My tale of woe: I use National Novel Writing Month to 'grow' whatever novel I'm already working on. The frenetic pace, the write-ins, and the 'shut off your inner critic' approach help a lot. Yes, I know that's against the rules, and I never claim 'victory' no matter how many words I've written unless I actually STARTED the book during NaNo.
The latter case only happened once, and I didn't win that year. Hell, I still haven't 'won' with it, and that's part of why I haven't posted here in a long time. I liked my first book, my friends liked it, some of my not-so-close friends liked it. I couldn't sell it to an agent, though. So, I came up with a NEW idea, new characters, new plot. I sat down during NaNo to work on it, and was totally blocked. It's not nearly as much fun as the first book was, and I use that term (fun) very loosely. This was when I identified a very important problem in my nature:
I view my time and effort as an investment. It's very, very hard for me to write fiction. It's like pulling teeth - the front ones, where all the nerves are. It seems like no matter how many shots the dentist gives you, you can always feel the pain. I have no problem stringing a couple of sentences together, but creating something out of nothing is a lot harder than typing words on a screen.
Writing and being unable to sell the product is a bad investment, in my -er- book. No matter how interesting and fun the character is to me, I just don't have that much lifetime left. It took me 3 years to complete my first book. I understand, from other authors, that about 7 books need to be published before the process really start paying for itself (unless you hit really big, natch). I must reiterate here that I AM LAZY. This means I'd really like to retire BEFORE I qualify for Medicare.
I could quit, I suppose, and stick with my day job. NOT writing, though, drives me nuts. Sometime in elementary school, I decided that I wanted to be a writer. That hasn't changed. NOT having a story in the works makes me feel useless and fills me with existential angst (Google it if you're that concerned). A palm reader once told me that I had a "finger with an agenda". Writing is that agenda.
If you have a suggestion for resolving this dilemma, go ahead and comment. Sympathy is also welcome (telling me I'm a whiner isn't going to be news). I wasn't expecting people out there to solve the problem for me, but I feel better for explaining it to you.
Write anyway. I plan to.