Recently I read a post by another blogger who posed the question to other writers, Are you currently in a writing mode? It was an interesting question, one I hadn’t considered recently, as I’ve been caught up with things of life. My writing has always gone in waves, some months much more productive than others. I’ve written entire 80,000 word novels in 3 weeks but have also taken 6 months to complete a much smaller manuscript.
A few months ago, I was in a particular ‘writer’s slump’, where my characters were stuck and I couldn’t seem to get them out of their particular situation in a believable manner. Frustrated, I looked to Google to see what other authors did when hitting that sort of block. I ran across a particular post that has never left my mind. I can’t remember the post, the person, or any other important detail of who wrote it. In fact, there wasn’t even a catch phrase they used so I could remember it. But the point hit home pretty hard for me, and I put it into a phrase myself, just so I could remember it better as I hit those tough writing moments.
‘There is no such thing as Writer’s Block, as much as Writer’s Inspiration.’
Genius, right? (Not my phrasing; the idea 😉 )
So, here’s the idea summed up, in case it wasn’t clear in those 13 little words. 😉 The writer suggested that when you hit a writer’s block / writer’s slump / whatever you might want to call it, you walk away. Yep. That’s it. Literally walk away from your work. It will do you no good as a writer to continue to agonize over the plot point that’s gone awry, the precise wording you just can’t seem to nail or the revamp of that character that’s always bothered you. It will do nothing for you, other than cause further frustration, and honestly, will likely send you spiraling into a depression. Believe me. I’ve been there.
Rather, move on to another project. Whether it be one you’d set aside previously or a brand new one, pick that one up and see what sort of inspiration you have as you look at it with fresh eyes. I know some writers who disapprove, stating it’s best to focus on one project at a time. But I ask, what good is that, when you’re so frustrated, that you are no longer productive?
Move on, I say. You will feel so much better. You will find inspiration you didn’t know was hiding away and with each inspired word you write, your confidence level will go up. Then, when you finish that project (or come to another block with that work) you can move back to your original manuscript. I think you’ll be surprised just how much inspiration you will find with just that small move! Plot points have worked themselves out; that jerky character you just couldn’t seem to relate to, suddenly seems to have grown a personality.
Recently, I spent almost a week eeking out a mere 6000 words, none of which were inspired. So depressing. I went to a friend – a ‘bestie’ who’s basically been my sound board for the entire project from day 1 – and complained of my dilemma. I told her the plot line, my thoughts on why I wanted to guide the story in that direction and my ultimate goal. Her suggestion? Rewrite. Ouch! Seriously not what any writer ever wants to hear! But her comment ended up being so inspiring! It wasn’t that I needed to change the entire plot, just the way in which I placed the characters in their situation.
And ya know what? She was absolutely right! Earlier this week I sat down to begin the rewrite, and I wrote 4000 words in 1.5 hours! Yep! That’s me! 🙂 Writing machine. You have no idea how much that inspired me, people. Really. Since then, I’ve stuck with my average of writing about 2000 words per day, but still, the inspiration is there! Woot!
How about you? What do you do when you hit a writers block? Does walking away from a project heal all wounds or make it more difficult to come back to in the future? Leave a comment below! 🙂
Happy Reading, friends!