Writer's Block, or My Brain Likes Screwing with Me

I woke up this morning to the alarm, like usual. The first thought in my head (and I must have been dreaming–it’s the only explanation I have) was that it was Sunday. Then I thought, “Wait, no, it can’t be Sunday. Ah, it’s Saturday! Awesome! I have two whole days off!” So, I shut the alarm off and went back to sleep.

Twenty minutes later, I woke up and realized it was actually Friday and I had less than half an hour to get ready for work.

Silly brain.

What does this have to do with writer’s block? I’ve been really struggling, these past two weeks. Barely making my daily word goal. There were a couple of days where I absolutely didn’t. And the days where I did? I’m appalled at how long it took me. But something hit me this week and it comes down to my brain playing tricks on me.

I’m not a linear writer. Nor am I a planner. I can brainstorm, and sometimes that helps, but my best bet for a high wordcount per day is just to write whatever it is that I want to write, no matter where it occurs in the story. I can always go back later and make things match up, because for sure things will change as I figure out details.

But, somehow, I got myself locked into this linear mindset. You know, where you write chapter 1, then chapter 2, then chapter 3, all the way to the end. And I got stuck. I’m assuming it’s because the first 4 chapters of Knight wrote themselves like that, so I thought it should just continue. I really don’t know. And so, I’ve been stuck on a scene that I’m not ready to write yet. It hasn’t spent enough time in the big stew pot in the back of my mind. And I’ve been the crankiest broad on the face of the earth for more than a week, because I couldn’t make this work.

Silly brain.

Then, yesterday, I had a sort of epiphany–I think I was tired of being stalled. I started to write parts of a scene later in the book, with no regard for the fact that all the stuff leading up to it hadn’t been sorted out yet. And remembered, all of a sudden, how this all worked with Bite Me Tender. I wrote bits and pieces, then wrote bits and pieces on either side of the first bits and pieces, until they all met in the middle. That’s how I work. It’s almost a loop-de-loop system, where I write a bit, then go back to an earlier chapter and add something in that makes what I just wrote make sense. Second and third drafts are for smoothing out the edges, making connections work, and dropping in breadcrumbs so the reader doesn’t say to themselves, “Oh, yeah, right! Seriously, lady?” Fourth drafts tweak word choice. Fifth drafts, depending on the story, could be another smoothing session. Or, they could just be paranoia. Even erotica writers are artists–we’re allowed our little personality quirks.

Since then, I’ve put 2000 words on Knight and am feeling much more confident about finishing on time. Whether it will fit with Riptide remains to be seen. But now my brain and I are much happier and more productive.

Remember, never let anyone tell you your writing method is wrong. If you’re finishing stories, then it’s not wrong, it’s just different from theirs. Too bad if they don’t get it. Do what works–the rest is just distraction.

And, since the scene I’ve just almost finished is required before the boys hop into bed together for the first time, I’m feeling kind of pumped. Well, seriously, how can you be an erotica writer and not get a kick out writing the sex scenes? Boring to just fade to black, though I suppose it moves the plot along faster. And I know these two guys are hot together, because I’ve already written one sex scene with them in it. Hee hee, tomorrow’s going to be fun.

Happy brain.

Don’t forget that Tuesday is the Tuesday Tickle, where I’ll be posting a few lines from a work in progress, probably Bite Me Tender. If you like it, please leave a comment.

Kitty, thinking about her nice, warm catbed.

About the author: Kate Lowell

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