinking of you and all you've been through with Allan's illness and passing. Bless you and of course, when you're ready, the writing will return .