Stranger To My Happiness

unnamed-1Sharon Jones’s song lyrics deal with how another person can steal your happiness, leave you in misery. I know that’s true, but other things bring me down. Well, mostly one thing: no time to write my novel. And it’s almost finished. First draft, but still. So close … a million miles away. “I feel like a stranger to my happiness.” That’s it, exactly.

I always have time for a blog post, which is good as a stop-gap measure, at least it’s SOME kind of writing, but not even that happened yesterday. Opened up Mac to write this post and up popped an email saying “before you start your online certification training, you need to complete these tasks…” and five hours later, I finally did. This is BEFORE class begins. I complain but I want to do it, I signed up for it. Teaching online is handy in Michigan winters. 

Also, then there’s, you know, life. I get so involved in writing real life feels strange to me. I wake up from the “vivid continuous dream” that is my book, which runs like a movie in my head, and look around my house thinking where am I? Who do these things belong to? What am I supposed to make for dinner?  

For a while now, I have been immersed in reality, some of it really icky, like a car accident and other stuff, some of it necessary, like my day job and the extra training. And I’m still taking Mac classes! My whole way of being in the world has flipped. Which might be healthy, but the fact remains: I gotta write or I’m just not happy.

Blog posts and diary entries are well and good, but what’s really stealing my happiness is not being able to come up with a good, sustainable plan to work on my current novel-in-progress. It’s all fits and starts, an hour here, a few pages there, and that doesn’t work for novels. You need consistent hours and days, or I do. So, looks like that’s just not gonna happen for awhile and I have to accept it.

I knew this was coming and I thought I was prepared but I’m just not. So how do I steal back my happiness? Well, I’ve been doing a lot of dancing. And then I meditate and that clears my mind, which allows me to come up with creative solutions to problems that seem unsolvable. 

For one thing, my WIP has some issues I need to work out in my head. Right now it feels like I have two stories and they are not embracing each other, which is fine at the beginning and even in the middle but somewhere around the last third of the book the strands need to come together and I’ve been wondering if what I have is really two books because I’m not sure I see how this coming together business will happen.

I’m okay with breaking the book in two. I’m even okay with writing a murder mystery. But it will take time, I’ll need to learn some new things, because mysteries involve more time than my usual books: contemporary fiction with current social themes, a juicy love story and a HEA (happily ever after) ending.

I can’t figure out how I’m going to make this current work end on my usual HEA note. Sister Issues, my first published novel, was a “happy for now” ending, and I liked that okay, because my protagonist solved her biggest problems. But the end for my murder girl, I just can’t see it. When that happens I usually just write and the words come and if they are not good I fix them.

Maybe I can use this “not working on book” time to think about some of these things. My critique group meets tomorrow and they have the murder/mystery first pages. Right now it’s the subplot of the book, so they’ve read the first plot, a love story with a twist. They’ll tell me if they think the two work together.

Happy about that, but circling back around to, okay, when I figure out the answers, or want to try a few things, where’s my writing time?

First papers are coming in on Monday (before I’m finished with the term I’ll be reading and grading more than 500 essays) I’m also taking a class with tons of work, so I see that wave and there’s just nothing I can do but stay on top of it. While my novel floats to the bottom of the ocean and dissolves.

Or, I can find a way. Got any ideas?



  1. Not sure if this counts as a solution to your problem, but it has solved mine. I was drowning in all the mundane every day things that have to be done, and my WIP was getting no elbow room. After a while, I started getting really narked and looked for a solution without any luck. Then, early one morning, (this is when I try and jump start my brain with a cuppa or two) I picked up a pen and started writing. Just notes to start with, and then I realised my brain didn’t really need me at that moment. Who knew I would be at my creative best at that time of the morning?
    So now all the ‘other stuff’ can fight and squabble for attention later, and I don’t care because I have started the day doing what I want (and need) to do.
    Maybe this would work for you?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the lady above’s advice – give it a go! I am beginning to suspect that about 11 pm might be another super-writing time of day for me, but don’t think hubby would be very pleased if I say ‘please switch off Homeland, I must write!”

    On the other subject, does it have to be super HEA? Can some aspects of it not be resolved, and some ‘bittersweet’ ? I like that sort of ending best – as you’ve read almost all of my books you will know that I don’t quite tie up all ends to be totally happy; perhaps you could try that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Terry, I do love your books and your endings. You’re always trying new things and I think maybe this is the book where I deviate from the HEA. And that might be part of what is holding me back. I’m not sure how to write a different kind of ending. So I’ll try some things. First thing in the morning:)


      1. I do not know about endings, but sometimes the story itself needs a shift or a change. Don’t ask. I can’t explain. But a scene that seems odd…it suddenly clicks where it belongs to. I know you will find your solution and tame the story. I just know it.


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