In the realm of writers everywhere, we all know the feeling when a story just isn’t going according to plan. Some might call it writer’s block. I call it limbo.
Now it is completely and totally reasonable to dislike and even fear writer’s block. It’s a crimp on stories begging to be written. It sometimes feels like an itch you can’t scratch. But there is one silver lining to having it, and that is getting over it. There is truly nothing more buoyant in my writing then when I had to gut out a tough section only to feel the story course through my veins and out through my fingertips once more.
There is no real, fail-safe cure for writer’s block. Most people who are writers, or read about writers, or just read, will tell those struggling to just write. Write everyday. As I’ve said in previous posts, I am a fan of letting things come to you. If I am not feeling what I’m writing, it doesn’t matter how many times I try and write to finish a thought, a sentence, an entire story. If I’m not on the same page as my characters, I am wasting all our time on forcing issues. Here are a few suggestions I have for anyone facing this problem that just feels like they’ve been banging their head against a brick wall for weeks.
1. Write. This may sound a bit hypocritical, but I am all for the idea that there is no ONE right answer. There are many. There can be wrong answers, but how we perceive the world will vary how we perceive an answer. So, in the spirit of keeping an open mind, try to write. It clearly works for a great many people.
2. Don’t write. Give up, put it in the bag, and tell your grandchildren that you once had a great idea for a novel. This is, clearly, a terrible idea. I don’t recommend trying it.
3. Take a break. But at the same time, keep your story close. When I’m faced with an impasse, I like to jot down where I am in the story, where I think I’m going, and then I carry around a journal with me for however long it takes to get points a & b to meet. Sometimes, I won’t lie, this will take years. Other times, it happens when I’m trying to go to sleep at night. However, the point here is that it happens.
With NaNoWriMo half way over, it can be a time of severe writer’s block followed by a touch of panic. For this unique situation, I offer one more opportunity for those of us who are fiercely competitive. We may be introverts, but that doesn’t mean we still don’t want to win at just about anything. So try a NaNo word sprint. And even if it crap, and you don’t use it, set the goal that you’re going to write more words than someone. Doesn’t matter who. After all, this is a friendly competition. Save all the rest of that pent up desire to crush opponents for the holidays shopping. Spoiler: it’s upon us now.
GOOD LUCK to everyone participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I’m such a masochist that I’m working to finish story number two.
Until next time…