The subject of this week’s Moody Monday post comes to me quite easily: Writer’s Block. You know…that inability to pull words from your brain and commit them to paper (or in most cases, keyboard).
It’s funny how I never seem to run out of things to say when Tweeting, or posting and commenting on Facebook. And, god help you if we ever have a conversation in person; it’s doubtful that you will ever get a word in edgewise. But, when it comes time to sit down and purposefully weave a fictional tale, I become somewhat of a mute.
I began jotting down ideas for a story in the fall of 2011. I very quickly hammered out what I felt was a strong opening (it has since become my prologue). In early 2012, I read books on writing fiction, did some research on the initial subject matter, and did many writing exercises to try and hone some skills. By March 2012, I had started writing the story out longhand in a notebook. Things were chugging along nicely until…
Blank. My mind went totally blank.
So, I decided to take some time off from the project; walk away from it, take in some new scenery and gain a fresh perspective. Every now and then I would add a little more, or at least do some more reading and research to try and keep the ideas at the forefront of my mind. After a while, my husband bought a laptop computer for me. Sweet freedom! I was able to transcribe all that I had hand written and suddenly, I could take my work with me wherever I went!
I started on a writing tear, staying up until all hours of the night. But no matter how much effort I put into it, my word count barely increased. I realized that every time I opened the Word document to type, it would open at the start of the file, rather than the point where I last left off. And so, I would re-read all that I had written and catch myself editing. Again. And again. And again. By the time I would get to the place I needed to be in, I would write maybe 300 words before my mind would wander and my mojo would go bye bye.
No matter how many times I tried to remind myself that I should write straight through, non-stop, and edit later, I couldn’t seem to stop myself from going back and reading what I had already written. I spent hours covering ground I’d already traveled with my characters and then couldn’t recall where it was I had intended them to go. Write now. Edit later. It’s easier said than done, especially when you are your own worst critic. At this point, 3/4 of my book are already playing out in my head like a movie. I just need to learn some discipline and commit those ideas to paper before I lose them forever. I’m thinking it’s time I tried some new tactics. I know that what I am working on is not some great work of fiction that will be revered long after I’m dead. But it means something to me. And completing this project, finishing what I started…that’s where the true accomplishment exists.
Perhaps Ernest Hemingway had the right idea….