Every year, I have down time where I don't write. I've learned not to push it. I read a lot and wait for the urge to come back. That used to scare me. Now I'm used to it and don't mind. (Okay, about the second month it gets to me and I pace a lot.) This year, I kept waiting for it to hit, but it didn't. That was kind of cool. Broke the curse. And then, last month, I got a bad case of the blues.
I was supposed to have a story in an anthology. I have the acceptance letter. I have the letters the editor sent to me discussing a few changes he wanted to the story. I have a publisher's contract for the story. I even received an email from the editor telling me when to expect my contributor's copy. Got hold of the book and... my story isn't in it. I sent the editor an email asking for an explanation. He hasn't bothered to reply. I understand human mistakes. I understand if he accepted too many stories and had to pull mine. I understand if the publisher pulled it. But in either case the editor should have told me. This doesn't just affect that that one anthology. It means that until I sell it somewhere else, I can't submit it to a Best Of anthology. So he really does owe me an explanation. Oh - and an apology would be nice too. Not holding my breath for either. (BTW - in case you're wondering - even though I have a contract, there's nothing I can do about this. The book is printed. The end. Unfortunately, this is the second time in my writing career that I've been reminded that contracts from publishers don't mean much.)
Anyway, so that brought my writing to a screeching halt. I struggled with that for a couple weeks, then had a very nice talk with Trebor Healey that got me on the right mental path again. So I was on my way out of the cloud of depression, but I still couldn't write. Not that it bothered me. Reading is important to writers, and I have stacks of books I wanted to read. (And needed to read for reviews.) Plus it gave me time to reassess where I am, what I want to do, and how to get there. And just as I was getting to the house-pacing stage, this weekend I agreed to write two different stories that are due by the end of August. So now I have to write. I gave my word. There's nothing like a looming deadline to get those creative juices flowing. Sometimes I think fear is a great motivator.