Since May, I've been on an unplanned hiatus. It's not writer's block. Writer's block is when you want to write, but can't. I just haven't been writing much. At all. I wrote an 8 page short story for a kid's project (a new collaboration with David DeGrand). And I've been writing for WE'VE NEVER MET, which appears every other week in Quick. However, besides that? Nothing. For the past seven years, my summers have been reserved for writing, writing, and more writing, but this summer was different. So what's up?

A lot of my larger projects have hit a wall. I have stuff completely illustrated (or art'd, if you're offended by me calling artists "illustrators" +), other projects completely scripted from beginning to end; I have proposals awaiting approval -- I just haven't been able to find a home for anything. I've published a few short stories, and I enjoy writing short stories. This year, I published one with Oni Press. Last year, I wrote one for PopGun 3 with Image. I have another short story with Outlaw Territories 3 (also Image). I self-published MINE ALL MINE, a collection of one-page stories, and I published a mini-comic with the local band The Happy Bullets. All this stuff is fun, but it doesn't recharge me the way that working on a larger project does.

I guess the above paragraph is excuse #1. It's not the first time I've complained about this wall, but it'll probably (hopefully) be the last time. Fact is the momentum isn't there -- and if it were, I'd be more proactive in submission process. The blame lies with me.

Excuse #2. I've been afflicted by chess lately. Some people play chess. And for others, it's a condition. As best I can surmise, it comes in an eight-year cycle. Last time was about eight years ago before I started writing comics -- and before I got engaged. Before that was in high school, after I gave up Dungeons and Dragons. Eight years before that, I was in Elementary School when my dad first taught me how to play. My current state is rather severe. I've been competing in a few USCF tournaments with mixed results. I have the U.S. Class Championships coming the first week of October, and I've signed up for the "Class D" section. Am I using chess to supplement my extra time due to excuse #1? Probably. Maybe this is research for my next comic book project? At a certain point, I need to declare my hiatus over and find a balance -- or else I'll slide into an early retirement.

Excuse #3. A lack of inspiration. I need to start something new. I've been wrestling with the same seven or eight stories for a few years now. I don't feel like I've been able to contribute anything worthwhile (or original) to this comic book industry that I love. It's been a long time since I've started from scratch with a new idea. I can tell you right now that whatever I work on next, it'll be dark and offbeat. Creatively, I just feel that in my bones. I wish I could describe it better, but sometimes you get a sense for the tone/mood before you even have the story.

Excuse #4. The season finale of LOST destroyed my faith in all that is good in the world. (Kidding.)

That's my confession. I'm on hiatus. I wish I wasn't, but I need to call it what it is. Returning to school will help me settle into a routine, and a routine is always good for writers.