It's difficult to write when you're not in the zone, when you're not enthused, but I always try to make myself power through. Sometimes, to my surprised delight, even the forced stories will click and I end up liking them after all. An example is an anthology I became involved in where the stories had to be set in Africa, and had to be very short. I thought of and discarded a few plot ideas, and finally settled on one that I wasn't all that enthused about. But, I forced myself to keep writing, and I ended up with a story I don't hate. :)
Has that ever happened with you? Do you have any tricks to making the words flow even when you're not feeling the love?
Below is a bit about the story, which should be releasing soon. (We had some glitches with a few authors in the anthology, but I believe all is just about resolved). I shared an excerpt a little while back, but this is a different excerpt, from the opening.
After dying for the third time, unloved and unlovable Autumn Baines is running out of chances to avoid purgatory. For her latest life, she’s sent to the Serengeti, where she’ll have to perform a selfless act and find someone to love her. She sees her chance with the arrival of widowed father Logan McBride and his teen daughter.
Faced with an opportunity to make a tremendous sacrifice, she’ll have to decide…can she forego her eternal happiness to give them theirs?
The third time Autumn Baines died was the most painful, the most horrific. She’d been warned that would happen. Each of her deaths would continue to get worse. This time it had been a high speed car accident where she’d been trapped for hours, pinned beneath the steering wheel, gasping for breath, begging for help. The paramedics had arrived and performed a long, agonizing extraction, but she died in the ambulance before they reached the hospital.
She shuddered and banished the disturbing image, focusing on the now. Her guardian angel, Milo, sat across the table. The glow around him was so intense, had he not been black, he would have faded into the whiteness of the room. So much white—walls, chairs, floor, desk. The first few times she’d been in this room, the starkness had been blinding, but she was growing used to it.
He frowned disapprovingly. “Back again, I see.”
She lifted her hands, palms up. “Well, you know, dying is so much fun, I can’t resist.”
“You joke, but you know that, eventually, you’ll use up all your chances. And then…”
“I know, I know. Eternal damnation.” Her tone was light, but her heart pounded, and her stomach clenched in terror. As much as the thought horrified her, why couldn’t she do what she needed to do to avoid it? What was wrong with her?
Sympathy flashed over Milo’s face, then he schooled his expression into neutrality. Sounding like a judge handing down a sentence, he said, “Autumn Baines, after your first death, due to your selfishness and acts of unkindness, you were sentenced to eternal damnation. However, based on the—”
“Come on,” she interrupted. “It’s not like I haven’t heard this before. Twice.”
“Yes, but you know we have to go over it again. That way, you can’t claim you weren’t given all the facts.”
She smirked. “Like, I could take God to court?”
He gave her an exasperated look. “Just let me do my job, okay?”
“Fine.” She sat back in the chair and crossed her arms, waiting. It wasn’t like she was in a hurry to begin her third life anyway. So far, they hadn’t been exactly paradise. Paradise, hmmm…now that was something she could get behind. Maybe they were sending her to the Bahamas this time. She listened patiently, her hope growing that they’d give her a nice little hut on the beach with a horde of cabana boys to see to her every whim.
“However,” Milo continued, “after reviewing your life, it came to our attention that, while you had never performed a selfless act, you also had never, in your twenty-eight years, had one single person to love you.” He looked up at her, no doubt to gauge her emotions.The words were cruel, but she knew Milo’s intentions were not. He was kind-hearted and sympathized with her plight, but he needn’t bother. So what if no one, including her own mother, had ever loved her? She’d known plenty of people who had been loved, and they were unhappy—many were even more screwed up than she was.