Saturday, 15 October 2011

Writer's block

Over the past few days, I’ve written a chapter of my new novel. That doesn’t sound much, but it’s one chapter more than I’ve written in the past few months, so it feels like quite an achievement. There were two reasons why I wasn’t writing. One was general life issues that I won’t go into, the second was good old writer's block.

The early chapters of the book flowed really well. I started it when I first finished Treespeaker and as it’s the sequel, I was still close to the characters and had a great sense of direction. Then I got distracted by another story. By the time I came back to this one, I’d lost the enthusiasm (or maybe I’d lost it before and that was why I was so easily distracted). Then I hit a point in the plot where I simply couldn’t think how to make something happen that needed to happen, while making it appear like a natural part of the plot. Everything ground to a complete halt. I scribbled ideas on bits of paper. I stayed awake all night considering this idea and that. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get around or through the major blockage.

About a month ago, circumstances happened that meant numerous trips to the city, over an hour’s trip each way. Feeling stressed out, I forced myself to think about anything and everything other than what was causing the stress. Soothed by the music of Patrick Hawes, I started thinking about this book, going through what I’d already written, what I knew had to happen at the end and suddenly, out of the blue, the answer came. Where I’d been thinking one character had to do something to move the story on, it became perfectly clear that another character was in a much better position to do it and it all made logical sense. 

Unfortunately I’ve not had time to get the ball rolling again until these past few days, but now I’m on my way once more. I’d love to phone into work and tell them I can’t come in on Monday because I have far more important things to do, but I don’t suppose I’d get paid if I did that, so I’ll carry on as best I can. This is only the first draft, so I’ve a long way to go, but it’s moving and that’s cause enough for celebration!

Take heart, all those writers who are suffering from the dreaded writer's block. There is hope. In the most unlikely of circumstances, who-or-whatever has caused the blockage will suddenly come clear and you’ll be caught on the tide of new ideas.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to do some writing. Could you shut the door on your way out, please?


Anonymous said...

As a relatively new "participant" in this writing game I often find that Writer's Block can be my worst enemy but it's good to know that I'm not the only one who struggles with it. I've also had experiences such as the one you described with getting certain elements together - How to get Situation A resolved with Chatacter 'X' and that has actually led me to "unkill" a character and in turn give him a bigger overall roll, It wasn't planned that way but using him just made do much more sense than the alternatives.

But I also think Writer's Block can prove useful...SO
ETIMES because it does force you to think things through more than you might if you weren't offering from WB and I've also found that has helped in various parts of my story - Does anyone else have experiences like that or is it just me?

Anonymous said...

Ahhh..Autocorrect you kill me. That was supposed to be SOMETIMES in my last comment.

Kate said...

LOL...I thought you had hiccups!

I agree. I think sometimes we get writers block when we most need to lay off for a while and think something through.

Julia Hones said...

I've found that the best way of getting rid of writer's block is to go to an inspiring place: it may be an inspiring art cafe, a botanical garden, or whatever works for you. Changes of scene have interesting effects on our brains, I believe, because new ideas will come to my mind when I change the scenery. And, of course, I read, read, read. Once an idea comes to my head, that is enough to sit down and write.

Kate said...

You're right, Julia, reading is great for unblocking the brain. Unfortunately with all that was going on during the past few months, reading was the last thing on my list of things to do.