I have always had a love/hate relationship with video games. I am old enough to remember the first pong and even the early video game arcades. Those days were a blast because every video game had a pattern. All you had to do was figure out the design, and you were quickly on your way to a high score.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and we had computer games. These were more complicated and often moved beyond simple mathematical patterns. However, they too had a template or a set of steps to follow, and you could easily beat the game.
I remember the sense of satisfaction I had when I would figure things out and complete that final screen. I also remember the profound feeling of boredom and uselessness I felt after achieving my goal. Much like reading through a large novel, you think you have accomplished something, but when you look around, nobody seems to care.
I noticed this attitude has seeped into my writing. When I first started, everything was so fresh. Point of view, characters, dialog, every piece was a challenge. My first book felt like such an accomplishment. I had managed to create a cohesive story that followed all the rules. Level 1 was complete.
My skill level has increased with each book until everything has clicked into place. Now that I am on book six, it feels repetitive. Oh, do not get me wrong, the plot is far from redundant. Although there are familiar characters, their experiences are anything but repetitive.
It is the mechanics that have become repetitive. I have no idea if this is writer’s block, some form of early burnout related to issues with how my brain functions these days, or just a hiccup. Getting motivated to edit my chapters often feels like getting motivated to pull out my arm hair.
I am finishing my book and the plan I put into place to publish it online and through traditional channels. I pray this is not my last book. I hope this is not the old video game habit rearing its ugly head and saying, “Well, beat that one, on to the next.”
I am curious, has anyone else run into this sort of thing before? Have you felt like you want to stop? How did you get past it?