Process Writing

On The Block

Writer’s block is one of those things no one likes to talk about it because it sucks. You find the time to sit down and suddenly realize that your favorite writing chair is too lumpy, your favorite writing music is screechy, your favorite writing sweater is itchy…. It doesn’t matter how stoked and primed you are because today nothing is coming together.

I’m on Chapter 43 in Book 2 (the chapter count continues from Book 1), and I highlighted the three pages I wrote earlier this week and deleted them. Just like that, no copy and paste. Then I wrote two more pages and after some frustrated deliberation, I deleted them, too. Meanwhile, I checked my phone a gazillion times, meditated and cursed – often at the same time. In fact, I don’t think my mantra is appropriate to be published here, but you get the idea.

What was wrong? Bad ideas? Not really. In the end the story took a similar path that combined both the first and second versions. Then what?

Classic Writer’s Block!

What is it about?
It’s akin to being stuck in traffic even though you’re the only car on the road. Ideas and plans stop meshing and the resulting frustration means that no matter what you attempt to write, the free-flow of information from brain to screen is  interrupted.

How do I deal with it? My answer: Slog through.

In the past, I’ve handed my wife, my Alpha reader (she gets my chapters way before they’re ready for prime time), a chapter and told her to expect to be disappointed because that’s how I felt writing it. Nothing flowed. Something I usually enjoy had become an arduous experience. In the end, she liked the chapter, and I realized that just because it wasn’t flowing for me didn’t mean it wasn’t good. This was a revelation: a sign that just maybe it’s not just the story, but the writer that’s good.

I’m not saying that chapter 43 is great, but that by slogging through it, forcing myself to write when I would rather do anything but, in time the act of committing words to the screen unclogs the flow and suddenly everything is running smoothly again. Writer’s block be damned; the chapter was finished in the usual form.

Writer’s block isn’t easy to face, but it can be overcome. My way of dealing with it is by not giving in to it.

Until I sit down again tomorrow….

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