It Might Not Be Writer's Block
Writer’s block isn’t always writer’s block. Admittedly, after a huge upset in your life, after a loss or a major change–yeah, you can be blocked. So much of your brain is involved in dealing with the new things in your life, it doesn’t have any space left for all those characters and settings and plot points and the research you need to do so you can get your character out of the corner you wrote him into.
But what if you aren’t in that situation? What if you’ve written the first two chapters of the novel, and you sit down to start the third and BAM!!
The blank screen mocks you and you write something on there, just to shut it up, but then you erase it because, Holy Hannah, does it suck.
I’ve been there. I’ve been a whole pile of there for the last couple of months. Mostly because I cannot seem to remember the one, major, real-time serious fact that I know about my writing style.
I am not a linear writer. Nor am I a faithful writer.
I have to write where the story is telling itself in my brain. Which means that I may write two chapters at the beginning of the story, then write the last one, then a few in the middle, only to discover that the last chapter was not actually the last chapter. (Just did that.) Or that the first chapter is actually the last chapter of the book I have to write that comes before the one I already started. (Did that too.) Or I have to write the third chapter in some other story, then I can go back to the one I was working on.
It’s very chaotic in my head. 🙂
Being in a critique group, the natural tendency is to try to write linearly. To be determined to write linearly. To be absolutely panicked because you cannot write linearly. And, eventually, to realize that all you’re doing is wasting time, and energy, and holding your stories back from their audiences.
Simply because you forgot one little thing.
I’m hoping this time the lesson sticks. Since I remembered to let go, I’ve added over 14,000 words to my current main work-in-progress. Finished a short for a fundraiser. Started several interesting new concepts that will eventually make their way out into the world. And remembered who I am.
And that’s the hardest part. With so many people telling you how to do your job, and so many examples of how it works differently for them, sometimes it’s easy to forget.
Never forget. It’s okay to play to hopscotch in a world that likes to makes beelines.