I’ve figured out what my writing issue is: I’ve gone into crisis mode. I’m one of those people who’s “good in a crisis.” I go very calm and logical. It’s like the world slows down around me and I can come up with to-do lists and contingency plans. There may be a freakout down the line, but not until the crisis is over and I’m sure I’m safe. That’s difficult for writing because you need to be able to dig into emotions and allow the characters to have emotional reactions. The stuff I wrote when the crisis began ramping up seems to reflect not only me in crisis mode, but also me putting all my characters into crisis mode. Instead of them having emotional reactions to events, they calmly come up with contingency plans. Even in the best of times, I struggle with putting emotion into my work because I’m never a particularly emotionally expressive person. I internalize it all and work it out through mental narration. I verbalize my feelings, and I tend to make characters do that, too, which comes across as somewhat distant. Emotions get added in later drafts. Now, even that’s not working.
So I think I’m going to play to my strengths right now. Instead of trying to draft, I’m going to use that analytical ability to analyze my drafts so far and maybe figure out some revisions. Then I’m going to do some extensive outlines. I always do a bit of outlining, but my outlines are vague. I may try to go scene-by-scene and see what happens.
I may also do some other exercises to analyze the market, covers, blurbs, etc. I’m also doing research and worldbuilding, which is the kind of creativity that requires logic and analysis.
Then when I settle down a bit and get out of crisis mode, I may be more prepared to revise and write.
This is pretty much what I’ve been doing, but it helps to understand what’s going on and to be doing it as a plan rather than just falling into that and then feeling bad because it’s not actual writing.