As I’m sure you are all aware by now Exit Strategy, the follow-up to Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever is several months late. I have decided to address this issue head on with a blog post because I really don’t want my readers who have stuck with me through all my issues to give up on Exit Strategy.
Before I explain what’s going on with me, I just want to say first and foremost, I write because I love it. Before Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever I wrote other things under other names, but never a novel. Unfortunately, fiction writing is not my career. I have a demanding full-time job, a full-time family life, a weekly young women’s mentorship program I co-manage with another woman, and my writing.
I list writing last, not because it is the least important of all these other things I do, but because in my world, it is extremely important (it’s most likely a close second to my family). It’s so important, I have sacrificed things I once loved to do it, such as watching television, sewing, crocheting, singing in a choir, going to movies, etc. The only other thing I haven’t given up is reading, because it’s important to being a good writer. And thank God for my Tivo, otherwise, I wouldn’t get to see any shows I like.
There has been a series of unfortunate events that have occurred since my foolhardy first anticipated release date for Exit Strategy. I won’t go into them again here because they’re documented all over my blog, Facebook, and other social media. Suffice to say, as a newbie novel writer, I flubbed the release date big time. I take full ownership of that. Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever was written during my downtime at work in 2012. When I set the release date for Exit Strategy, I failed to take into consideration that from January to June of 2013, I would be inundated with work. Even so, I managed to write sixteen chapters of what I planned to be twenty plus chapters. Then I had an accident, and it has gone downhill from there. I’m won’t recount all the other things that have happened because I know it’ll only sound like an excuse.
My Plan: In mid–July (when I knew I could get back to finishing Exit Strategy) sit down at my computer each and every day and pound out the last third of this novel. I anticipate writing non-stop for several weeks and getting it done. End of story.
What Really Happened: Most days I sat there, staring at a blank screen with only the words Chapter 17 glaring back at me.
Yes, I have a grand case of writer’s block. I alluded to this several times, the last of which was my blog post on “Ruminations about Book Promotion.” However, I’ve decided now is the time to call a spade a spade. Like any writer worth their salt, I am trying the various remedies writers way more prolific than me have used to overcome writer’s block and recorded in the annals of writerdom. I am writing every day (maybe not Exit Strategy, but writing nonetheless), and varying my projects to see if I’m just blocked on that one story or if all creative writing is affected. While I can write a bit on other stuff, my anxiety won’t allow me to do so for long.
So, it is time to come out and let my readers know, because I don’t want you all to hate me. Every once in a while, I get an email, a post, or something from a reader that makes me feel bad, because believe it or not, I’m not withholding Exit Strategy on purpose. I would benefit more than anyone if I could get it out tomorrow. However, I’ve chosen to wait to provide you the quality you deserve, not a quick fix.
In the past few months, I’ve sometimes felt like a shady politician trying to figure out various ways to spin things so I wouldn’t have to come out and just say, “I’ve got nothing.” (Where is Olivia Pope when a sister needs her?) I’ve let my readers down, and it hurts—in the words of Keisha Beale—“like a mofo.” Please know that this was never my intention. I want to go on record and apologize and to let you know that as soon as my creative juices are flowing again and my muse isn’t punishing me for some unknown offense, I will finish Exit Strategy. Then I will notify you of a solid release date, and all will be right in the world again.