This is almost a horror story…
Here’s the scene, as an example:
You, the omniscient narrator, take a sit to write.
Let’s assume you are a dedicated plotter, you have it all spelled out in front of you. Your protagonist, the main character, is ready to go. You got the profile, the physical details, the exact personality worked out. You know this person intimately. There is another highly detailed profile on hand, the antagonist. All the details of the dastardly villain are there in black and white. There is a list of other characters, with their quirks and physical details, all spelled out. And, let’s not forget, you have a world all your own where this menagerie of characters will frolic, live, love, hate, and, yes, sadly, die too.
There is a myriad of sticky notes, color-coded, with the central plot, the plot twists, the secondary plots, and everything down to the color of the socks of the third cousin of the storekeeper.
So, you rest your fingers lightly on the keyboard. A,S,D,F,J,K and L are under your fingers. The little bumps tickle your index fingers. Your thumbs rest on the space bar, ready to introduce the space after the first word typed.
You sit up on your chair. Deep breath. OK. Here we go.
The blank page mocks you.
Beads of sweat start to gather on your forehead.
You loosen up your shoulders.
You bravely type: Chapter 1.
There are no more words coming.
End of scene.
Scarier than the scariest horror tale for any writer.
Since I’m deep in the grip of it, of writer’s block, I decided to put down my impressions and feelings.
I’ve gotten a lot of comments and advice on the #WrittingCommunity on Twitter.
The first and most important thing, I think I have to say is: This is hard.
The story is there, right there. I can feel it.
I’m pantsing this particular novel, a horror/comedy short novella, also I’m about to finish the plot for my next Science Fiction novel. And it’s all right there. I get the great dialogue, the detailed descriptions, the plot twists, the action scenes. They are all right there. When I go for walks, when I take a shower, any time. When I’m watching TV or a movie. It’s all right there.
As soon as I sit in front of the keyboard, it all goes away. I’ve tried powering through.
“I’ll just write it and polish it on editing.”
*LOUD buzzer sound*
Nope, I’ve tried and gone back to edit. The old adage “garbage in, garbage out” is as true today as the day it was created.
Yes, some writing is better than no writing, but I simply do not feel this is productive. I’ve had to discard whole chapters. They were trash. I forced it and it showed. In the dialogue. In the info dumps. In the clumsy descriptions.
So. What do you do?
Well, I decided to write a blog post about it.
Also, a small disclaimer, I’m having some rather major issues in real life right now, so there’s that. I’m attributing the writer’s block to that.
I’ve always used my writing and storytelling as an escape mechanism from my real-life problems.
Well, it ain’t working this time.
So, writer’s block.
It’s a bad pussy cat. I have no idea how I’m going to kick it’s but I will, I just don’t know how right now.
I wrote a short story, the one from last week, “Vry Kolakas”. The block was starting. And it shows.
I wasn’t planning on a second part for it, but by the time I finished it and read it, and had my wife read it too, I knew I had to write a second part for it.
Why, you ask, do I attribute that to the writer’s block?
“I will tell you”, as Tevye says in Fiddler on the Roof. I can usually close the short stories. Yes, sure, they are open-ended. They are short stories, they are a snippet of the action. Some clever dialogue. A quick and dirty description. But, it’s whatever you can fit in fifteen hundred to five thousand words. So I usually close them up, you can walk away satisfied. With Vry Kolakas I know I need to give you more. Later, because otherwise, it won’t be a short story anymore, but I know I owe you.
And, I could not knit the next scene into the story. The block. It was already at work.
This is what I’m thinking to do to vanquish this terrible foe.
First, I’m going to write. Even if it’s garbage. I write because I enjoy it. I haven’t made a penny from my writing (one of the many aforementioned real-life problems is responsible for this, but more on that at a later date), so I can go ahead and write and if it ain’t any good, I’ll toss it. I’ll swear and kick a rock or two, but I’ll toss it.
Second, I’m going to take a writing course, look for a writing series on YouTube, or something that will structure exercises that will force me to write.
Finally, I’m going to read books on my preferred genre (Science Fiction and Fantasy) that are identified as best sellers and award winners, that have no less than 4.5 stars in their reviews. Why? Because that way I’ll see just how good they are and what people like.
Aaaand because I’ve found spelling errors, editing mistakes, and other defects on books with one or more of the characteristics I stated as requirements before. And I hope that will kick me in the butt hard enough to get me to write properly again.
So… that’s it. That’s the post on writer’s block. I hope you enjoy it and find something useful out of it.
Please, follow me on social media and drop me a line about the posts. What you’d like to see and what you’ve enjoyed most so far.
Thanks for sharing this time with me.